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Preeclampsia is easy to diagnose but often missed

Anticipating the birth of your baby means dealing with many emotions. You may feel joy and excitement one minute and dread fear the next. It is normal to have concerns about your health and the health of your unborn child, but your regular visits to your obstetrician alleviated many of those fears. You expected your Illinois doctor to perform routine tests and screenings to monitor the baby and to watch for signs of any danger.

However, when the time finally came, you may have been frightened by a flurry of activity in the delivery room. These were not the actions of a medical team who shared your excitement to meet your baby. These were doctors and nurses who had missed the signs that you had developed preeclampsia.

Simple tests and risk factors

Preeclampsia is a kind of high blood pressure that often reveals its symptoms around the 20th week of your pregnancy. If your obstetrician performed routine urine tests during your prenatal exams, he or she may have noticed a spike in protein that is an indicator of preeclampsia. Ideally, your doctor would have been on the lookout for preeclampsia, diligently checking your urine and blood pressure, especially if you have risk factors like a history of high blood pressure, pregnancy with multiples, pregnancy past age 35 or obesity, among others.

Missed diagnosis

If you complained to your doctor of headaches, nausea, or blurry vision, or if you experienced a sudden weight gain or swelling in your legs or face, these may have alerted your doctor. Unfortunately, too many doctors dismiss these symptoms as normal for pregnancy, leaving mothers at risk of serious complications during delivery, such as:

  • Seizures or coma
  • Damage to the liver or kidneys
  • Brain damage
  • Blood clots leading to stroke

Babies also may suffer from undiagnosed and untreated preeclampsia with such complications as:

  • Low birth weight
  • Premature birth
  • Lack of oxygen following placental abruption
  • Poor nutrients within the womb

With a thorough medical history and routine testing, most doctors can diagnose preeclampsia in time to take action. This may include prescribing bed rest, medications to lower the blood pressure or even induced labor if the pregnancy is far enough along. If your doctor missed these symptoms or failed to take the proper steps to protect you and your child, you may wish to discuss your case with an attorney who can inform you of your options for seeking compensation for your injuries.

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