In 2014, statistics showed that the rate of ectopic pregnancy was 19.7 cases per 1,000 pregnancies in North America and it is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality in the first trimester. 9% of all pregnancy deaths are caused by an ectopic pregnancy.
Approximately 33% of women who have had an ectopic pregnancy can have a normal complication free pregnancy later, but the risk of having a second ectopic pregnancy increases by 9 times. About 50% of women who have ectopic pregnancies are given outpatient treatment.
An ectopic pregnancy is a serious pregnancy complication that occurs when the fertilized egg attaches itself outside the womb or cavity of the uterus. If an ectopic pregnancy is not terminated, then there is continued growth of the fertilized egg in the fallopian tube. The fallopian tube will eventually rupture, which can result in serious complications for the mother.
Possible Ectopic Pregnancy Complications
If a swift diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy is done, then a full recovery without any further complications can be made. Additionally, it is likely that women can have a successful pregnancy in the future. Statistics suggest that close to 60% of women who have had an ectopic pregnancy once can still have a normal pregnancy.
However, if an ectopic pregnancy is not identified by a medical staff or the correct treatment is not rendered on time, then a woman can endure serious complications.
· Rupturing of the fallopian tubes
· Internal bleeding
· A dangerous drop in blood pressure (shock)
· Infertility or reduced fertility
Ectopic Pregnancy Diagnosis and Treatment
An ectopic pregnancy can be diagnosed with a collaboration of tests. First of all, if you are experiencing the symptoms of this complication, but you are not known to be pregnant, you will first need to establish whether or not you are pregnant.
If the pregnancy test is positive and you are still experiencing symptoms, a vaginal ultrasound may be required. Furthermore, doctors may test hormone levels with blood samples. These levels will be lower in women with ectopic pregnancy. If doctors are still unable to make a concrete diagnosis by this stage, then a laparoscopy, involving the use of a viewing tube for a direct examination of the womb, may be necessary.
If a patient is diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy, then immediate treatment should be given. Depending on how far advanced the pregnancy is, doctors will determine the best type of treatment. If detected early enough, then a medication called methotrexate will be given to treat the ectopic pregnancy. This will stop the growth of the embryo, and is given via an injection.
In some cases, surgery may be required to treat an ectopic pregnancy. With surgery, the embryo is removed from the fallopian tube, and if the fallopian tube itself is damaged as well, then it may also need to be removed.
Types of Ectopic Pregnancy Diagnosis and Treatment Errors
Because the complications of ectopic pregnancy are extremely serious and can be fatal, timely diagnosis, and treatment is critically important. Here are some examples of instances where errors in ectopic pregnancy diagnosis and treatment may occur:
· Failure to correctly diagnose ectopic pregnancy symptoms such as vaginal bleeding, shoulder tip pain and pain on one side of the lower abdomen
· A treatment delay, including failing to prescribe the mother the drug methotrexate in time help in the prevention of the development of the egg in the fallopian tube
· A failure and delay in carrying out adequate scans and blood tests, including pregnancy hormone tests to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy
· Failing to review the and family and mother's medical history
· Treatment failure for problems such as infection post-surgery and retained fluid
If you or a loved one has been affected by an undiagnosed or improperly treated ectopic pregnancy, you should reach out for legal advice of experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff of RMFW Law at 212-344-1000.
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