Preeclampsia, also known as pregnancy-induced hypertension, affects a little over 5% of pregnancies in this nation. It can cause harm to the expectant mother as well as to the unborn child. Preeclampsia generally shows up around the 20th week of pregnancy and is often identified by protein in the mother’s urine and high blood pressure.
Sometimes preeclampsia is caught early enough to treat; however, if it goes undiagnosed and untreated, it can cause life-threatening injuries to the mother and baby, including death. If a Florida doctor fails to diagnose preeclampsia, and it causes a Florida birth injury, that doctor may be liable for such injuries.
Signs, Symptoms, and Characteristics of Preeclampsia
- Protein greater than 300 mg found in the urine
- Blood pressure over 140/90
- Abdominal pain
- Swelling in the feet, legs, and hands
- Weight gain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Headaches and dizziness
A pregnant woman may be able to tell the doctor if she is vomiting excessively or experiencing abdominal pain and headaches; however, the other signs and symptoms may not be something an expectant mother would not know about or mention. Sometimes, women just assume they will gain weight and swell during pregnancy, so they don’t say anything to their doctors. This is why it is critical that doctors perform the necessary tests and maternal screenings during the pregnancy to determine if a woman is at risk of preeclampsia and her child at risk of a South Florida birth injury.
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Preeclampsia, if left untreated, can cause the expectant mother to have kidney and liver problems, and it increases the risk of stroke and seizures. Seizures can place a woman in a coma and result in the death of the baby and/or the pregnant woman. It can also cause a lack of oxygen for the fetus if a placental abruption occurs during this time.
If this happens, the baby could suffer a South Florida birth injury, including:
The only way to cure preeclampsia is through the birth of the baby. Doctors can help manage the preeclampsia by putting expectant mothers on bed rest or on certain medications and delivering the baby via C-section. When a doctor fails to recognize preeclampsia in a timely manner or correctly treat preeclampsia, and it results in the injury or death of the mother and/or the baby, it will be grounds for a Florida medical malpractice case.