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Misdiagnosed Ectopic Pregnancy

Misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancy is the cause of fifty percent of all maternal deaths caused by ectopic pregnancy. This translates into approximately twenty deaths each year in the United States caused by a misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is the leading cause of maternal death in the first trimester. Misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancy can be the result of medical malpractice when a physician or other medical professional fails to exact the standard of care and expertise that a reasonable doctor would exercise in order to correctly diagnose this condition.

An ectopic pregnancy is the development of an embryo in a location other than the uterus. Ninety five percent of ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tubes and other sites can include the ovaries, cervix, or abdominal cavity. In the United States, approximately one in every 200 to 250 pregnancies is an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is five times more likely to kill an African American woman compared to a Caucasian woman. There are several risk factors that can elevate a woman's chance of having an ectopic pregnancy including: previous childbirth, history of ectopic pregnancy, history of tubal infection, STDs, use of fertility drugs, cigarette smoking, previous abdominal surgery, and the presence of an IUD.

Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy can include any or all of the following: abdominal or pelvic pain, irregular or excessive vaginal bleeding, dizziness or fainting, rapid heart beat, low blood pressure, and some of the early signs of pregnancy. Some women will test positive for pregnancy, though there may not be as many hormones present in an ectopic pregnancy as there are in a normal pregnancy.

Misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancy can be the result of a negligent doctor's failure to properly identify the true cause of a woman's physical symptoms, failure to diagnose the underlying cause of an ectopic pregnancy, or failure to diagnose a true ectopic pregnancy altogether (wrong diagnosis). Misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancy is relatively common. There are a number of other medical conditions whose symptoms are similar to those of an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is often confused with a miscarriage, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID or salpingitis), ovarian cysts, or normal pregnancy because some of the symptoms of these conditions can look like ectopic pregnancy symptoms.

There are specific diagnostic tests that can be performed in order to avoid a misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy can be diagnosed through the proper use and analysis of an ultrasound, pregnancy test, and other hormone tests.

A misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancy often occurs in an emergency medical situation and can result in serious injury or death to the victim. Women who have a true misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancy run a higher risk of suffering a rupture or hemorrhage before the mistake is discovered. These risks can be life threatening.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancy, you may wish to contact a qualified and experienced attorney who can help you to discover your legal rights and options in a case to recover what you have lost as a result of a misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancy.

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