Seizures After Birth/Delivery

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Birth injuries aren’t limited to infants. Sometimes a laboring mother experiences serious or even fatal injuries during or after giving birth. When a medical provider fails to notice symptoms of high blood pressure in a laboring mother and the result is a seizure during or after giving birth, the provider can be held accountable through a medical malpractice claim. A Louisville personal injury lawyer from Gray & White Law can help you understand your legal rights and options for your case.

What Is Eclampsia After Delivery?

Eclampsia is a medical emergency causing maternal seizures after childbirth with the risk of a stroke, coma, and death. Medical researchers do not have a clear understanding of the cause of eclampsia, but high blood pressure during pregnancy substantially increases the risk of eclampsia. When a pregnant woman experiences high blood pressure during pregnancy, labor, or delivery, or has other warning signs of eclampsia such as severe headaches, changes in mood, vision changes, facial swelling, or upper abdominal pain, their care providers must follow the standard of care accepted by the medical community to provide emergency medical care to minimize the risk of complications and death.

What Are the Risk Factors for Eclampsia?

There are warning signs of the increased risk of eclampsia in some women. Medical providers have a duty to carefully monitor their pregnant patients for signs of elevated eclampsia risks\ and treat the patient at the standard of care accepted by the medical community. Common risk factors of eclampsia risk include the following:

  • High blood pressure during pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy under the age of 20 or over age 35
  • Pregnancy with twins or multiples
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Postpartum preeclampsia (eclampsia without seizures)

When a doctor sees warning signs of eclampsia, they must order proper diagnostic tests, including blood tests to monitor platelet count, liver function, and the presence of protein in the urine. If the doctor suspects a woman has suffered a seizure, they may order imaging scans to look for signs of seizure-related damage.

Treatment to prevent life-threatening seizures, stroke, coma, or death is critical in post-partum women with risk factors or symptoms of eclampsia.

Eclampsia typically develops within 48 hours after giving birth, but less commonly may occur up to six days after birth.

What Is the Treatment for Eclampsia?

Post-partum eclampsia does not resolve on its own. It is a medical emergency requiring immediate emergency medical care. Care may include medications to lower blood pressure, antiseizure medications, and blood thinners to lower the risk of stroke. When a pregnant woman experiences preeclampsia during pregnancy, a doctor may prescribe corticosteroids to aid in fetal lung development and induce early labor at 37 weeks to avoid eclampsia for the best possible outcome for the mother and baby.

What If a Doctor Fails to Identify and Treat Warning Signs of Eclampsia?

Doctors must carefully monitor women during pregnancy to identify those at risk of eclampsia and seizures following delivery. Failure to do so places a woman at risk of seizures, coma, brain injury, and death. If a medical provider fails to properly manage or monitor blood pressure, fails to recognize symptoms and warning signs, or fails to order the correct diagnostic tests, it’s medical negligence and leaves the doctor liable for damages such as compensation for medical expenses, pain, and suffering, disability, or wrongful death.

Call a Medical Malpractice Lawyer If You or a Loved One Suffered Postpartum Seizures Due to Missed Signs of Eclampsia

No one should suffer from preventable seizures, coma, or an untimely death due to a doctor’s failure to properly diagnose and treat eclampsia. An experienced Louisville medical malpractice attorney can help victims or their family members who’ve been injured by undiagnosed eclampsia and seizures after childbirth.