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Philadelphia Negligent Prenatal Care Lawyers

Negligent prenatal care attorneys at The Colleran Firm help families who were injured due to inadequate prenatal care

One of the most important duties of an obstetrician during prenatal visits is to be alert for risk factors that can point to a high risk pregnancy and respond appropriately to them. Good prenatal care can address many health problems and prevent others. Inadequate prenatal care can cause harm to a mother or baby and be considered OB-GYN negligence. When a baby or a mother suffers harm as a result, it is reasonable to explore your legal options.

Do you have questions about whether proper prenatal care could have prevented your baby’s birth injury or harm to you? Do you wonder how to determine who is to blame —and how to recover compensation for your baby’s injuries or your losses.

If your newborn suffered a birth injury, or if you, the mother, had serious complications that your doctor could have prevented through proper testing and vigilance, contact a compassionate birth injury lawyer at The Colleran Firm for a free consultation about your legal options. We will answer your questions. Learn more about how to prepare for a birth injury consultation with a lawyer here.

Responsibilities of an Obstetrician

Your obstetrician is entrusted with overseeing the health care of you and your baby during your pregnancy and delivery. It is a serious responsibility.

Obstetricians have a legal obligation to follow the recognized standard of care in providing medical care to you and your baby. In following the standard of care, an obstetrician must provide treatment consistent with what other reasonable health care providers would deliver in a similar situation.

What is Considered Prenatal Negligence?

If the obstetrician fails to order an appropriate medical test for a prenatal risk factor, fails to interpret the test results correctly or fails to perform a C-section when conditions dictate, the doctor may have deviated from the standard care and acted negligently.

Determining whether a doctor violated the standard of care is not something a family can do without help. It requires a careful examination of the medical records by a qualified medical malpractice attorney working with independent medical professionals.

What Tests Should a Doctor Perform During Pregnancy?

Expectant mothers trust that their doctor will conduct the necessary tests during their prenatal visits and inform them of other tests they may wish to have to detect possible birth defects. Routine tests such as checking your blood pressure can determine whether you may have pregnancy-induced hypertension or other conditions. Other tests can detect conditions such as anemia, preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. Amniocentesis is a test that can be used to diagnose certain birth defects including cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome and spina bifida.

Here are some examples of prenatal risk factors and conditions than an attentive OB-GYN should identify through testing and address:

  • Preeclampsia: It is indicated by high blood and the presence of protein in the urine after the 20th week (late second or third trimester) of pregnancy. The condition may indicate that a baby should be delivered early and by cesarean section to provide the greatest chances for a favorable outcome.
  • Gestational diabetes: Gestational diabetes usually develops in the last half of pregnancy. While any pregnant woman can develop gestational diabetes, women who are over 25, or significantly overweight or have a family history of diabetes, are more likely to develop the condition. Your doctor should identify whether you are at high risk of developing gestational diabetes and monitor for it and take steps to manage your blood sugar levels if you develop diabetes during pregnancy. Unmanaged gestational diabetes may increase the risk of baby with excessive birth weight, a preterm delivery and a baby with low blood sugar at risk of seizures.
  • Intrauterine growth restriction: IUGR refers to poor growth of a baby while in the womb. Expectant mothers or women who are planning to become pregnant should be warned before pregnancy about behaviors such as smoking and drinking alcohol that may harm the developing fetus, according to the City of Philadelphia Health Department. Evidence of IUGR may indicate that a baby is not getting enough oxygen and nutrition. An early C-section may be indicated to provide the baby with an improved outcome.
  • Infections: An OB-GYN should vigilantly monitor any infection that a pregnant woman develops, make appropriate treatment recommendations and in some cases schedule a C-section to prevent problems during delivery.
  • Oversized fetus: An oversized baby can create complications during delivery including conditions such as shoulder dystocia in which the baby’s shoulders are too wide to pass through the birth canal and get stuck behind the pubic bone. If a baby is large, the doctor should plan for possible complications that may arise during delivery.
  • Previous Cesarean section: Many women successfully deliver babies vaginally after a prior C-section. However, an OB-GYN should discuss the risks and considerations about attempting after a vaginal birth if you have previously had a C-section so that the mother can make an informed decision.

Pregnancy Related High Blood Pressure

A doctor’s failure to diagnose and treat a pregnant woman’s high blood pressure can cause serious complications during the pregnancy. Women with hypertension have a higher risk of preeclampsia and placenta abruption, a condition in which the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus. The likelihood of a preterm birth also is increased.

Premature Rupture of Membranes

A woman’s water typically breaks during labor. But in a small percentage of pregnancies, the amniotic sack surrounding a baby in the womb breaks before the 37th week of pregnancy. This is known as a premature rupture of membranes. If a pregnant woman has fluid leaking from her vagina, a doctor should examine her and order appropriate tests to determine if she has experienced a premature rupture of membranes.

If a premature rupture of membranes has occurred, the mother needs to be hospitalized and closely monitored for the remainder of the pregnancy to prevent serious complications.   It requires prompt admission to a hospital and close monitoring for the remainder of the pregnancy. A cesarean delivery may be required.

How a Birth Injury Lawyer Can Help After Inadequate Prenatal Care

A compassionate birth injury lawyer at The Colleran Firm can help you understand whether the injury that your family has suffered was a preventable injury caused by prenatal negligence. Some birth injuries are preventable, and others are not. Unfortunately, your doctor is unlikely to tell you truthfully if he or she made an avoidable error that led to the harm you or your baby suffered. You’ll need help to learn the truth.

Our trusted medical malpractice lawyers can have your medical records reviewed by qualified medical professionals to determine if there were steps that the doctor failed to take during your prenatal care that caused harm to you and your baby. If we determine that is likely the case, we can hold the health care provider and their insurance company accountable by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit seeking damages for your injuries. We will stand up for your legal rights.

Philadelphia’s Trusted Negligent Prenatal Care Lawyers

With more than 40 years of medical malpractice law experience, The Colleran Firm is prepared to evaluate your case thoroughly and knowledgeably and meet with you to discuss your legal options. To schedule a free consultation, please email us or call 215-972-8000 today.

The attorneys at The Colleran Firm handle serious injury cases caused by health care provider negligence and medical malpractice in Pennsylvania & New Jersey.

Connect With Us:

The Colleran Firm

2005 Market Street # 1940
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (215) 972-8000
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