Preeclampsia is a serious condition that can result in severe side effects, potentially becoming fatal to both mother and child. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are essential for the well-being of the mother and child.




Preeclampsia occurs when the mother’s blood pressure becomes dangerously high during pregnancy. Although it is normal for blood pressure to increase during pregnancy, if it becomes too high, there is a chance that blood flow to the baby will be cut off. It is the doctor’s responsibility to properly monitor both mother and child, as well as take appropriate action to ensure their safety.

Symptoms found in the mother that could indicate preeclampsia include:

  • Weight gain
  • Severe headaches
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Visual disturbances
  • Blurred vision
  • Decreased urine output


Preeclampsia can escalate very quickly. Left untreated, it can cause devastating side effects and sometimes even become fatal for the mother and/or child. Preeclampsia occurs in 5% of all pregnancies and is currently the second leading cause of maternal deaths in the United States.

Risks associated with preeclampsia include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Seizures
  • Birth injuries
  • Eclampsia


Preeclampsia, if left untreated, can lead to eclampsia, a condition characterized by seizures that occur during pregnancy or post-partum. According to Medical News Today, eclampsia is a rare condition, affecting only 1 in every 2,000 to 3,000 pregnancies, but it is responsible for 14% of maternal deaths. The seizures from this condition can leave harmful damage to the mother and/or child.

Eclampsia may result in:

  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Brain damage
  • Coma
  • Death

Although eclampsia can sometimes be predicted if the mother experiences preeclampsia, other times it can be difficult to spot symptoms.

Some possible symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Excessive weight gain
  • Nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain
  • Swelling of the hands, feet, and face


It is the responsibility of the doctor to properly monitor both mother and child to ensure their safety should preeclampsia occur.

Medical malpractice may have been a factor in the following cases:

  • Failure to monitor mother and child properly
  • Failure to suggest early delivery (at 37 weeks or over)
  • Failure to order proper testing
  • Improper medication or dosage
FAQs About Your

Medical Malpractice Case

How do I know if I have a medical malpractice case?
Medical Malpractice is a form of professional negligence that can be committed by any medical professional who is involved in giving care to a patient. To prove medical malpractice, a claimant must show that a doctor-patient relationship existed, that the professional violated the standard of care, and an injury resulted from that violation.    
What is “informed consent” and how does this relate to malpractice?
In Rhode Island, informed consent refers to the conversation a medical professional has with their patient when they explain the proposed course of treatment and its risks. The physician must also offer information for alternative treatments and/or the option of not treating a specific illness. Rhode Island requires a five-part test to decide if there is validity in a medical malpractice case surrounding a lack of informed consent. This test includes: the physician’s explanation of risk was inadequate, the risk was known and withheld by the physician, the risk was a valid concern, and the injury in question was caused by this undisclosed risk.
How can a jury determine if a physician’s actions were negligent?
All medical professionals are expected to abide by a standard of care. A judge is responsible for questions of law. A juror is a trier of fact. While a jury listens to an entire trial, their job is to take the law as described to them by the judge and apply all of the facts and information that were relayed to them through testimony throughout the trial. A jury is then responsible for rendering a verdict based on the law given to them during jury instructions by the judge and their opinion a to whether or not the case presented by the plaintiff meets or exceeds the standard of law as defined by the judge of negligence by the medical professional.
What are examples of medical malpractice?
A licensed medical professional's actions that fall below the standard of care include failure to diagnose/misdiagnosis, failure to order proper testing, failure to recognize symptoms, misreading/ignoring laboratory results, surgical errors or wrong-site surgery, improper medication/dosages, unnecessary surgery, poor follow-up or aftercare, premature discharge, or disregarding or not taking an appropriate patient history.  
How much time do I have to start my case?
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases in Rhode Island is up to three years after the discovery of their medical condition. In Massachusetts, patients are given up to three years from the discovery date if they would not have reasonably known of the malpractice. In Connecticut, patients are given up to two years to file their case.
Do I have any medical rights?
You have the right to:
  • Access information regarding your case that is accurate, easy to understand, and in your language.
  • Access any assistance you may need to understand your medical information.
  • Be involved in decisions regarding your medical treatment.
  • Receive respectful care from any medical professional.
  • Confidentiality regarding your medical care and treatments.
  • Read and copy your medical records to ensure accuracy.
  • File a complaint against any medical staff who treats you.

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