Medical Malpractice and Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension

Medical malpractice | September 20, 2020

Medical malpractice cases arise anytime a preventable medical error occurs that harms a patient. These medical mistakes are often devastating, particularly when they occur to an expectant mother or a child.

One common birth injury is called pregnancy-induced hypertension, or PIH. While this type of injury may not be well-known to many people, this can be devastating for a woman who is giving birth.

Here, we want to discuss PIH – how often does this occur, what are the effects, and what can be done if the PIH was the result of medical malpractice. If you believe your child was a victim of medical malpractice, contact our Chicago birth injury lawyers now for a free consultation.

Understanding Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension

Pregnancy-induced hypertension is also referred to as toxemia or pre-eclampsia, and the condition occurs when a woman develops high blood pressure during pregnancy. Some estimates indicate that PIH occurs in as many as 7% to 10% of all pregnancies in the United States, and this can be dangerous to both a woman and her baby.

There are various indicators that a woman will be more likely to develop PIH, including if the woman:

  • Is under 20 or over 35
  • Has a history of high blood pressure
  • Has a history of PIH in a prior pregnancy
  • Is overweight or underweight
  • Had diabetes prior to the pregnancy
  • Has an immune system disorder
  • Is pregnant with twins or triplets
  • Uses or has a history of using drugs, alcohol, or tobacco
  • And other common indicators that doctors should be on the lookout for

A failure to recognize and treat PIH could result in serious complications, including:

  • The detachment of the placenta from the uterine wall (placental abruption)
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver problems
  • Impaired blood clotting
  • Maternal seizures
  • Premature birth

How Does A Medical Error Cause PIH?

Pregnancy-induced hypertension can occur in a variety of ways, and it will not always be due to a mistake or negligence on the part of a medical professional. However, because of how common PIH is in women, doctors and obstetricians must remain vigilant and on the lookout for signs of distress in the mother both before and during the labor process.

If a doctor fails to recognize PIH symptoms or fails to provide sufficient prenatal care that results in a condition going undiagnosed, then the doctor may be held liable for medical malpractice. There are various elements that need to be in place in order for a malpractice lawsuit to be successful. In this situation, it will need to be examined whether a reasonable and similarly trained doctor would have identified and properly treated the condition. A doctor could be held liable for malpractice if they failed to:

  • Recognize the symptoms of PIH
  • Perform appropriate care when PIH symptoms presented
  • Monitor and treat the patient after a PIH diagnosis

What Kind Of Compensation Is Available To Women Who Experienced PIH?

There may be various types of compensation available to women who have been the victim of medical malpractice relating to pregnancy-induced hypertension. This could include:

  • Coverage of all medical expenses arising due to the PIH
  • Lost income if a woman is unable to work while recovering
  • Coverage of care for a prematurely born child
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of personal enjoyment damages
  • Possible punitive damages against a grossly negligent medical provider

These cases can become incredibly complicated, and it is important to work with a skilled Chicago medical malpractice attorney as soon as you realize you may have been the victim of a medical mistake.