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Doctor negligence in miscarriage diagnoses

Miscarriage is the most frequent complication leading to loss during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Up to one in four pregnant women in Pitt County and throughout the U.S. experience miscarriages. The miscarriage rate is highest during the first 13 weeks of gestation.

A pregnancy may end spontaneously for a number of identifiable or unknown reasons, with miscarriage risks higher for some mothers-to-be than others. One half to three-fourths of all miscarriages are the result of chemical pregnancies, which often go unnoticed. The early miscarriage occurs just after implantation, with the presence of human Chorionic Gonadotropin or hCG hormone as the only indicator a pregnancy occurred.

Most first trimester miscarriages are traced to chromosome abnormalities. Other reasons for pregnancy losses include previous miscarriages, the mother's poor health or lifestyle choices, hormonal difficulties, maternal trauma or the pregnant woman's age. The older a pregnant woman is the greater the risk for miscarriage – about 15 percent for women under 35 and as high as 50 percent for women over 45.

Doctors look for common signs of a miscarriage, including unusual cramping and bleeding, and may order an ultrasound or hCG test for confirmation. A miscarriage diagnosis may be followed by a recommendation for a dilation and curettage or D&C to expel the fetal tissue surgically.

However, symptoms and tests sometimes wrongly indicate a miscarriage. A miscalculated due date, a misleading hormone test result or misread ultrasound can influence a diagnosis. In some cases, the wrong information or interpretation of data may lead to a misdiagnosis and the termination of a viable pregnancy.

Legal claims can be filed against hospitals, doctors and other health care providers when pregnancy and birth injuries are caused by negligence. An attorney can help determine whether a misdiagnosed miscarriage claim is valid and help malpractice victims pursue legal remedies.

Source: Families.com, "Misdiagnosed Miscarriages," accessed Sep. 02, 2015

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