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Preeclampsia caused stillbirth; mother sues

It is a sad fact of life that all pregnancies do not wind up with bouncing bundles of joy. Despite all the advances in obstetrics over the years, some babies simply do not make it out alive.

While some of these cases are inexplicable by modern medicine, it is an especially bitter experience for the parents when the infant mortality is due to negligence by the mother's obstetrician.

Such is the case of a woman in the neighboring state of Illinois, who gave birth in 2013 to a stillborn daughter. Allegedly, her physician failed to diagnose numerous and obvious symptoms of preeclampsia.

These symptoms included:

-- Severe headaches

-- Increase in blood pressure

-- Evidence of severe swelling in the feet and lower legs

The patient presented to her obstetrician on Aug. 13 at the office location in Palos Heights, Illinois, with the above symptoms. The obstetrician did not order 24-hour urine testing or admit the mother-to-be to the hospital for fetal monitoring. She neither diagnosed nor treated the woman's obvious prenatal complications, according to the complaint.

The woman was instructed to come back to the office in two weeks for a follow-up. However, within days she was admitted to Christ Hospital from their Emergency Room after presenting with symptoms of a severe case of preeclampsia. Her daughter was delivered stillborn two days later.

After having been named the special administrator for her deceased daughter's estate, the mother is seeking damages in excess of $50,000.

Pregnant women rely on their obstetricians to guide them safely through the nine months of their pregnancy and be alert and responsive to indications that something is awry. When they fail to exercise this duty of care, patients can seek compensation from civil legal action.

Source: Cook County Record, "Mother alleges negligence vs doctor over stillbirth," Angus West, Aug. 20, 2015

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