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Pregnancy misdiagnosis leads to miscarriage, birth defects

For many young couples, learning that they are pregnant is a joyous occasion. Whether they had intended to start a family or not, there are many people in Reading who are ecstatic to know that in nine months they will be parents. Imagine the pain and anguish, however, to learn that what they believed to be a healthy pregnancy was actually an ectopic pregnancy, or a life-threatening pregnancy that is outside of the uterus. That sadness can really only be topped by learning that the ectopic diagnosis was false and that the treatment a patient underwent will cause miscarriage or birth injuries.

Unfortunately, these kinds of ectopic misdiagnoses happen far too often. There are no official numbers on how many women have had a misdiagnosis, but a recent paper in the New England Journal of Medicine has pointed out that these are "far from rare."

Though it may be hard to think about, if a doctor's error causes a miscarriage or severe birth injuries, it may be in couple's best interest to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor. By holding him or her responsible for the misdiagnosis, especially since it is not risky to retest for an ectopic pregnancy after a few days, would-be parents can seek compensation for the pain and suffering the doctor's error put them through.

For those children born with severe birth injuries, medical malpractice lawsuits can also provide significant compensation to pay for the lifelong care they will need.

Hopefully, however, this new paper will decrease the number of doctors who are quick to treat after finding what appears to be an ectopic pregnancy, prompting them to wait and see if the first diagnosis was wrong.

Source: WBUR, “Tragically Wrong: When Good Early Pregnancies Are Misdiagnosed As Bad,” Carey Goldberg, Oct. 11, 2013

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