Legally Speaking: Preeclampsia diagnosis failure results in neurologic damage

April 1, 2010

A woman was 30 weeks pregnant when she went to her physician complaining of headaches.

The next morning, the woman's husband called her to check on her, but she did not answer. He then called a neighbor, who found her having a seizure. She was transported to a hospital and diagnosed with eclampsia.

An emergency cesarean delivery was performed, and the infant was born with neurologic impairments. The child lived about a year and a half. The mother suffered hypoxia-induced neurologic injuries and sepsis, as well as some lung problems, which led to a stroke and another hypoxic episode. She was hospitalized for 7 months and was unable to leave her wheelchair. She had difficulty with speech and required 24-hour care.

A defense verdict was returned.