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Is Preeclampsia a Foundation of a Medical Malpractice Case?

By lladmin on April 15, 2024

Early detection and management of preeclampsia are critical for reducing the risks to pregnant women and their babies. Medical professionals must be vigilant in monitoring blood pressure and other symptoms to prevent the condition from escalating. When death or injury results because doctors, medical staff, or hospitals fail to follow accepted standards, it could be medical malpractice.

What Is Preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is a serious pregnancy condition marked by high blood pressure and signs of organ damage, typically involving the liver and kidneys. It usually arises after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women whose blood pressure had previously been normal.

Key symptoms of preeclampsia include hypertension (high blood pressure) and proteinuria, which is the presence of protein in the mother’s urine. Other common indicators include severe headaches, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light. Swelling in the hands, face, and legs (edema) may also occur. Patients with preeclampsia may also experience upper abdominal pain, particularly under the ribs on the right side, nausea or vomiting, and shortness of breath.

Without appropriate care, preeclampsia can progress to more severe conditions such as eclampsia or HELLP syndrome, both of which pose significant risks to maternal and fetal health. Eclampsia is characterized by seizures that occur in pregnant women with preeclampsia. Eclampsia threatens the life of both mother and child, and it is often followed by coma. HELLP syndrome (ELLP hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelet count) is a life-threatening pregnancy complication that usually develops before the 37th week of pregnancy; it can also occur shortly after delivery.

Getting the Correct Diagnoses and Treatment for Preeclampsia

Accurate diagnosis of preeclampsia is essential to prevent severe complications. Medical professionals are required to follow specific protocols to identify this condition. Failure to adhere to these protocols can lead to delayed treatment, increasing the risk of complications for both mother and baby.

The first step usually involves regular monitoring of blood pressure, as hypertension is a hallmark of preeclampsia. If high blood pressure is detected, further tests are conducted to check for protein in the urine. Additional diagnostic measures may include blood tests to assess liver and kidney function, platelet count, and the presence of other markers indicating organ damage.

Fetal monitoring through ultrasounds can help track the baby’s growth and detect any signs of distress or reduced placental function. But in severe cases, more intensive monitoring, such as non-stress tests and biophysical profiles, may be required.

Continuous vigilance allows healthcare providers to intervene promptly if the condition escalates. Failure to meet these monitoring standards can lead to delayed treatment and increased risk of severe complications.

Treatment options for preeclampsia may include antihypertensive medications to lower blood pressure and corticosteroids to improve liver and platelet function, which are crucial if early delivery becomes necessary. In some cases, bed rest and hospitalization may be required for closer monitoring.

Medical Negligence in Preeclampsia Cases

When healthcare providers fail to follow the standard of care, they may be liable for medical malpractice. Failure to follow specific diagnostic protocols to identify this condition early can result from neglecting to monitor blood pressure, overlooking symptoms such as severe headaches or swelling, or failing to conduct necessary urine and blood tests.

Medical professionals are expected to act swiftly in response to a preeclampsia diagnosis. Delayed treatment in preeclampsia cases can cause severe, often irreversible complications. Delays may occur due to miscommunication among medical staff, failure to recognize the severity of symptoms, or bureaucratic hurdles within healthcare facilities. When treatment is delayed, the resulting harm can form the basis of a medical malpractice claim.

Legal Elements of a Denver Medical Malpractice Case

In medical malpractice cases, establishing the duty of care and proving a breach of that duty are critical components. Duty of care refers to the legal obligation that healthcare providers have to adhere to accepted medical standards while treating patients. A breach of duty occurs when healthcare providers fail to meet these established standards, resulting in substandard care.

Causation and damages are pivotal elements in a medical malpractice case. Causation establishes a link between the healthcare provider’s breach of duty and the harm suffered by the patient. Proving causation requires expert testimony to explain how the provider’s actions that deviated from the standard care led to the adverse outcomes.

Damages refer to the compensation sought for the injuries sustained due to malpractice. This may include medical expenses related to additional treatments, pain and suffering endured by the patient, and loss of income due to the inability to work. In severe cases, damages may also cover long-term care costs and emotional distress.

Call Our Denver Preeclampsia Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. has been getting justice for malpractice victims for over 40 years and is recognized as one of the best law firms in the United States and the top law firm in the state of Colorado for medical malpractice and personal injury. The Colorado Super Lawyers directory lists our partner, Jim Leventhal, among the Top 100 Lawyers in the State of Colorado. Attorney Jim Leventhal is one of only 100 lawyers in the United States to achieve membership in The Inner Circle of Advocates, an invitation-only group of the best plaintiff attorneys in the nation.

Call the Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. firm at (303) 759-9945 to schedule a no-cost consultation with one of our Denver birth injury lawyers experienced in preeclampsia.

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