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Mothers might be common victims of failure to diagnose

Childbirth can be a taxing experience for Maryland women, but the real damage might be caused by what comes later -- the post-birth checkup. The failure to diagnose even a minor medical condition after birth can lead to significant medical complications later on. For one woman, her OBGYN's misdiagnosis led to a worsened medical condition that began to affect all areas of her life.

Back in 2005, the 34-year-old gave birth to her second baby. In the days following labor she began to suspect that some serious damage had occurred during labor, as using the restroom suddenly became a time-sensitive matter. Although she was having increasing difficulty controlling her bladder and bowel movements, her doctor insisted that the tear she had suffered during labor had healed and that she was otherwise healthy. Despite this seal of approval from her doctor, the incontinence continued, and because of the ongoing issue she decided to leave her job and forego spending time with friends.

What her doctor failed to realize was the extent of the damage she had suffered to her pelvic floor. When she finally received the correct diagnosis eight years later, she was told that the muscles of her pelvic floor were barely functioning and likely responsible for the sudden onset of incontinence after giving birth. Unfortunately, missed diagnoses such as this one are not isolated events. A study from the University of Michigan performed MRIs on women nearly two months after they had given birth, and revealed a troubling pattern. Nearly 30 percent of the women in the study had undiagnosed pubic bone fractures, and another 41 percent had muscle tears in their pelvic floors that had gone undiagnosed.

For the majority of women in Maryland, a checkup at six weeks postpartum is the final appointment for postpartum care, after which mothers tend to focus on the livelihood of their newborns. Any failure to diagnose a medical issue at this point can lead to serious complications and injuries that not only affect victims' physical well-being, but also their emotional and financial stability. When a misdiagnosis has this type of consequence, victims can achieve just and necessary compensation for their injuries and related medical care by successfully pursuing a medical malpractice suit to completion.

Source: Cosmopolitan, "Millions Of Women Are Injured During Childbirth. Why Aren't Doctors Diagnosing Them?", Laura Beil, July 18, 2016

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