Any childbirth comes with risks, but expectant parents generally trust that the medical professionals guiding them through the process will act in their best interests at heart. That’s just one of the reasons it’s so heartbreaking for parents whose infants suffer a birth injury that causes long-term health problems. Preeclampsia is a particularly devastating complication that can result in life-threatening health problems for both the mother and the infant. Failure by the medical professional to diagnose or properly treat preeclampsia can have devastating consequences and can require costly medical treatment.
Preeclampsia Birth Injury
Preeclampsia is a condition in which the expectant mother—usually after 20 weeks of pregnancy—develops high blood pressure (hypertension) and damage to other organ systems. Those other organ systems are usually the liver or kidneys. It may come on without any symptoms or the mother could show signs of preeclampsia in pregnancy including:
- Vision problems
- Pain in the upper abdomen
- Nausea or vomiting
- Changes in urination
- Shortness of breath
- Edema (accumulation of fluid, though this, is also a common pregnancy side effect)
Preeclampsia—previously called toxemia—is caused by several factors that result in new blood vessels in the placenta failing to develop properly, limiting how much blood flows through them. This may be caused by genetic factors, blood vessel damage, immune system issues, and lack of blood flow to the uterus.
Preeclampsia Risk Factors
Preeclampsia only occurs in women who are pregnant. Factors that increase the preeclampsia risk include having a history of the condition, chronic hypertension, the mother’s age, and having a history of other conditions.
Severe preeclampsia can result in fetal growth restriction or low birth weight; preterm birth; placental abruption, in which the placenta separates from the uterus too early in the pregnancy; HELLP syndrome, a more severe form of preeclampsia; or eclampsia, preeclampsia with seizures. Until the baby is delivered, the mother is at risk of seizures, placental abruption, stroke, and severe bleeding, all of which can be life-threatening for both mother and baby.
The only way to cure preeclampsia is to deliver the baby. If the baby cannot be delivered, the mother can be treated with medications.
Because the consequences of preeclampsia can be so devastating for both the mother and the infant, it’s vital that women are screened early for the condition and receive appropriate treatment as soon as possible. Frequent and early monitoring of mothers for preeclampsia improves the chances that the condition will be diagnosed early and treated. Failure to screen or monitor women—especially in the third trimester—and failure to respond quickly to the condition can result in fatal complications. Both could indicate medical malpractice on the part of the healthcare professional.
Preeclampsia Birth Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been harmed by preeclampsia mismanagement, including failure to screen or monitor for it or failure to treat it properly, contact a preeclampsia birth injury attorney at Cutter Law to discuss your options.
Our attorneys are committed to advocating for your rights to ensure you and your family receive justice for preeclampsia mismanagement or medical malpractice. We’ve obtained hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients, including cases that involve medical malpractice.