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Undiagnosed preeclampsia can be deadly for pregnant women

Readers of our Eugene medical malpractice blog know that pregnancy-related injuries can be some of the most serious, life-threatening injuries suffered by a mother. Injury to the mother not only impacts her health and well-being, but it also impacts the health of her unborn child.

One of the most deadly pregnancy-related diseases is a condition called preeclampsia. It is the number one killer of pregnant women. Preeclampsia can look like a multitude of different diseases, and if missed it can be deadly for both mother and child. The condition has symptoms experienced by many healthy women during pregnancy. Symptoms include headaches, abdominal pain, excessive weight gain and high blood pressure.

The story of one woman shows just how serious a case of preeclampsia can be. She thought she had heartburn, but knew something was wrong. She went to the emergency room and ended up being quickly transferred to another hospital that specialized in preeclampsia with a high-level neonatal intensive care unit. The doctor at the second hospital told her that she had 48 hours to deliver her baby, or both their lives would be in jeopardy. At 25 weeks pregnant, she had an emergency c-section.

A vigilant doctor and quality prenatal care are often sufficient to diagnose and monitor preeclampsia in Oregon mothers. However, because of the dire consequences it is important for parents to be aware that a failure to diagnose or properly react to a case of preeclampsia may give rise to a medical malpractice claim. Although a claim cannot undo the damage done by malpractice, it can help victims recover damages for the injuries they sustain.

Source: KCTV 5 News, “Moms hope to alert women to dangers of preeclampsia,” Betsy Webster & DeAnn Smith, Mar. 18, 2013