Pre-eclampsia.

Pre-Eclampsia Negligence Compensation Claims.

According to figures provided by the charity, Tommy’s, up to 6% of pregnancies in the UK could be affected by pre-eclampsia, with around 1 – 2% of pregnancies experiencing severe symptoms.

The condition typically affects mothers in the second half of pregnancy, and unfortunately there is no cure. However, in the majority of cases it can be managed effectively in order to protect the health of both mother and baby.

Failure to diagnose or adequately monitor pre-eclampsia can result in complications, including learning difficulties or stillbirth.

If you have suffered with pre-eclampsia during your pregnancy and feel that the care provided to you was below standard, resulting in injury to you or your baby, you may have a case for claiming clinical negligence compensation. Speak to our team of highly trained and empathetic solicitors today who will be happy to advise you further.

What is Pre-Eclampsia?

Pre-eclampsia, also known as toxaemia, is a hypertensive condition which affects pregnant women, with symptoms typically beginning at around 20 weeks gestation. The condition causes high blood pressure and can put the mother at risk of eclamptic seizures, strokes, organ problems, and HELLP syndrome (a rare liver and blood clotting condition).

Pre-eclampsia also puts the baby at risk of slowed growth due to a reduction in nutrients and oxygen passed from mother to baby. In some cases, the baby may need to be delivered early, putting them at risk of serious complications such as breathing difficulties; and occasionally, pre-eclampsia can lead to stillbirth.

Our Pre-eclampsia Negligence Claims Expertise

Lanyon Bowdler is a specialist law firm with years of experience in all matters relating to birth-related medical negligence. Our solicitors are compassionate, and will fight for you and everyone affected by the negligent behaviour of medical staff. Contact us today.

Why choose Lanyon Bowdler for pre-eclampsia compensation claims?

Our medical negligence team is made up of highly trained and experienced solicitors, as well as several medical professionals offering their expertise on each compensation case.

We understand that complications arising from a condition such as pre-eclampsia can often have a financial impact on your family, which is why we are pleased to be able to offer flexible pricing solutions to suit your needs. Our clinical negligence compensation claims service is offered on a no win no fee basis, which means that we won’t take any payment from you up-front, and we will recoup our fees from the final compensation award.

At Lanyon Bowdler we are proud to be featured in the Top Tier of The Legal 500, as well as being highly ranked in Band 1 by Chambers UK. Not only this, but we have a fearsome national reputation and have represented hundreds of families in the Donna Ockenden Review and those affected by the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust (“SaTH) maternity scandal.

If you are looking for outstanding legal representation from a friendly and knowledgeable team of medical negligence solicitors, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Your Pre-Eclampsia Negligence questions answered

What are the symptoms of pre-eclampsia?

There are a number of different symptoms which may present in mothers with pre-eclampsia, the most common of which is hypertension, or high blood pressure. Hypertension alone is not usually a cause for concern in pregnancy, but when paired with additional symptoms it can indicate pre-eclampsia. Other symptoms can include:

  • High levels of protein in the urine
  • Needing to urinate less frequently
  • Oedema (swelling) of the feet, hands, and face
  • Sudden rapid weight gain
  • Reduced liver function
  • Pain in the abdomen and just below the ribs
  • Prolonged nausea and vomiting
  • Severe headaches
  • Vision problems eg dizziness, aversion to light
  • Shortness of breath

Your midwife or obstetrician should be checking for the symptoms of pre-eclampsia each time you visit them for an antenatal check-up. However, if you experience any of the above symptoms during pregnancy, it is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible in order to avoid further complications.

What can cause pre-eclampsia?

The exact cause of pre-eclampsia is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to the placenta not developing properly, which can happen when there is a problem with the blood vessels that supply the placenta. Pre-eclampsia can occur in any pregnant individual; however, there are a number of risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing the condition, including:

  • Mothers over the age of 35
  • Mothers who are obese or have a history of obesity
  • It is the mother’s first pregnancy
  • It has been more than 10 years since the mother was last pregnant
  • Pre-existing or gestational diabetes
  • Carrying more than one baby
  • History of high blood pressure
  • Previous pregnancies with pre-eclampsia
  • Family history of pre-eclampsia
  • History of smoking
  • Illnesses such as lupus, kidney disease, and rheumatoid arthritis

All pregnant individuals will be monitored throughout their pregnancy with regular scans and midwife appointments, and those who have one or more of the above risk factors can typically expect to receive additional monitoring during their pregnancy in order to detect pre-eclampsia early and prevent further complications from occurring.

How is pre-eclampsia diagnosed?

Whenever you see your midwife or obstetrician, they will carry out a few simple tests to look for signs of pre-eclampsia, including:

  • Blood pressure check – Using a blood pressure cuff, the clinician will measure the systolic and diastolic pressure of your blood, and a reading of 140/90 or higher is considered to be hypertensive during pregnancy.
  • Urine test – You will usually be asked to provide a urine sample each time you have an antenatal check-up, this is to assess the level of protein in your urine using a dipstick.
  • Blood test – If you are between 20 and 35 weeks pregnant and pre-eclampsia is suspected, your doctor may order a blood test to check your placental growth factor (PIGF) protein levels. Low levels of PIGF could be a sign of pre-eclampsia.
  • Fetal ultrasound – Due to the placental issues which are believed to cause pre-eclampsia, the baby may not receive adequate nutrients and oxygen, which can slow down their growth in utero, and this can be detected by an ultrasound scan.

If you experience symptoms of pre-eclampsia at any time, don’t wait until your next antenatal appointment and instead seek medical advice straight away. If your pre-eclampsia was not detected early enough, due to medical malpractice, which has resulted in you or your baby suffering ill health as a result, speak to our team of experienced and understanding medical negligence solicitors today for advice on your claim.

How is pre-eclampsia treated?

There is no cure for pre-eclampsia whilst you are still pregnant, but the symptoms typically subside once the baby has been born. However, depending on the severity of your condition, it can sometimes be managed effectively until it is safe for your baby to be delivered. In mild cases of pre-eclampsia, for example when your symptoms include high blood pressure, water retention, and protein in your urine, your doctor may recommend making dietary changes (such as reducing salt in your diet; increasing your protein intake; drinking eight or more glasses of water a day) and may suggest sleeping on your left side to reduce the pressure on the major blood vessels. They should also monitor you more closely by increasing the amount of antenatal check-ups.

In more severe cases of pre-eclampsia, for example when the symptoms also include: extreme headaches; blurred vision; abdominal pain, and fatigue, the best course of action for both mother and baby is to deliver the baby via caesarean section. Depending on the gestation of the baby at the time, this could involve the infant spending some time in neonatal intensive care (NICU), and in some cases it may mean that the baby develops lifelong complications or does not survive being born prematurely.

What are the complications of pre-eclampsia?

If pre-eclampsia is left unmanaged, it can lead to serious and even life-threatening complications for both the mother and the baby. By failing to diagnose pre-eclampsia or neglecting to manage it correctly, the following could occur:

In the baby

  • Restricted fetal growth and low birth weight.
  • Birth defects and disabilities.
  • Reduced oxygen in utero leading to conditions such as cerebral palsy.
  • Premature birth potentially leading to neonatal respiratory distress syndrome due to the lungs not being fully formed.
  • In some cases stillbirth or neonatal death can occur.
  • There is some evidence to suggest that pre-eclampsia may increase the likelihood of the child developing autism or developmental delays.

In the mother

  • Eclampsia – a condition where the same symptoms of pre-eclampsia are experienced along with seizures.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Organ damage including pulmonary oedema, kidney failure, and liver failure.
  • HELLP syndrome – a rare liver and blood clotting disorder which can be fatal for mother and baby.
  • Blood clotting disorder resulting in either excessive bleeding due to the blood not coagulating, or blood clots forming throughout the body.
  • Cerebral haemorrhage or stroke.

All healthcare providers have a duty of care to provide their patients with the appropriate level of care, and a failure to do so can sometimes have dire consequences. If you have suffered from pre-eclampsia during pregnancy which was either not detected or not managed adequately, and you or your child have suffered ill effects as a consequence, our team of specialist solicitors can help you to claim the compensation you are entitled to.

Can I claim compensation for pre-eclampsia?

Whether you are treated in an NHS hospital or a private facility, the medical staff that you come into contact with during your pregnancy, such as midwives and obstetricians, should be well-trained in recognising the symptoms of pre-eclampsia, and diagnosing and treating it accordingly. However, in some rare cases, negligence on the part of the medical staff could lead to a mother’s pre-eclampsia going undetected or being mismanaged, thus allowing the symptoms to worsen and pose a threat to both mother and baby.

There are several instances in which you may be entitled to make a compensation claim for medical negligence regarding pre-eclampsia, including:

  • When medical staff have delayed in diagnosing the condition, which leads to an increased risk to the health of you and your baby.
  • When medical staff are negligent in monitoring your blood pressure at routine antenatal appointments, especially in the second half of pregnancy.
  • When medical staff fail to refer you for further assessment after a high blood pressure reading or protein is detected in their urine.
  • When pre-eclampsia is misdiagnosed as a different condition, therefore meaning the right course of treatment is not followed.
  • When the condition is diagnosed promptly, but treatment is delayed, thus increasing the health risks to you and your baby.
  • When the treatment provided is not suitable for the condition, leading to a greater risk of harm to you and your baby.
  • When substandard care leads to a worsening of the condition, exacerbating the symptoms.
  • When you have a history of pre-eclampsia or any other mitigating factors and are not adequately monitored by medical staff.
  • When the negligent care and subsequent suffering has had a negative impact on your mental health, causing stress, depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

This list of scenarios is by no means exhaustive, so if you have received substandard care in any way throughout your pregnancy which has allowed your pre-eclampsia to worsen and cause undue harm to you and/or your baby, please get in touch with our team today and we’ll happily advise you on your right to claim compensation.

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What is the Claims Procedure for Pre-Eclampsia Compensation?

As with most medical negligence compensation claims, there are very strict time limits within which to bring a claim. Therefore we recommend that you contact us as soon as possible in order to avoid any complications and begin proceedings in good time.

After an initial consultation, if you have a valid claim and decide to go ahead with it, we will begin the process of collecting evidence to support your case straight away. This evidence will usually consist of medical records, reports, witness statements, and anything else that may be of relevance. If the potential defendant is the NHS, the body of evidence will be submitted to the NHS’s insurers – NHS Resolution (NHSR) –  who will then have four months in which to respond, either with an admission of liability, or with the intent to dispute your claim.

From there, a decision can be made with regards to the compensation to be awarded. Only around 1% of cases go to a final trial, with most settling prior to this. We will take the time to explain each step of the process for you, ensuring you are always kept in the loop and know that you can ask any questions that you may have at any time. We want you to feel confident entrusting our team with your claim, and to get the best possible outcome for you.

Contact Lanyon Bowdler’s Medical Negligence Lawyers Today

By choosing Lanyon Bowdler for a Medical Negligence Compensation Claim, you can rest assured that you have the best legal expertise on your team.

Lanyon Bowdler’s medical negligence team is widely acclaimed and recognised as one of the best clinical negligence departments in the country.

If you think you or a family member has received negligent treatment leading to pre-eclampsia, then it is likely you are entitled to make a compensation claim.

Give us a call or complete our online enquiry form, to see how our team can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.

There is no obligation or any charges for our initial assessment.

We have offices in Shrewsbury, Bromyard, Conwy, Hereford, Ludlow, Oswestry, and Telford, so are able to act for clients all over Shropshire, Herefordshire, Mid and North Wales and across the Midlands (including Wolverhampton & Birmingham). As a leading full-service law firm, we can represent you wherever you live in England or Wales.

We are committed to providing exceptional levels of client care and will work closely and considerately with you to help find the best outcomes and help to get your life back on track.

If you wish to complain or seek compensation for an incident of medical or clinical negligence, our team of specialists will be able to deal with it in a sensitive and approachable way.

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