Post-Partum Preeclampsia: Potentially Deadly, Too Often Unnoticed

Post-Partum Preeclampsia: Potentially Deadly, Too Often Unnoticed

It is a standard bit of wisdom in real estate — the three most important things about any piece of property are location, location and location. When it comes to health care, the phrase that would seem to apply is, communication, communication, communication.

If there is one thing that most reviews of health care practice seem to agree upon it is that standards of medical practice come up short in the area of communication. Patients don’t ask enough questions of their doctors. Doctors don’t take the time to make sure patients understand plans of care.

Where communication doesn’t exist, the risk of medical error increases and the risks can be the worst for a patient in the hospital. There can be so many touch points between patients and caregivers. One instance of negligence can lead to serious injury or even death. Holding hospitals and their staffs accountable for delivering expected standards of care may require the help of an attorney.

Sometimes the issue may not necessarily be one of negligence, but rather lack of due diligence. Doctors and nurses dealing with the same sorts of things day in and day out might slip into a routine that leads them to miss signals. The result can be that a silent killer goes unnoticed, as in the case of post-partum preeclampsia.

Many may be familiar with preeclampsia as the high blood pressure that can crop up during a woman’s pregnancy. Most often, the preeclampsia resolves itself after the baby is delivered. But on occasion, according to the Preeclampsia Foundation, a woman may develop post-partum preeclampsia as long as six weeks after the birth. If left untreated, it can kill.

To counter the problem, the Preeclampsia Foundation says there’s a need for better communication. It’s urging states to require hospitals to make sure new mothers are informed about preeclampsia symptoms verbally and in writing.

Source: ABC News, “High Blood Pressure Nearly Kills Mom After Normal Pregnancy,” Susan Donaldson James, May 20, 2014

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