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Failure to Diagnose Preeclampsia

Syracuse Lawyers for Medical Malpractice and Birth Injury Claims

Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy that involves high blood pressure and damage to organs such as the kidneys. Generally, preeclampsia starts around 20 weeks from the inception of pregnancy, and it can start even if your blood pressure was normal before. When preeclampsia is not diagnosed and goes untreated, the outcome can involve serious complications both for mother and baby. If you were harmed or your baby suffered birth injuries or died as a result of a health care provider's failure to diagnose preeclampsia, you may be able to recover damages with the help of a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney.


Preeclampsia can develop slowly and without symptoms. Regular doctor's visits are important to a proper diagnosis because doctors usually monitor blood pressure as an aspect of prenatal care. When a pregnant woman's blood pressure is greater than 140/90 mm of mercury or more, and it is documented two times, at least four hours apart, the doctor should realize something is abnormal.

Other symptoms of preeclampsia include nausea, excess proteins, serious headaches, pain in the upper abdomen, vision changes, impaired liver, breathing difficulties, decreased urine, and sudden weight gain, especially in the face and hands. These are all signs of trouble that a prudent doctor would be looking for during a pregnancy.

There are several factors that can cause preeclampsia. It may start in the placenta, and can depend on whether new blood vessels develop properly such that blood is efficiently sent to the placenta. Abnormalities can be caused by damage to blood vessels, not enough blood flow, issues with the immune system, and genetic predisposition.

Failure to Diagnose Preeclampsia

If preeclampsia is not diagnosed and treated, it can result in serious complications. Generally, the treatment of preeclampsia involves delivering the baby, but sometimes even after a mother delivers the baby, it can take time for her to improve from the preeclampsia. There are significant challenges if a mother is diagnosed with preeclampsia so early in pregnancy she can't be induced to deliver the baby. When preeclampsia is not diagnosed and treated adequately, the result can be fatal complications for both a mother and child. However, sometimes the disorder is managed with antihypertensive medications to lower blood pressure until delivery is possible. Baby aspirin is sometimes used to stop preeclampsia from getting worse. It may be possible to prescribe certain steroids to a preterm baby to help him breathe in spite of an early delivery.

Medical Malpractice

If your health care provider failed to diagnose preeclampsia and as a result there were birth injuries, complications that caused you injuries or the death of your baby, you may be able to hold the health care provider accountable. Since headaches, nausea, and various aches can be common in normal pregnancies, it may be difficult to figure out whether this is simply part of an ordinary pregnancy, or indicative of a serious problem like preeclampsia. However, it is your OB-GYN's responsibility to look into the possibility of preeclampsia and respond appropriately to any signs.

You need to prove the following elements if you are suing for medical malpractice, and a seasoned medical negligence lawyer can help: (1) a professional standard of care was owed in connection with your pregnancy, (2) the failure to diagnose preeclampsia was a breach of the professional standard of care, (3) the breach caused you (or the baby) injuries, and (4) damages. Where, for example, you were 38 weeks and your preeclampsia was severe, but your doctor failed to diagnose and deliver your baby, and as a result your baby was stillborn, you may be able to establish these elements. Other harm that could be the result of a failure to diagnose preeclampsia is fetal growth restriction, placental abruption, HELLP, organ damage, cardiovascular disease to the mother, birth injuries, and preterm birth.

Consult an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney in Syracuse

The lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represent mothers and babies injured by failures to diagnose preeclampsia and other forms of medical negligence in Syracuse. We also hold health care providers accountable in Rochester, Cooperstown, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Utica, Lyons, Oswego, Lowville, Oneida, Watertown, Delhi, Herkimer, Norwich, Binghamton, Ithaca, Auburn and Elmira. Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form.

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