Expectant mothers and doctors can agree on one thing; a pregnancy is a scary, yet exciting time in a woman’s life. The responsibility of bringing a new life into the world one that both do not take lightly, and both want to do everything they can to make sure that the baby is safe and healthy. Because of this, it is not uncommon for expectant moms to alert their doctors to every sense of discomfort they feel.
While communicating with one’s doctor is important, diagnosing and assessing pain during pregnancy can have its difficulties. Essentially, obstetric and non-obstetric pain can have similar symptoms and may sometimes lead to misdiagnoses. For example, complaints of abdominal soreness may simply be gas; or even worse, an infection that could harm the baby.
Despite these difficulties, obstetricians have several ways to make distinctions so that misdiagnoses can be avoided. They should maintain a detailed history of previous examinations and thoroughly assess the pain by asking questions about its locality, radiation and intensity. These steps can help in ruling out critical ailments without the need for more invasive (and potentially harmful) tests or remedies.
Suffice it to say, the medical standards that doctors are charged with following in diagnosing ailments are well-established. Obstetricians have an ongoing duty to use reasonable care when assessing patients; and deviations from established protocols that lead to a patient being harmed can result in the doctor being held liable.
If you have questions about whether your diagnosis (or misdiagnosis) could be the basis for a medical malpractice case, contact an experienced attorney.
The preceding is not legal advice.