New Jersey Attorneys for Failure to Diagnose Ectopic Pregnancy Claims
When your doctor in NJ fails to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy, we can help
An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that doesn’t occur in the womb or inner lining of the uterus, but rather the fallopian tubes, ovary, or abdomen. The majority of ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tubes, where the tiny hairs (or cilia) move together to propel the egg up toward the womb. However, if there is a blockage or the cilia are damaged, the fertilized egg can remain in the fallopian tubes or implant elsewhere.
When an ectopic pregnancy goes undiagnosed, the mother’s health can be at great risk. This condition can cause a fallopian tube rupture, resulting in issues like internal bleeding, permanent injury, or wrongful death. If your doctor or other health professional fails to provide the proper care to diagnose and treat an ectopic pregnancy, they may be liable for medical malpractice.
At Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP in New Jersey, our medical negligence attorneys can help when you’ve been injured by your doctor’s carelessness or mistake. Our experienced team is ready to listen to your story.
Understanding the signs of ectopic pregnancy
According to the American Pregnancy Association, about one in every 50 pregnancies will be ectopic. The symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy may appear in a number of ways:
- Sharp or stabbing pain that comes and goes, varying in intensity – it may be in the abdomen, pelvis, or even the shoulder or neck.
- Irregular vaginal bleeding.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms.
- Weakness, dizziness, fainting.
The American Pregnancy Association notes it’s important to contact your NJ doctor if you’re experiencing these symptoms, especially any bleeding or sharp pain that lasts more than a few minutes.
Common causes of ectopic pregnancies
According to the Mayo Clinic, ectopic pregnancies can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Previous ectopic pregnancy – Women who have already had this type of pregnancy are more likely to have another.
- Infection or inflammation – Sexually transmitted infections that cause inflammation in the fallopian tubes or other nearby organs can increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy.
- Fertility treatments – there is some research that suggests women who have treatments like IVF may be more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy.
- Tubal surgery – Surgery to correct a closed or damaged fallopian tube can also increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy.
- Intrauterine devices (IUD) – The chance of getting pregnant while using an IUD is rare. However, if you do get pregnant with an IUD inserted, it increases the risk of an ectopic pregnancy.
- Tubal litigation – Also called “having your tubes tied,” can raise your risk of an ectopic pregnancy if you become pregnant after having the procedure.
- Smoking – Research also shows that cigarette smoking just before you become pregnant can increase your risk.
Complications from an ectopic pregnancy
Some women can naturally absorb an ectopic pregnancy with little or no complications. However, the primary risk of an ectopic pregnancy is a rupture, which can lead to internal bleeding. If not treated immediately, this bleeding can be fatal.
Other complications from a fallopian tube rupture include pelvic shock and pain in the abdomen. This is because when the fallopian tube ruptures, the blood can irritate the other tissues and organs, which causes intense pain. Scar tissue may form, which can then lead to future ectopic pregnancies, difficulty in conceiving, or infertility.
Any woman of childbearing age who shows symptoms of a missed period and abdominal pain should always be checked for the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy. Physicians who fail to give a complete examination and fail to diagnose a rupture or bleeding may be responsible for medical malpractice.
Doctors also should inform women who have had a tubal litigation or other form of permanent birth control of the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy. A failure to inform may also be part of a malpractice claim.
Even if a doctor takes routine sonograms, ultrasounds, and blood tests, these tests also must be properly interpreted. One indication of an ectopic pregnancy, for example, is a rise in hormone levels with no sign of an embryo in the uterus. The failure to act on this test result could lead to injury, infertility, or death for the mother.
If something like this has happened to you or a loved one, consult with a skilled ectopic pregnancy attorney to find out more about your legal options.
Treatment for ectopic pregnancies
If an ectopic pregnancy is caught early enough, it can be treated using a drug called methotrexate, which dissolves the fertilized egg for the body to absorb. This treatment allows the fallopian tube to be saved.
The other treatments are either a laparoscopy or a laparotomy. With a laparoscopy, the egg is removed through a small incision at the belly button. The procedure is minimally invasive, and the patient can return home the same day, as well as go back to normal activities in a short amount of time.
A laparotomy is performed when the ectopic pregnancy is large or ruptured. This procedure is more serious, and the patient will need to heal for several weeks. The entire fallopian tube may need to be removed, depending on the amount of damage.
Who is responsible for my injuries?
In New Jersey, physicians are held to a standard of care equal to the experience and knowledge of a similar physician with a similar patient. If it’s determined that your doctor’s failure to diagnose your ectopic pregnancy didn’t meet the standard of care of a reasonably competent physician in similar circumstances, then he or she may have committed malpractice.
Nurses and other medical professionals are also held to a similar standard, and can be held responsible for your injuries if they failed to read tests or notice warning signs that another reasonably competent professional would have in similar circumstances.
Hospitals and clinics that hire or train their staff may also be held responsible for medical errors. Your medical malpractice attorney can explain this in more detail.
Call our tenacious NJ medical malpractice attorneys today
If your doctor failed to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy and you suffered a ruptured fallopian tube, internal bleeding, and other harmful consequences, the lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP would like to hear from you. Our legal team will advocate for you and fight for compensation for your injuries. We have offices in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River. Call us at 732-777-0100 or fill out our contact form.