Understanding What to Do: Prenatal Medical Errors in Oregon
When a woman find’s out she is pregnant, she typically calls her obstetrician/gynecologist’s office to arrange for an appointment to be seen. Women seek this care to receive guidance from their physician in regard to having a health pregnancy. While most doctors provide excellent guidance for expectant mothers to allow for a healthy, successful pregnancy, there are times when a provider may fail to provide proper guidance and medical care to the mother and her growing baby. When this happens, the mother, baby or both may suffer harm. When this occurs, parental medical errors could be due to medical malpractice that our birth injury lawyer in Portland, OR could handle for you.
What is Prenatal Care?
Prenatal care is referred to as the period of time a fetus (the baby) is developing in the mother’s womb. Women typically are seen by their practitioner on a monthly basis for much of the pregnancy, with more frequent visits towards the end of their pregnancies. Activities performed during these visits may include weight, vital signs, urine collection, listening to the baby’s heartbeat, and ultrasounds at some visits. Blood work may be ordered along with other tests if indicated.
The mother’s overall health is assessed at these visits (i.e. hydration, weight gain, adherence to taking prenatal vitamins, etc.). As the pregnancy progresses, the practitioner is carefully looking for identify any potential pregnancy complications as well. When a healthcare provider provides substandard care, complications can occur for the mother and baby. This can lead to prenatal medical errors that our birth injury lawyer in Portland, OR could help you with.
Prenatal Medical Errors: Causes Explain by Birth Injury Lawyer
Substandard prenatal care is considered to be any care that is less than what the standard of care is. When a healthcare provider fails to provide adequate care to the mother and baby, the health of the mother and baby is in jeopardy. Examples of this include the following:
- Failing to order appropriate testing (i.e. blood work)
- Failing to arrange for patient visits in accordance with standard of care guidelines
- Failing to perform ultrasounds – while ultrasounds are not conducted at every visit, women should have a few ultrasounds throughout their pregnancies, and even more if they are considered high risk or if complications develop
- Failing to diagnose infection – women are tested for diseases such as syphillis, HPV, group b strep, etc. to ensure they will not pass these infections on to their babies. Patients with group b strep are given antibiotics during labor to prevent transmission of this disease and women who test positive for other contagious illness are treated with antibiotics (if applicable)
- Failing to diagnose birth defect – if a provider fails to diagnose a birth defect that is very obvious on ultrasound, this can be considered medical malpractice. Additionally, certain blood work is conducted to test for some of these conditions (i.e. down syndrome, spina bifida, etc.). This is especially important with conditions such as spina bifida as there are some cases that can be treated in utero, allowing for greater function and mobility for the baby after delivery. Failing to identify and treat a condition such as spina bifida may permanently impair the babies function post-delivery. Additionally, there are other conditions that can be treated in utero (i.e. certain heart conditions). Failure to identify and treat treatable conditions in utero can cause greater health impairment if the defect is not fixed while the baby is still developing
- Failing to diagnose ectopic pregnancy – an ectopic pregnancy occurs when the baby grows inside a woman’s fallopian tube rather than her uterus. Failing to identify ectopic pregnancy can cause great risk to the mother, include extreme blood loss or death
- Failing to identify pre-eclampsia – this is a serious condition that cause serious harm to the mother, baby or both, and can lead to death. Identification of this condition involves monitoring of blood pressure as well as urine for presence of protein
- Failure to diagnose gestational diabetes – Failing to diagnose this condition that occurs in utero can cause greater complications for the mother and baby, including macrosomia (excessive birth weight), breathing difficulties, stillbirth, shoulder dystocia, pre-term birth, jaundice, low blood sugar, increased risk of miscarriage, preeclampsia and increased need for a c-section. Gestational diabetes can be diagnosed with a glucose tolerance test that should be performed in all pregnancies. The mother may need to take insulin, make dietary changes, etc to allow her pregnancy to continue in a healthy manner
- Failure to identify Rh compatibility – if the mother is Rh negative, the woman typically needs an injection of Rhogam at 28 week to prevent infant complications, brain damage and seizures. Failure to test Rh compatibility is considered negligence
- Failing to identify severe anemia – Pregnant women are at greater risk for anemia in pregnancy. While they are instructed to take a prenatal supplement with iron, anemia can still occurred. Women should be tested for anemia during their pregnancy per standard of care guidelines as well as if the woman complains of signs and symptoms of anemia (i.e. pale skin, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, desire to eat ice or dirt (pica), etc.). Failing to test and treat this condition with increase in iron supplements, iv iron infusions or blood transfusion in severe cases can lead to many complications for the mother and baby
- Failing to treat mothers with high blood pressure
- Failing to identify any other complication that can be life threatening for the mother and baby
- Delay in inducing the mother or performing a c-section as indicated, and
- Many other errors.
If you newborn baby, known as a neonate, has been diagnosed with any serious condition like hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy, developmental disorders, seizure disorders, or any other type of serious birth injury, you may have been the victims of prenatal medical errors in Oregon. Ask our birth injury lawyer in Portland, OR how we can help.
Your Baby is Precious: Call Us to Learn How We Can Help You Today
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.