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Misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancies can be fatal to unborn baby

Maryland parents-to-be are often excited about their upcoming addition to their family. A baby is often times viewed as a blessing and the experience is a joyful occasion. However, when a birth injury or medical negligence occurs during pregnancy it can turn this jubilant occasion into a very somber event.

A recent news article highlights an occurrence where an early pregnancy is misdiagnosed as ectopic. According to a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine, there are instances where a woman is told her pregnancy is not viable, even though it later turns out that the fetus was perfectly healthy. If a woman is having complications early on in her pregnancy, an ultrasound is typically performed. If the ultrasound and symptoms such as level of pregnancy hormones are misread, the doctor may declare the pregnancy not to be viable and give the woman methotrexate to terminate the pregnancy.

If the doctor turns out to be wrong and the pregnancy was actually viable, the pregnancy may end in miscarriage, or several months later with a severe malformations as an infant. The article mentions that it's important for medical staff to be aware that early pregnancy complications may be hard to diagnose and that the best practice may be just to wait it out and see what happens, provided the mother is not in distress.

If a person suffers from a medical misdiagnosis or a birth injury, it is important for her to know her legal rights. A mother and her baby have the right to the best prenatal medical care. So, when medical staff makes an error, it is important to hold them accountable. A legal professional skilled in medical malpractice can help a family sort out what happened and whether negligence has occurred. Compensation may be awarded to the family for their tragic circumstances.

The birth of a child is usually a major event in a family. Families anticipate the newest arrival and welcome the baby with love. When the pregnancy or birth turns tragic it can tear a family apart.

Source: WBUR, "Tragically wrong: When good early pregnancies are misdiagnosed as bad", Carey Goldberg, Oct. 11, 2013

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