Birth injuries can take a number of forms, two of the better known ones being cerebral palsy and Erbs palsy. There is another type of condition that can lead to birth injury that may be less familiar to parents-to-be, but which can still lead to serious consequences if not properly diagnosed, preeclampsia.
Preeclampsiais a complication of pregnancy related to high blood pressure, although its exact cause is not clearly understood. When it is present it usually manifests itself about five months into the pregnancy, even in women who have not shown signs of high blood pressure before.
The symptoms can be difficult to discern from normal conditions of pregnancy, such as headaches, nausea, and shortness of breath, but generally speaking severe headaches or adverse vision changes such as blurriness, light sensitivity or even temporary loss of sight can be signs of its presence, especially in combination with a sudden blood pressure increase.
If it is not detected, preeclampsia can cause serious physical harm or even death to the mother or her baby, including lack of blood flow to the placenta (resulting in oxygen and nutrient deprivation to the fetus), placental abruption (which can cause internal bleeding and may be life-threatening to both mother and child) and blood disorders that can lead to organ damage.
There is no way to prevent preeclampsia, and while there are some treatments for the condition in its milder form, such as medications to reduce blood pressure, the only cure is to deliver the baby, in severe cases by early delivery or cesarean section if necessary.
Proper and timely diagnosis of the condition is critical in formulating the proper medical response. Conversely, a failure to diagnose preeclampsia, or diagnosing it too late, can lead to serious complications before and during birth.
The failure to diagnose preeclampsia may be subject to compensation in a medical malpractice or hospital negligence action in a South Carolina court of law if such failure leads to injury or death of the mother or the baby.