Understanding Why Oregon Pre-eclampsia Medical Malpractice Could Change You and Your Baby’s Life
While many mothers have health pregnancies, absent of complications, there are times when mothers experience complications which can make a pregnancy more dangerous and difficult. Some complications may start at the beginning of their pregnancies, while other complications may occur towards the end of their pregnancy. There are some complications that are more at risk to occur at a certain point in the pregnancy. An example of this is pre-eclampsia, and Oregon pre-eclampsia medical malpractice can be a very serious issue.
Pre-eclampsia is a known potential complication of pregnancy that can occur at any time after 20 weeks into the pregnancy. This very serious condition is quite dangerous to the mother and baby, and may lead to harm to the mother, infant or both. While pre-eclampsia is not preventable, diagnosis of pre-eclampsia in a timely manner to ensure proper treatment is provided is something that physicians can do. When a physician or other healthcare provider fails to diagnose and treat pre-eclampsia properly and in a timely manner, it can lead to serious consequences for both the mother and baby. In the setting of these circumstances, it is considered to be negligence.
What is Pre-eclampsia?
As mentioned above, pre-eclampsia is a very serious complication of pregnancy occurring at any point after 20 weeks in the pregnancy. It is most often characterized by high blood pressure, but women with this condition often have many other symptoms as well. Pre-eclampsia is diagnosed if a mother’s blood pressure is over 140/90. If it is 160/110 or higher, it is considered to be severe.
It is not exactly known what causes pre-eclampsia, but it is believed to be caused by blood vessels that form during pregnancy forming more narrowly than normal blood vessels during early pregnancy and also react differently to hormonal signaling. This causes the blood flow to through the blood vessels to be more limited. It can be due to blood vessel damage, immune system problems, genetics or insufficient blood flow to the uterus.
What are the Symptoms of Pre-Eclampsia?
There are many symptoms of pre-eclampsia, although some women may exhibit very few symptoms. Common symptoms of pre-eclampsia include the following:
- Blood pressure of 140/90 or greater – it is important to mention that women who are experiencing a slow rise in blood pressure should be closely monitored as they may be developing pre-eclampsia
- Severe headaches
- Protein in the urine
- Vision changes, such as blurred vision or loss of vision
- Light sensitivity
- Right-sided upper abdominal pain
- Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia)
- Shortness of breath
- Fluid in the lungs
- Abnormal liver function
- Decreased urine output
- Sudden weight gain
- Swelling in the face and hands
Diagnosis of Pre-Eclampsia
Women should be having their vital signs check (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen) and weight checked at every visit to their obstetrician. It is then that the physician should be able to see a rise in blood pressure, abnormal weight gain, etc. If a provider fails to recognize high blood pressure, or identifies it but fails to run proper diagnostic testing, it is negligence. Additionally, most obstetricians require women to provide a urine specimen at each visit to test for protein in the urine, which is a sign of preeclampsia.
Women with suspected pre-eclampsia should have blood work performed to check kidney function, liver function and the platelet count, 24 hour urinalysis to evaluate urine protein, nonstress test, and fetal ultrasound to monitor the baby. Additionally, pregnant women should be educated about potential signs of pre-eclampsia and when they should be calling the office or going to the emergency room. If they are not informed about this potentially deadly condition, it can lead to deadly consequences.
Women diagnosed with pre-eclampsia are almost always hospitalized due to the nature of this condition. They are given medications to lower blood pressure, bed rest, and additional medications may be given to help the baby’s lungs develop in the event that early delivery is necessary. Additionally, if a woman’s pre-eclampsia is severe, they may be prescribed anticonvulsant medications or steroids. If a woman is close to the end of her pregnancy, a physician may choose to induce the labor or perform a c-section as delivery is truly the only way to cure the condition. Oregon pre-eclampsia medical malpractice can be very serious.
Complications of Pre-Eclampsia
There are many serious complications that can occur as the result of pre-eclampsia, especially if it is left undiagnosed or is improperly managed. Complications of pre-eclampsia may include the following:
- Preterm birth – if a baby is born before 37 weeks, it is considered preterm birth
- Placental abruption – separation of the placenta and the uterus, leading to potential severe bleeding and other risks to the newborn and mother
- HELLP syndrome (Hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelet count )- this serious condition is a more severe form of pre-eclampsia and is very life-threatening to both mother and baby
- Eclampsia – this is due to undiagnosed or improperly managed pre-eclampsia, and is characterized by the addition of seizures
- Cardiovascular disease – pre-eclampsia may cause heart problems or increase the risk of heart and blood vessel disease in mothers
- Organ damage – damage to organs can occur as the result of pre-eclampsia (i.e. kidneys, liver, heart, eyes, lung
- Fetal growth restriction – Pre-eclampsia can cause an inadequate amount of blood, oxygen and nutrients, leading to a preterm birth or low birth weight
Pre-Eclampsia Medical Malpractice
While pre-eclampsia cannot necessary be prevented, it can be identified in a timely manner and safely treated. Failure to diagnose and properly treat pre-eclampsia is considered to be medical malpractice. Examples of this include the following:
- Failure to monitor blood pressure and weight
- Failure to diagnose
- Failure to treat
- Failure to hospitalize
- Failure to perform necessary testing (i.e. blood work and urinalysis)
- Failure to deliver when necessary
- Failure to educate mothers about the possible warning signs of pre-eclampsia
- Dismissing patient complaints
- Failure to provide all appropriate medical care for pre-eclampsia
- Development of eclampsia due to inappropriate management of pre-eclampsia
Oregon Pre-Eclampsia Medical Malpractice Lawyers at CK Legal
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form. We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.
Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles, St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.
We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.