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Failure to diagnose allegedly led to Massachusetts woman's death

Thanks to medical advances, labor and delivery is much safer for women and babies than it was 100 years ago. However, it is not without risks, and what should be a time for a family celebration can quickly turn to tragedy if there is a failure to diagnose potentially fatal conditions related to pregnancy. A lawsuit claims that such a failure led to the death of one Massachusetts woman.

The lawsuit was filed by the mother, husband and estate of the deceased woman. It claims that the woman was experiencing severe pain, high blood pressure, nausea and vomiting -- all signs of a potentially fatal condition called preeclampsia. Despite these signs, the lawsuit claims that the possibility that she had this condition was dismissed by medical professionals.

At the time of delivery, reports indicate that the woman was so agitated and panicked that she had to be restrained. She was unresponsive by the time the baby was born, but the lawsuit indicates that doctors continued to reassure her husband that she would recover. Unfortunately, tests ultimately revealed that she suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Although her family claims that these tests showed she would not be able to recover, doctors are suspected of transporting her to another facility needlessly where she died.

The lawsuit follows an announcement made by the Massachusetts facility that personnel would work to revamp its procedures due to a report issued by the Department of Health detailing the deaths of one mother and two newborns. Hopefully new procedures will prevent other instances of failure to diagnose from causing harm to patients. Victims of medical malpractice have legal rights available to them. The decision to file a lawsuit could not only result in an award of damages, but it could also protect future patients from suffering needlessly.

Source: masslive.com, "Family of woman who died in childbirth sues Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton", Fred Contrada, Aug. 24, 2015

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