If a pregnancy ends in the premature death of a developing infant at any point between 20 weeks of gestation and labor, it’s referred to as a stillbirth. Pregnancies that end in fetal death at an earlier point are usually referred to as miscarriages. In the United States, there are approximately six stillbirths for every 1000 live births. No matter what the cause, a stillbirth is often a traumatic and heartbreaking experience for everyone involved.
Why Do Stillbirths Occur?
The factors that can lead to a stillbirth can be very complex and difficult to define. Sometimes, medical complications, such as placental disease or fetal abnormalities, are to blame. In these cases, no one is at fault and nothing could have been done differently to prevent the stillbirth from occurring. However, there are times when a stillbirth occurs due to a mistake made by the doctor or hospital staff, either during delivery or at some point before. If you’ve experienced a stillbirth that you believe might have been due to medical malpractice, you may want to pursue legal action.
Do You Have a Case for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
To successfully win a lawsuit, it will need to be proven that your doctor or another medical provider made an error that resulted in your stillbirth. Common errors that can lead to stillbirth include:
- Failing to provide sanitary conditions during checkups or labor.
- Not taking the proper steps to identify risk factors that could lead to a stillbirth.
- Using an improper dosage of a medication, such as Pitocin, during labor.
- Failing to perform necessary checkups to ensure the developing infant is safe and healthy.
- Waiting too long to induce labor or perform a cesarean when necessary.
- Ignoring the mother’s worries regarding the health of her developing infant.
These are only a few of the common errors that could potentially lead to the death of the infant. The details of a lawsuit for stillbirth vary case by case, so if you’re unsure whether your case qualifies, speaking to an experienced attorney is always a good first step.
How Do You Prove Your Case?
If you pursue a lawsuit, you will need to prove your case in court. The first step toward doing this is establishing whether or not your doctor or medical staff breached the expected standard of care. This usually involves testimony from a qualified medical professional, such as an OBGYN. Once this has been established, the next step is proving that this failure to provide adequate care led to a measurable amount of harm.
In cases of stillbirth, harm usually comes in the form of extra medical bills and a lot of pain and suffering. In some cases, this suffering extends beyond the immediate grief of losing an expected infant. Complications from the stillbirth could potentially lead to issues during future pregnancies, infertility or other damage to the body. There also might be lasting mental effects, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. Emotional issues as a result of stillbirth can be difficult to prove in court, which is why a qualified attorney is so crucial for success.
A stillbirth is a very unfortunate event that you shouldn’t have to suffer through alone. If you need help, please contact us today. We have the experience to provide you with the answers you need and help you determine if you have a case.