Unrecognized and Untreated Preeclampsia Can Lead to Tragic Outcomes
West Virginia attorneys assist women and families injured when doctors failed to recognize and treat complications of pregnancy
Preeclampsia is a condition in which a pregnant woman develops high blood pressure and elevated levels of protein in her urine. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it occurs in 3% to 7% of all pregnancies, almost always after the 20th week. If preeclampsia is addressed in a timely fashion, its effects can be limited. Left untreated, the condition will likely deteriorate to “eclampsia” or seizures. If a woman suffers a seizure during pregnancy, there is a high likelihood of premature delivery, fetal death, or significant fetal distress leading to brain damage.
Paulson & Nace, PLLC, is a family-owned and managed West Virginia law firm whose mission is to protect the interests of individuals and families injured by medical malpractice. We are keenly aware, as a family, of the toll that a birth injury can have on families’ emotions and finances. We are recognized throughout the state for our compassionate care and comprehensive legal services to victims of negligent medical treatment. Let our family of qualified West Virginia birth injury attorneys help yours.
What causes preeclampsia?
The exact cause of preeclampsia is unknown. What is known is that some women are at greater risk than others, and that they have a number of conditions in common. Those conditions pose serious risks in and of themselves, as well as indicating increased likelihood of preeclampsia. They include:
- Obesity. In 2013, the American Medical Association classified obesity as a disease. Overweight and obese women and their fetuses are generally at increased risk of complications such as gestational diabetes and Caesarean delivery, in addition to preeclampsia.
- Prior hypertension. High blood pressure in pregnancy is generally recognized as greater than 140/90. Extreme hypertension can put the mother at risk of hemorrhage or stroke.
- Older age. As we age, we are more likely to develop chronic illnesses such as diabetes and glandular disorders, such as an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Though these illnesses may not be serious or life threatening in a non-pregnant woman, they may become more serious or even uncontrollable during pregnancy.
- Diabetes. This can weaken blood vessels, contributing to placental problems. In addition, the babies of pregnant women with diabetes often suffer from macrosomia (large body size), causing them to be difficult to deliver except by Cesarean section.
Preeclampsia also tends to occur more frequently during a woman's first pregnancy, or if she is carrying multiple fetuses.
How is preeclampsia treated?
Careful and frequent monitoring is the key. The earlier preeclampsia occurs in a pregnancy, the more severe its impact. Therefore, the earlier it is diagnosed and treated the better the outcome. When diagnosed early, it may be necessary for the patient to take extended leave from work. The patient may need to have complete bed rest, take specific kinds of medication, or even be hospitalized in order to keep blood pressure under control. Unfortunately, the only “cure” for preeclampsia is delivery of the baby and placenta. In cases where the blood pressure cannot be managed with medication and treatment, and the mother’s or baby’s health is at risk, the mother may be given steroids to help the baby’s lungs mature so that it can be delivered before term. A doctor who fails to recognize the risks of preeclampsia in a patient, and neglects or delays treatment, may cause severe injury to the mother and fatal injury to the baby.
Your counsel for misdiagnosis or delayed treatment of preeclampsia in West Virginia
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury because a doctor or other medical professional failed to recognize and treat preeclampsia during pregnancy, you should seek qualified legal counsel as soon as possible. Paulson & Nace, PLLC’s, family of birth injury attorneys offers the compassionate, personal, and professional attention you deserve. When you choose a birth injury lawyer from our practice to represent you, you are choosing a team that values family. We are widely recognized throughout West Virginia for our comprehensive legal services and aggressive advocacy for birth injury victims. Please call 304-741-8079 or fill out our contact form to tell us your story in a no-obligation consultation. Our office is located at 3501 Maccorkle Ave SE, Charleston, WV 25304.
We have dedicated our lives to helping medical malpractice victims. Let our family help yours.