Louisville Personal Injury Lawyers

Kentucky Preeclampsia Lawyers 

Legal help if you’re injured from preeclampsia in Lexington and Louisville 

The birth of a child is supposed to be a time filled with joy and excitement. However, for some, it is anything but. Preeclampsia can be life-threatening, and medical professionals who fail to correctly diagnose, monitor, and/or treat new mothers with this condition may be liable if it leads to injuries or death. Wilt Injury Lawyers can help. Our Kentucky preeclampsia lawyers represent individuals and families in lawsuits against hospitals, OB/GYNs, and other medical professionals whose negligence led to harm. Contact us today to get started.  

What is preeclampsia? 

Preeclampsia is a multi-system health disorder that occurs during pregnancy or after giving birth and is characterized by high blood pressure. It can be serious and its complications can threaten the lives of the mother and baby. The Mayo Clinic states: 

Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy. With preeclampsia, you might have high blood pressure, high levels of protein in urine that indicate kidney damage (proteinuria), or other signs of organ damage. Preeclampsia usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women whose blood pressure had previously been in the standard range. 

If left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to serious or fatal consequences for both mother and baby. 

Preeclampsia happens in about 1 out of every 25 pregnancies in the United States, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevenetion (CDC). Rates have risen 25% in the last generation in the United States.  

Between 2008 and 2017, there were 1,936 recorded cases of “early-onset hypertensive disorders of pregnancy” in Kentucky, accounting for about 9.1 out of every 1,000 births. During that time, the Appalachian region had a much higher rate (11.1 out of every 1,000 cases) whereas regions with a greater percentage of Black mothers had a lower rate of reported cases (8.1 out of every 1,000).  

More recent data is not available, but the annual March of Dimes report card for Kentucky showed that in 2022, our preterm birth rate was higher than the national average (11.7% of all births compared to 10.4%); in Louisville specifically, it’s 11.3%. We can also see that hypertension played a role in 22.8% of all preterm births that year, and that Black women had higher rates of pre-term births and infant mortality, though mothers in rural areas are still especially vulnerable.  

What are the symptoms of preeclampsia? 

Symptoms of preeclampsia are varied and can include: 

  • High blood pressure (hypertension): Blood pressure readings are consistently above 140/90 mm Hg, on two occasions four or more hours apart. 
  • Proteinuria: Protein in the urine, detected through a urine test. This occurs because preeclampsia affects the kidneys, causing them to leak protein. 
  • Swelling (edema): Swelling, particularly in the hands, face, and feet, due to fluid retention. While swelling is common during pregnancy, sudden or severe swelling may indicate preeclampsia. 
  • Sudden weight gain: Rapid weight gain, particularly more than two pounds per week. Per Hypertension, “high pregnancy weight gain before diagnosis increases the risk of preeclampsia in nulliparous women and is more strongly associated with later-onset preeclampsia than early-onset preeclampsia.” (Nulliparous is a medical term that describes a woman who has never given birth to a child.) 
  • Headaches: Persistent headaches that are not relieved with over-the-counter medications. 
  • Vision changes: Vision disturbances such as blurred vision, seeing spots or flashes of light, sensitivity to light (photophobia), or temporary loss of vision. 
  • Upper abdominal pain: Pain or discomfort, particularly in the upper right side of the abdomen, under the ribs. This can be a sign of liver involvement. 
  • Nausea or vomiting: These symptoms may feel like typical pregnancy discomforts but can also demonstrate preeclampsia when combined with other symptoms. 

It's important to note that not all women with preeclampsia will experience all these symptoms, and some women may not have any noticeable symptoms at all. Regular prenatal check-ups and monitoring of blood pressure and urine protein levels are essential for early detection and management of preeclampsia. If you experience any of these symptoms during pregnancy, it's important to inform your healthcare provider promptly for further evaluation. 

Superimposed preeclampsia 

Superimposed preeclampsia is an especially severe form of the condition, which “complicates about 20% of pregnancies in women with chronic hypertension and is associated with increased maternal and perinatal morbidity compared with preeclampsia alone.” Diagnosis can be missed in mothers-to-be who already suffer from chronic hypertension.  

Superimposed preeclampsia presents with chronic hypertension as well as “severe features,” as per The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Those severe features are: 

  • Low number of platelets in the blood 
  • Abnormal kidney or liver function 
  • Pain in the upper abdomen 
  • Changes in vision 
  • Fluid in the lungs 
  • Severe headache 
  • Systolic pressure of 160 mm Hg or higher or diastolic pressure of 110 mm Hg or higher 

What are the risks and side effects of preeclampsia? 

Preeclampsia poses significant risks to both the mother and the unborn baby. Some of the potential risks and side effects of preeclampsia include: 

For the mother 

  • Eclampsia: Preeclampsia can progress to eclampsia, which involves seizures or convulsions. Eclampsia is a life-threatening condition and requires immediate medical attention.  
  • Stroke: Preeclampsia increases the risk of stroke due to high blood pressure and changes in blood vessel function.  
  • Organ damage or failure: Preeclampsia can cause damage to various organs, including the kidneys, liver, brain, and cardiovascular system. 
  • HELLP syndrome: This is a severe form of preeclampsia characterized by Hemolysis (the breakdown of red blood cells), Elevated Liver enzymes, and Low Platelet count. It can lead to liver failure, bleeding disorders, and other complications. 
  • Placental abruption: Preeclampsia increases the risk of premature separation of the placenta from the uterine wall, which can result in heavy bleeding and jeopardize the health of both mother and baby. 
  • Cardiovascular disease. The Mayo Clinic notes that having preeclampsia can increase the risk of future cardiovascular disease. This risk goes up if you have had preeclampsia more than once or have had a preterm delivery. 

For the baby 

  • Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR): Preeclampsia can restrict the baby's growth in the womb, leading to low birth weight and related complications. 
  • Preterm birth: Early delivery due to preeclampsia increases the risk of preterm birth, which is associated with various health problems for the baby, including respiratory distress syndrome, developmental delays, and long-term disabilities. 
  • Stillbirth: Severe cases of preeclampsia can increase the risk of stillbirth, particularly if the condition is not adequately managed or if complications suddenly arise. 

Pregnant women need to receive regular prenatal care and monitoring to detect and manage preeclampsia early. It’s important to remember that prompt medical intervention can help mitigate the risks associated with this condition and improve outcomes for both the mother and baby. 

Preeclampsia and post-partum hemorrhage 

Post-partum hemorrhage, or PPH, occurs when a woman starts bleeding heavily after she gives birth. It can happen within a day or up to 12 weeks later, per the March of Dimes. This heavy blood loss can lead to a dangerous drop in blood pressure, which can lead to shock and organ failure. Preeclampsia does not cause PPH, but it can increase your risk of it 

What are the treatments for preeclampsia? 

The only cure for preeclampsia is to deliver the baby or manage your condition until it’s time for delivery. Treatments, however, can include: 

  • Monitoring: Regular monitoring of blood pressure, urine protein levels, and fetal well-being through tests or ultrasound scans is essential to assess the progression of preeclampsia and determine the need for further intervention. 
  • Bed rest: In some cases, healthcare providers may recommend bed rest or reduced activity to help manage blood pressure and reduce the risk of complications. 
  • Medications: 
    • Aspirin: Many studies suggest a 10-15% reduction in preeclampsia with aspirin administration, and potentially as high as 40-60% for preterm eclampsia for those whose risk is highest.   
    • Antihypertensive drugs: These medications help lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of complications.  
    • Magnesium sulfate: This medication may be administered to prevent seizures (eclampsia) in women with severe preeclampsia or those at risk of developing eclampsia. However, magnesium can increase NICU admission risk.  
    • Corticosteroids: In cases of preterm preeclampsia, corticosteroids may be given to help mature the baby's lungs and reduce the risk of respiratory distress syndrome. 
  • Hospitalization: Women with severe preeclampsia or those at risk of complications may require hospitalization for close monitoring and management. 
  • Delivery: Delivery is the only cure for preeclampsia, and the timing and method of delivery depend on the severity of the condition, gestational age, and fetal well-being. In some cases, induction of labor or cesarean delivery may be recommended to prevent further complications for the mother and baby. 
  • Follow-up care: After delivery, both the mother and baby should continue to be monitored closely for any after-effects of preeclampsia. Blood pressure checks, urine tests, and other assessments should be performed regularly to ensure that both mother and baby are recovering well. 

If you are pregnant, you should work closely with your healthcare providers to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and risks. Early detection and appropriate management can help reduce the risk of complications and improve outcomes for both mother and baby. 

Preeclampsia and medical malpractice in Kentucky 

Preeclampsia is a serious medical condition that requires a timely diagnosis and appropriate management to reduce the risk of complications for both the mother and the baby. Medical malpractice related to preeclampsia can happen if healthcare providers fail to accurately diagnose or adequately manage the condition, leading to harm or injury to the mother or baby. 

Some examples of medical malpractice related to preeclampsia may include: 

  • Failure to recognize symptoms: Healthcare providers may fail to recognize the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia, leading to delayed diagnosis and treatment. This delay can increase the risk of complications for both the mother and baby. 
  • Inadequate monitoring: Preeclampsia requires regular and consistent monitoring of blood pressure, urine protein levels, and fetal health to assess the progression of the condition and determine the need for intervention. If healthcare providers fail to conduct appropriate monitoring or follow-up, it can result in missed opportunities for early intervention and an increased risk of complications. 
  • Mismanagement of treatment: Improper administration or dosage of medications used to manage preeclampsia, such as antihypertensive drugs or magnesium sulfate, can lead to adverse effects or inadequate control of symptoms. Too much magnesium can lead to cardiac arrest.  
  • Failure to recommend timely delivery: In severe cases of preeclampsia, delivery may be necessary to prevent further complications for the mother and baby. Healthcare providers may be negligent if they fail to recommend or perform delivery promptly, leading to avoidable harm or injury. 
  • Inadequate postpartum care: After delivery, both the mother and baby require continued monitoring and follow-up care to ensure that they are recovering well from preeclampsia. Failure to provide appropriate postpartum care can result in missed complications or delays in treatment. 

If you believe your preeclampsia caused you or your baby harm or injury, you may have legal recourse to pursue compensation for damages. The Kentucky attorneys at Wilt Injury Lawyers can help determine whether you have a case and outline your rights and options. 

Do you have a Kentucky preeclampsia lawyer near me? 

Wilt Injury Lawyers has offices in Louisville and Lexington: 

Louisville Office

Louisville Kentucky Map

13113 Eastpoint Park Blvd. Suite A
Louisville, KY 40223
Phone: 502-253-9110

Lexington Office

Lexington Kentucky Map

196 W. Lowry Lane, Suite 1
Lexington, KY 40503
Phone: 502-461-1481

Kentucky preeclampsia lawyers helping your family 

If you or your baby have experienced complications due to preeclampsia during pregnancy, you deserve justice and compensation for any harm suffered as a result of medical negligence. Our team of experienced Kentucky preeclampsia lawyers is here to help you through the legal process and fight for your rights. We understand the complexities of these cases and are dedicated to holding healthcare providers accountable for their actions. Call or contact Wilt injury Lawyers today for a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case and learn how we can help you seek the compensation you deserve. We have offices in Louisville and Lexington for your convenience.