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Preeclampsia Birth Injury Lawsuit Filed in New York

462411351A New York woman has filed a Preeclampsia birth injury lawsuit against the Bronx hospital where she was seeking treatment, claiming medical malpractice is to blame for the death of her unborn child at the hospital on November 6, 2011.

The plaintiff claims the medical personnel attending to her were negligent and committed medical malpractice in their treatment of her and her fetus, including:

  • Failure to transfer her to the hospital in a timely manner
  • Failure to timely and properly transport her down floors
  • Failure to timely and properly notify the hospital of her condition in-route
  • Failure to timely diagnose and treat preeclampsia, placental abruption, and fetal distress
  • Failure to timely monitor fetal heart rate; and failure to timely deliver

“Plaintiff sustained severe and permanent and nonpermanent injuries as a result of the negligence and malpractice of defendant(s) and agents, servants, and employees, including but not limited to, loss of child in utero, emotional distress, and pain and suffering,” states the claim.

About preeclampsia

Preeclampsia impacts at least five to eight percent of all pregnancies. This disorder can occur during pregnancy and the postpartum period, affecting both the mother and her unborn child. This serious medical condition progresses rapidly, causing high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Key signs of the onset of this condition include sudden weight gain, changes in vision, headaches, nausea or vomiting, lower back pain, hyperreflexia, anxiety or shortness of breath and swelling.

The condition typically occurs in the late 2nd or early 3rd trimesters and up to six weeks postpartum. However, in rare cases it can occur earlier than 20 weeks. Women must receive proper prenatal care to diagnose and treat this condition.

Preeclampsia is responsible for at least 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths each year, across the world.

Typically considered a variant of preeclampsia, HELLP syndrome is another life-threatening pregnancy complication. Both conditions occur in the late stages of pregnancy.

The HELLP acronym stands for:

  • H: Hemolysis, the breakdown of red blood cells
  • EL: Elevated liver enzymes
  • LP: Low platelet count

It can be difficult to diagnose and is often confused with the flu, gastritis, gall bladder disease, acute hepatitis and other conditions.

Diagnosing preeclampsia

For a doctor to determine a patient has preeclampsia, she must have high blood pressure and at least one of the following complications:

  • Low platelet count
  • Protein in urine
  • Signs of kidney trouble (in addition to protein in urine)
  • Impaired liver function
  • New-onset headaches
  • Fluid in lungs
  • Visual problems

In the past, the condition was only diagnosed if the woman had both high blood pressure and protein in her urine. Conversely, it is now know that pregnant women can have the condition without protein in their urine.

A blood pressure reading of more than 140/90 mm Hg is considered high for pregnant women. However, one high blood pressure reading does not mean a woman has the condition. A second above-average reading after four hours may confirm the onset. It’s important for pregnant women to be closely monitored by their physician to catch preeclampsia and other conditions early, to allow for better management.