Despite advances in medical technology, misdiagnoses of pregnancy can still occur. If the misdiagnosis is caused by negligence and leads to injury of the mother or the fetus, there can be grounds for medical malpractice.
What Kinds of Pregnancy Misdiagnosis Can Occur?
Numerous aspects of a pregnancy can be misdiagnosed as a result of failure to test or inaccurate test results. Different problems can occur if the following are incorrect or inaccurate:
- Existence of Pregnancy
- Nature of Pregnancy: whether uterine, ectopic, or multiple
- Calculation of Gestational Age
What Are the Risks of Misdiagnoses?
There are several risks of misdiagnosis that could result in a medical malpractice lawsuit, including:
Failure to Determine Existence of Pregnancy
If the existence of a pregnancy is not determined, both the mother and the fetus can be placed at risk as a result of insufficient prenatal care, exposure to harmful substances, or use of inappropriate medical treatments.
Failure to Diagnose Ectopic Pregnancy
Occasionally, a pregnancy will occur ectopically - outside of the uterus. Failure to determine that a pregnancy is ectopic can put the mother at serious risk.
Failure to Diagnose Multiple Pregnancy
A multiple pregnancy - where there is more than one fetus can create complications for both the mother and the unborn fetuses.
Failure to Calculate Gestational Age
Thanks to advances in medical technology, labor can actually be induced if necessary. Often, this occurs when delivery has still not occurred beyond the standard 40 week gestational period. To determine whether to induce, doctors must first establish the likely date of conception and calculate the gestational age. If this calculation is inaccurate, inducing labor can place the baby at risk.
When Is a Doctor Liable?
In all of these cases of misdiagnosis, if an injury occurred as a result of the misdiagnosis, the doctor can be held liable for medical malpractice. The doctor's failure to conduct appropriate tests to determine the existence of a pregnancy, the nature of the pregnancy or the gestational age may be negligent if the failure occurred despite symptoms or circumstances that would generally warrant such tests. However, if there is evidence to suggest that it was reasonable not to test because of other symptoms or circumstances, or if the test results were inaccurate or inconclusive because of other conditions, then the doctor may not be held liable.
Do You Need an Attorney Experienced with Medical Malpractice?
If you, or a loved one, have been injured by medical malpractice, you should speak to a personal injury attorney immediately to learn more about the value of your case, who can be held liable, and what types of recoveries are available to you.