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Failing to Assess Risk to Fetus when Treating Mother’s High-Risk Pregnancy

The Becker Law Firm, LPA

Failing to assess the risk to the fetus when treating a mother’s high-risk pregnancy condition or symptoms can result in catastrophic consequences like birth defects, pre-term labor that increases the risk of infant mortality, and even miscarriages and stillbirths. Given below are certain instances where medical negligence increases the risks of injury to the fetus.

Failure to Manage High-Risk Pregnancies

High-risk pregnancies include those where the mother has an existing medical condition like:

  • high blood pressure;
  • diabetes;
  • cardiac and/or kidney ailment;
  • cancer;
  • an auto-immune disease; or
  • is HIV-positive.

In such instances, it is critical that caregivers like doctors, obstetricians, and mid-wives exercise the utmost caution when administering treatment for the mother. Healthcare providers should carefully weigh performing invasive procedures like amniocentesis on women with poorly managed HIV infection to reduce the risks of transmitting the virus to the fetus.

Treating a mother for cancer also poses several risk factors for the fetus. Surgery to remove the cancerous cells of the expecting mother is usually considered the safest treatment method.

On the other hand, chemotherapy, if administered during the first trimester of the pregnancy, can prove to be extremely harmful to the fetus whose organs are still developing. Radiation therapy, a common method of treating cancer, is usually not prescribed to expecting mothers.

Doctors should discuss the risks and benefits of treatment options and procedures like those mentioned above with the mother before administering any treatment. Failure to review the risks with the mother could be considered negligent.

Failure to Respond Appropriately to Risky Pregnancy Symptoms

Sometimes a perfectly healthy woman can develop certain medical conditions during her pregnancy, which if not managed properly can harm fetus health. Preeclampsia, characterized by high blood pressure, swelling, and protein discharge in the urine, can be harmful if not properly managed, for example.

Gestational diabetes may also cause problems for the mother and baby if not managed. If the conditions are managed and treated appropriately, many women have healthy babies.

Administering Risky Medications

Labor-inducing drugs like Pitocin can cause contractions to become too rapid or forceful, especially if prescribed improperly. Physicians must also consider harmful interactions between drugs prescribed during pregnancy that can affect both the mother and child.

Further, some drugs may be associated with increased risk of birth defects. Similar to weighing risks and benefits of treatment administered during a high-risk pregnancy, doctors must always discuss risks of a medication with the pregnant woman before prescribing it.

The above-mentioned instances of failing to assess the risk to the fetus while treating the pregnant woman can lead to traumatic consequences both for the newborn and the new parents.

Birth defects and/or injuries can prevent the baby from developing a full range of physical, emotional, and/or cognitive faculties and this can seriously compromise quality of life. On the other hand, the new parents face the prospect of astronomical medical bills and caregiving expenses that may extend well into the future.

Legal Help for Birth Injury Victims in Cleveland

Parents who believe their child’s birth defects or injuries are because of inadequate and negligent care are entitled to pursue compensation from the negligent doctor or other healthcare professional. Compensation can pay for damages related to medical bills and future care or therapy that may be required to help the child function properly or improve quality of life.

The Becker Law Firm can help parents whose babies have been harmed due to medical negligence. Call us at (440) 252-4399 to set up an appointment to speak with an attorney about your case.

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