Texas woman sues over hospital's failure to diagnose preeclampsia

For many women, there is no time in their lives when they are more dependent on the knowledge and effective actions of medical professionals than when they are pregnant. Doctors and nurses can make the difference between life and death when it comes to not only the child but the mother as well.

In one tragic case, a Texas mother lost her baby due to what she claims was negligence on the part of employees at University of Texas Medical Branch. With the support of her attorney, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit on Jan. 11, about two years after she delivered her stillborn baby.

The lawsuit reportedly names two defendants (whom we will not name in this post); one is a doctor who treated the plaintiff, and the other is a registered nurse in the same hospital. The specific allegation against the medical professionals is that they failed to diagnose the expecting mother's preeclampsia.

According to the Mayo Clinic, "Preeclampsia is a condition of pregnancy marked by high blood pressure and excess protein in your urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia often causes only modest increases in blood pressure. Left untreated, however, preeclampsia can lead to serious - even fatal - complications for both you and your baby."

If a mother is far enough along in her pregnancy, then it would be important for a baby to be delivered as soon as possible in the case of diagnosed preeclampsia. If the mother were not far enough along, the diagnosis is still crucial in order for her and her doctors to try to treat the condition during the pregnancy.

The mother in the Texas case reportedly showed classic symptoms of preeclampsia, such as high blood pressure, urinary problems and weight gain. According to the lawsuit, such symptoms apparently did not inspire quick, effective action on the parts of the defendants. Their alleged failure, the lawsuit claims, led to the death of the fetus.

For that devastating loss, the plaintiff is suing for an undisclosed amount in monetary damages. We will post an update when this case comes to its conclusion.


The Southeast Texas Record: "Missed preeclampsia diagnosis caused still birth, woman claims," 24 Jan. 2011


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