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Misdiagnosis and Pregnancy

diagnosis during pregnancy

During pregnancy, doctors have a duty of care to the mother and the developing child. A misdiagnosis of a medical condition before or after the birth of a child can harm both patients. In some cases, the result can be a permanent disability or death.

Misdiagnosis during pregnancy is a particularly heartbreaking type of medical malpractice. Because it may result in ongoing medical problems that require expensive care and treatment, it can also be financially devastating.

The medical malpractice attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., help families in Chicago and throughout Illinois through these trying times. We work to help them obtain compensation from parties liable for the injuries they have suffered and the trials they will face moving forward.

Contact us today to learn more and to schedule a free consultation about your case.

What are Common Misdiagnosed Pregnancy Complications?

There are many reasons a doctor may fail to diagnose or misdiagnose a problem with a pregnancy, including:

  • A physician may simply fail to take the time to conduct a thorough exam or order follow-up tests
  • An inexperienced, rushed or negligent doctor could misread test results
  • Doctors, nurses, technicians and other medical personnel may fail to communicate important information to each other that is needed for a diagnosis.

Common pregnancy complications that can be avoided through proper diagnosis and treatment of the mother’s and/or fetus’ condition include:

Ectopic pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy, in which the fertilized egg implants somewhere outside the uterus, is rare. If not properly diagnosed and treated, it can prove fatal to the woman. Ectopic pregnancy is typically detected with a physical exam followed by blood tests and imaging studies such as an ultrasound.


Approximately 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. Some women who miscarry develop a uterine infection, or “septic miscarriage.” This condition is potentially fatal.

Gestational diabetes

Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how your cells use sugar (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar. The disease can adversely affect the mother’s pregnancy and the baby’s health. It should be diagnosed as a part of prenatal care and warrants close monitoring.

Antiphospholipid syndrome

This disorder occurs when the mother’s immune system mistakenly produces antibodies against certain normal proteins in her blood. It can lead to blood clots, miscarriage or stillbirth. If a mother has previously suffered thrombosis or pregnancy loss, her doctor should order blood tests to check for abnormal clotting.


This condition consists of high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy. If left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to serious and potentially fatal complications for mother and child.

Placenta accreta

This condition occurs when blood vessels and other parts of the placenta grow too deeply into the uterine wall. Instead of detaching from the uterine wall after childbirth, the placenta remains strongly attached. This can cause vaginal bleeding during the third trimester of pregnancy and severe blood loss after delivery. An ultrasound or MRI typically should be ordered.

Cerebral palsy

This incurable birth defect is caused by damage to the immature, developing brain before, during or just after birth. It may be detected by a diagnosis of maternal infection, disruption of blood supply to the developing brain, lack of oxygen to the brain during labor or delivery or inflammation in or around the infant’s brain. In some cases, other disorders may present symptoms that lead to them being misdiagnosed as cerebral palsy. This misdiagnosis could lead to the actual disorder going untreated.

Each of these pregnancy complications can be avoided. When they occur through medical error or negligence, this type of malpractice warrants financial restitution to the family for the medical expenses it faces as well as the pain and suffering the family members will have to endure.

A Chicago Lawyer Can Help If You Suffered Harm from a Misdiagnosis During Pregnancy

It is crucial for an Illinois family that suspects a child’s or expectant mother’s injuries were caused by medical negligence to consult an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. A medical malpractice attorney experienced with birth injuries at hospitals in Chicago and across Illinois can obtain and review all relevant medical records and advise you of your legal options.

When you are ready to seek legal help, contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., by phone or through our online form. Our consultations are free and confidential.

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