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Failure to Diagnose Postpartum Depression

Baltimore Lawyers Aiding People Harmed by Medical Malpractice in the Pursuit of Damages

The birth of a child is often one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life. Sometimes, though, the excitement can be overshadowed by lingering feelings of anxiety and intense sadness. Often, such feelings are a sign of postpartum depression. While new mothers usually undergo mental health screenings after giving birth, doctors can overlook the signs that a woman is suffering from postpartum depression, and their reckless oversights often cause their patients to suffer devastating harm. Fortunately, Maryland law affords people injured by medical negligence the right to pursue damages for their losses. If you or someone you loved sustained injuries due to a doctor’s failure to diagnose postpartum depression, you should consult a lawyer regarding your possible claims. The dedicated Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group have ample experience helping people hurt by incompetent medical professionals seek compensation for their harm, and we can assist you in pursuing the best legal result available.

Harm Caused by the Failure to Diagnose Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that arises after the birth of a child. It rarely resolves independently and, without treatment, can endure for months. While anyone may develop postpartum depression, some women, like those with a history of depression or anxiety, those who lack social support or sufficient means to care for their child, and mothers of special needs children, face a greater risk of developing it. Signs of postpartum depression include anxiety, racing thoughts, a loss of pleasure in things they used to enjoy, misery, fear of not being a good mother and of being left alone with the child, and crying uncontrollably. While postpartum depression is not life-threatening in and of itself, some women suffering from postpartum depression who do not receive a proper diagnosis or care will tragically harm themselves or their children.

Elements of a Lawsuit Arising Out of the Failure to Diagnose Postpartum Depression

People who suffer injuries because of a doctor’s failure to diagnose postpartum depression may be able to recover damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. A person that wishes to recover damages in a medical malpractice case typically must show that the defendant committed negligence. In Maryland, to establish negligence in the context of medical care, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant had a duty to provide treatment that comports with the applicable standard of care. The standard is determined by what a competent doctor working in the same specialty as the defendant would offer when presented with a similar situation. The plaintiff must then show that the defendant breached the duty owed by deviating from the standard. After establishing a duty and breach, the plaintiff has to prove that the breach proximately caused them to suffer actual damages. In other words, that they would not have been harmed absent the defendant’s breach.

Generally, the average layperson lacks an understanding of the standard of care that applies to physicians. As such, the plaintiff will most likely need to retain a medical expert to offer testimony explaining the standard and the manner in which the defendant breached the standard. Usually, a person must possess adequate experience, training, and knowledge of the relevant practice area to be considered an expert. A plaintiff that successfully proves a provider's liability may be awarded damages for their economic losses, such as the cost of any medical care, out-of-pocket expenses, and lost wages. They may also be granted compensation for their emotional trauma, pain, and suffering caused by the defendant’s acts.

Talk to a Dedicated Baltimore Attorney

Postpartum depression typically responds well to treatment, but if it is not diagnosed in a timely manner, it can have devastating consequences for new mothers and their families. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to a doctor’s failure to diagnose postpartum depression, it is prudent to talk to an attorney about your potential claims. The dedicated Baltimore lawyers of Arfaa Law Group can advise you of your options and help you pursue the full amount of compensation recoverable under the law. We regularly represent people in medical malpractice lawsuits in Baltimore, where we have an office. You can contact us via our form online or by calling (410) 889-1850 to set up a confidential and free meeting.