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Women place not only their own health in the hands of their doctor but also the health of their unborn child. While most pregnancies result in the birth of a healthy baby, many others are not without complications. When these complications go undiagnosed or untreated, the health of both the mother and the child is at risk. 

Sometimes these complications go undiagnosed or untreated due to medical malpractice. When OB-GYNs are negligent, you may be entitled to compensation. If you suspect that you or your baby have suffered due to prenatal care malpractice, a Montana and Wyoming OB-GYN malpractice attorney can help you hold them accountable. 

Understanding Medical Malpractice in the Context of Prenatal Care

In any personal injury claim, you need to prove your case in order to recover compensation for the harm you suffered. This can be especially challenging in medical malpractice cases because they are so technical - it isn’t apparent to the average person that the doctor was negligent. In every medical malpractice case, you must prove the following elements:

  1. Your doctor owed you a duty of care
  2. Your doctor breached that care in some way
  3. Their breach resulted in harm

Most medical malpractice cases revolve around demonstrating how the doctor breached their duty of care to the patient. In order to determine whether a breach occurred, the doctor’s actions are measured against an accepted standard of care that applies to the type of treatment you received. Generally speaking, the standard of care is what a doctor or other medical professional of the same training, education, and experience would do in the same situation. 

In the context of prenatal care, the standard of care can consist of the following: 

  • Review and evaluation of the patient’s medical history, lifestyle, and other factors that may affect the pregnancy
  • Conducting a thorough physical examination to evaluate the patient’s health
  • Regularly conducting follow-up exams and performing ultrasounds and other tests when appropriate
  • Keeping the patient’s medical records updated throughout the pregnancy to reflect an accurate medical history
  • Identifying potential complications and taking action to minimize risks
  • Providing thorough treatment for the duration of the pregnancy
  • Warning the patient of potential risks and complications
  • Educating the patient as to nutrition and other lifestyle factors that can affect the pregnancy

If your OB-GYN has failed in any of these areas, they may be held liable for malpractice if you or your baby suffered harm. An experienced Montana and Wyoming prenatal care malpractice lawyer can review your case and assess your claim. 

Gynecological Malpractice Can Manifest Itself in Various Ways

The failure to provide adequate care often becomes apparent when the patient suffers during pregnancy or childbirth. If you experienced complications as a result of the following conditions, you may be the victim of prenatal care malpractice: 

  • Preeclampsia -  a hypertensive disorder characterized by high blood pressure, swelling of the hands and feet, and protein in the urine. If untreated, the condition can be life-threatening for both the mother and the baby.
  • Hypoglycemia - a condition that causes low blood sugar, which can be especially dangerous for Type 1 diabetics. The condition can result in congenital malformations, stillbirths, and other dangerous health conditions for the baby. 
  • Gestational diabetes - a type of temporary diabetes brought on by pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can lead to low blood sugar, stillbirths, respiratory distress syndrome, and preterm birth.
  • Severe anemia - when left untreated, iron deficiencies during pregnancy can increase your risk of complications such as preterm delivery. 
  • Macrosomia - when the baby is much larger than average. If your doctor fails to detect macrosomia, it could lead to significant complications during delivery. 
  • Infections - many infections in the mother’s body can be transmitted to the baby, leading to serious health conditions such as neonatal sepsis. Herpes and E.coli are examples of potentially dangerous infections that suggest prenatal medical malpractice if they went undiagnosed by your doctor. 
  • Rh incompatibility - when the mother’s blood is Rh-negative and the baby is Rh-positive. Easily preventable, when undiagnosed it can lead to brain damage, seizures, and excessive buildup of fluids.
  • Ectopic pregnancy - when the fertilized egg implants itself outside of the uterus. The condition itself is not caused by malpractice, but failure to diagnose the condition in a timely manner can lead to very serious health issues for the mother.
  • Cholestasis of pregnancy -  a liver problem where the flow of bile from the gallbladder slows or stops. If undiagnosed or not properly treated, it can cause numerous complications such as preterm birth.
  • HELLP syndrome - an acronym for “hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelet count,” this is a complication of high blood pressure.  If left untreated, it can lead to very serious complications such as seizures, stroke, liver ruptures, and placental abruptions.

These conditions are manageable if they are diagnosed in a timely manner and the OB-GYN prescribes the appropriate treatment. If they fail to properly diagnose or treat your condition, a Montana and Wyoming prenatal care malpractice lawyer can help you hold them accountable. 

Birth Injuries and Other Postpartum Issues May Indicate Malpractice by Your OB-GYN

In many cases, the fact that you are the victim of medical malpractice isn’t apparent until labor and delivery or after the child is born. Birth injuries and, tragically, the death of your child may indicate that your OB-GYN committed malpractice. Birth injuries can be caused by the following: 

  • Failure to diagnose a potential complication
  • Failure to prescribe the appropriate medication
  • Failure to adequately monitor the progress of your pregnancy and the development of your child
  • Failure to provide adequate care during your pregnancy
  • Failure to order routine tests 

If you or your child suffered an injury at birth, you should discuss your case with a Montana and Wyoming OB-GYN malpractice attorney to see if you may be entitled to compensation. 

Prenatal Care and OB-GYN Malpractice Cases Are Complex

Complications are common when it comes to pregnancy and labor and delivery. Proving that you are the victim of medical malpractice requires careful analysis of the facts and extensive knowledge of the law, all against a backdrop of highly technical medical information. In addition, your case will likely require the assistance of a medical expert. 

For these reasons, pursuing a claim can seem overwhelming for those who have suffered as a result of medical malpractice. A Wyoming or Montana prenatal care malpractice lawyer can handle your case so that you can focus on moving forward. 

What Damages Are Available in a Prenatal Care Malpractice Case?

If you or your child has suffered harm as a result of medical malpractice, you are entitled to be made whole. This means that you deserve compensation for all of your losses, including both your economic losses and non-economic losses:

  • Your medical bills - you may be entitled to compensation for your current and future medical expenses caused by the malpractice. This could include any expenses incurred for mental health treatment needed for depression, anxiety, or PTSD. 
  • Lost income - if you were unable to work, you are entitled to compensation for any lost income. You can also recover the income you lost to attend doctor’s appointments or receive follow-up care. If your child suffered an injury due to malpractice, you may be able to seek compensation for income that was lost because you had to care for your child. 
  • Pain and suffering - you may be entitled to compensation for the pain and mental anguish you have experienced as a result of the malpractice. Depending on the severity of the harm you have suffered, this could be a significant portion of your claim.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life - if your injuries prevent you from enjoying your life as you did previously, you may be entitled to compensation. For example, the inability to participate in prior hobbies or engage in basic activities of daily living may justify additional compensation.  
  • Punitive damages - punitive damages are intended to “punish” the defendant and to discourage similar behavior from others. They are awarded only rarely and in cases where the malpractice was committed with actual malice. 

In addition to proving that the OBGYN committed malpractice that resulted in your harm, you must prove that you are entitled to the amount of damages you are seeking. This requires extensive documentation that can be quite difficult to compile when you are in pain and trying to recover. An experienced Montana and Wyoming OB-GYN malpractice attorney can estimate what would be fair compensation, and then help you gather the documentation you need. 

Call Today and Speak to a Montana and Wyoming Prenatal Care Malpractice Lawyer at Ragain & Clark

Attorneys Jim Ragain and David Clark help injured patients across Wyoming and Montana get fair compensation when they have suffered as a result of OB-GYN medical malpractice. When you meet with us, we can assess your case, determine whether you have a claim, provide you with an estimate of what it’s worth, and discuss your options. Most importantly, we help you start building a better future for yourself and your child. To schedule a free consultation, contact us today by calling 406-651-8888 (Billings) or 307-388-6400 (Worland). 



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