In a recent episode of the popular PBS historical series ‘Downton Abbey’, one of the main characters died from preeclampsia shortly after delivering a baby. Although the show is set in the early 1900’s, the condition still affects pregnant women today. Statistics show that in the U.S., there are 300,000 pregnant or postpartum women suffer from the condition – and approximately 75,000 experiencing serious outcomes such as organ failure or even death.
The condition typically occurs in the late second or third trimester or up to six weeks following the birth of the baby. Symptoms of preeclampsia can include swelling of the hands and face and around the eyes, sudden weight gain over one to two days — more than 2 pounds a week, high blood pressure, headache that doesn’t go away, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain on the right side, below the ribs, or also in the right shoulder, changes in vision, shortness of breath, racing pulse and lower back pain.
Besides the potential loss of life to the pregnant woman, another dangerous side effect of preeclampsia occurs when the mother develops HELLP syndrome, which causes the premature delivery of the baby. Tragically, in many cases, the babies are stillborn.
The only “cure” for preeclampsia is delivery of the baby. This is why it’s critical for doctors to monitor pregnant patients closely for any signs that this condition may be developing. Unfortunately, too many times these symptoms are dismissed or overlooked by doctors. The patient is told that her symptoms are just “all part of being pregnant”. By the time she is taken seriously, she and her baby are in crisis.
If this has happened to you, contact a North Carolina Injury Lawyer to find out what compensation you may be entitled to for any pain and loss you have suffered.