What is Failure to Diagnose During Pregnancy? March 8, 2013.

Failure to diagnose during pregnancy means that either the mother or the baby exhibited symptoms of an infection or illness, and the healthcare practitioners misdiagnosed or neglected to diagnose the problem. If this happened to you, and you or your child suffered a severe and debilitating injury as a result, contact our Cleveland office today for a free consultation.

Failing to Diagnose a Medical Condition During Pregnancy

Certain health conditions can impact just the mother or they affect both mother and baby. 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 a Cleveland 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.

Do I Have a Case?

If it can be proven that a failure to diagnose resulted in a catastrophic infection or injury, you may file a medical malpractice lawsuit, which entails three important elements.

  1. The first is 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.
  2. The second element is that this breach in duty of care directly caused illness or injury.
  3. The last element is the harm must be significant enough to warrant the pursuit of compensation.

If you have questions about a birth injury, contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation by calling (440) 333-3800.