For most prospective mothers, pregnancy can be a scary, yet exciting time in their lives. After all, they are going to be bringing a new life into the world, and they want to do everything they can to make sure their little baby is safe and healthy in their womb. Because of this, some moms will be hypochondriacs and alert doctors to every pain and discomfort they feel.
While keeping one's doctor informed is prudent, diagnosing and assessing pain during pregnancy can be difficult. This is because obstetric and non-obstetric pain can have similar symptoms and can be confusing to physicians. For example, a woman who complains of pain can just be experiencing abdominal soreness or simply gas, or pre-term labor or an intra-aminotic infection.
Despite this difficulty, obstetricians have several ways to make distinctions between obstetric and non-obstetric pain. First, keeping a detailed history of previous examinations along with effective physical examinations can help in ruling out critical ailments without the need for more invasive (and potentially harmful) methods.
Second, conducting an assessment of the type of pain, including its locality, intensity and radiation is also important. Considering these elements can help in determining whether the pain involves the pancreas, or could be indicative of severe problems with another organ, such as a cyst or tumor.
Regardless, the medical standards that doctors are charged with following are well-established. Essentially, they have a duty to use reasonable care when assessing their patients; and if they deviate from established protocols and a patient is harmed as a result, they could be held liable.
If you have questions about whether your diagnosis (or misdiagnosis) merits consideration as medical malpractice case, contact an attorney.