Understanding your right to compensation following failure to diagnose ectopic pregnancy
Approximately 1 to 2 percent of pregnancies are diagnosed as ectopic, placing many women in a vulnerable position regarding their reproductive health and future fertility. While there are some things that you can do to reduce your risk of having an ectopic pregnancy, the truth is that any woman who can get pregnant is at risk.
When you have an ectopic pregnancy, time is of the essence for getting an accurate diagnosis and treatment that protects you from further harm. Learning more about how the failure to diagnose ectopic pregnancy could impact your emotional and physical health allows you to take action when a medical professional fails to make the right decisions for your care.
What is an ectopic pregnancy?
In a normal pregnancy, an egg from the mother is released from her ovary and travels down her fallopian tube, where it can be fertilized by the father’s sperm. The fertilized egg then attaches to the mother’s uterus, where it begins the process of developing into a baby.
With an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg implants in another part of the woman’s body instead of the uterus. The most common place this occurs is the fallopian tubes, but it can also happen in other areas such as the cervix, abdominal cavity or even the ovary.
An ectopic pregnancy is considered non-viable, meaning there is no chance that the fetus will survive. It can turn into a medical emergency if proper care isn’t taken to end the pregnancy before the fertilized egg has time to begin its rapid development.
What are the signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy?
Women with an ectopic pregnancy often experience the same initial symptoms as someone whose fertilized egg is implanted normally. A missed period and a positive pregnancy test are common signs that the egg is first fertilized.
However, the warning signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy begin to develop as the fertilized egg develops. Without enough space for the fertilized egg to grow, the area where the egg is implanted will begin to experience trauma. This leads to symptoms such as severe pain, bleeding and a fever if an infection develops.
What causes an ectopic pregnancy?
Around half of all ectopic pregnancies have no identifiable cause or risk factor. However, there are some risk factors that make it more likely that an egg won’t implant in the uterus, including:
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Maternal age over 35 years old
- Fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF)
Can medical negligence lead to an ectopic pregnancy birth injury?
The fallopian tubes, cervix and other parts of a woman’s reproductive anatomy are not designed to accommodate the growth of a fertilized egg. If a doctor fails to make an ectopic pregnancy diagnosis, there is a high likelihood that the area in which the fertilized egg resides will burst or sustain other types of damage.
A burst fallopian tube or other part of a woman’s body places her at risk for severe bleeding and infections, which can be fatal. Even if her life is saved, the damage she sustains could hinder her future fertility.
One area where doctors sometimes fail to make an accurate diagnosis is heterotopic pregnancies. In a heterotopic pregnancy, a mother might have 2 fertilized eggs that both take different routes. In this type of pregnancy, 1 egg may implant in the uterus while the other implants elsewhere in the mother’s body.
Doctors may mistake symptoms such as mild bleeding as part of a woman’s early pregnancy symptoms, which could lead to a late or missed diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy. Sadly, this type of misdiagnosis could also lead to the loss of the baby who is developing normally. Treating a heterotopic pregnancy early can reduce the risk that the abnormally located egg poses to a viable pregnancy.
What to do if you suffer an injury from a failed diagnosis
Women who survive a misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancy may be faced with the emotional and physical consequences of losing their ability to get pregnant in the future. Additionally, you could be faced with high medical costs for hospitalization if you experienced excessive bleeding or a life-threatening infection.
It’s important for your health, emotional wellbeing and financial future that you speak with a lawyer if you believe your ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis was the result of a doctor’s negligence.
Proving that a medical professional made negligent decisions regarding your care requires a lawyer’s expertise. A birth injury lawyer can take a look at the facts of your case, such as whether or not a doctor ordered the appropriate tests within the right time frame to help identify if mistakes were made that led to a misdiagnosis.
If you’ve experienced an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis and believe your doctor may be at fault, contact Laura Brown at Brown Trial Firm today for your free consultation. Her years of experience in birth injury law will help you get the compensation you deserve.
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