Failure to diagnose during pregnancy means that either the mother or the child was exhibiting symptoms of a health problem and the healthcare practitioners misdiagnosed or did not diagnose the problem at all, leading to injury later.
Problematic health concerns during pregnancy are especially risky because they could impact the health of the mother and baby. Good prenatal care is critical so that neither is harmed. When this doesn’t happen, it could be a case of medical negligence, and a Cleveland medical malpractice attorney can review filing a claim.
Failing to Diagnose Medical Conditions in Pregnancy
Certain health conditions can impact just the mother or they can also affect the developing baby in the womb. One example is preeclampsia, which can be diagnosed through urine tests and blood pressure screening.
When a pregnant woman’s blood pressure is high and there is the presence of protein in her urine after her 20th week of pregnancy, preeclampsia may be diagnosed.
Both the mother and baby can suffer serious, even life-threatening complications. Examples include the placenta separating from the uterus, inadequate blood flow and oxygen to the baby, and eclampsia (seizures, damage to mother’s organs, brain damage to baby and even death).
Treatment for preeclampsia includes:
- medication to lower blood pressure;
- corticosteroids (prolongs pregnancy and protects baby’s lungs); and
- anticonvulsive medication (to manage seizures).
When this treatment isn’t received because preeclampsia isn’t diagnosed, the consequences can be devastating.
Another example of a medical condition that could result in complications if not diagnosed during pregnancy is gestational diabetes. This should be screened for early in the pregnancy if at high risk, such as when immediate family members have diabetes or the pregnant woman’s body mass index is high. However, at some point all women are tested.
A form of negligence on the part of the healthcare providers could be:
- failing to test;
- misinterpreting the results; or
- not following up with proper treatment, and aCleveland medical malpractice attorney can go over legal options in this case.
Treatment may include a healthier diet, monitoring blood sugar levels, taking medication and closely observing the baby’s development and growth. Without proper treatment, it could result in early birth (with respiratory complications), jaundice, or large growth (making it necessary for a C-Section).
These are just a couple of medical conditions during pregnancy that could cause complications when there is a failure to diagnose them.
Other medical conditions that could cause complication that healthcare providers should diagnose early include:
- genital herpes;
- birth defects;
- Rh or ABO incompatibility;
- anemia; and
- ectopic pregnancy.
Compensation Available in a Medical Malpractice Claim
If it can be proven that a failure to diagnose resulted in illness or injury to the mother or baby, it could result in compensation. A medical malpractice claim would need to have three important elements.
The first is establishing negligence. When there is a breach in the duty of care owed to a patient, those actions may be considered negligent. Examples include failing to check the woman’s blood pressure or not administering a typical test given during pregnancy.
The second element is showing that as a result of this breach in duty of care, it caused illness or injury. The consequences must be directly linked to the failure to diagnose, in this case.
The last element is establishing the serious illness or injuries that resulted in this negligent care. The harm must be significant enough to warrant seeking compensation in a claim.
A Cleveland medical malpractice attorney at Mellino Robenalt LLC can help with cases of professional malpractice cases stemming from negligent prenatal care or failure to diagnose a medical condition during pregnancy.