Lawyers, like Ohio medical negligence lawyers from Mishkind Kulwicki Law Co, L.P.A., review medical records related to the death of a baby. In medical negligence circles, these cases may be referred to as a “fetal demise case” or an “infant mortality case.” Irrespective of the language used, when parents lose a child in childbirth or during the neonatal period, it is devastating. The damages associated with such a loss include a lifetime of mental anguish and depression.
According to the National Vital Statistics Reports, the US infant mortality rate declined from 6.89 deaths per 1,000 births in 2000 to 5.79 in 2017. During that period, the age of women giving birth rose, which is a substantial contributing factor in the decline in infant mortality. Sadly, the infant mortality rate is highest among minority women, reflecting disparities in care, substandard medical care, inadequate prenatal testing and racial bias in health care.
Medical Malpractice Versus Wrongful Death
Depending on the applicable state law, different rules may apply for medical negligence that results in a miscarriage as opposed to wrongful death of a viable fetus or a newborn. Some states refer to the death of a nonviable fetus as simply a medical negligence claim because wrongful death laws are not applicable. However, some states recognize that the death of a fetus during childbirth results in a wrongful death claim. If a newborn dies during the neonatal period, a wrongful death claim applies.
Similarly, some states recognize claims for wrongful birth or wrongful life. These causes of action arise when genetic defects are not identified through routine prenatal testing, or abnormal test results are not conveyed to the parents in a timely or accurate manner. When a child is born with substantial birth defects, some states permit the parents to sue if there was medical negligence during the prenatal. Other states will not recognize these claims for damages.
The death of a baby is a catastrophic event. These cases are always factually dense because the perinatal period (the period involving the prenatal period, labor and delivery and the neonatal period) involves a variety of medical specialists, including an obstetrician, a neonatologist, and a pediatrician. Often, in these cases, issues arise that require consultation with a pediatric infectious disease expert, a geneticist, or a pediatric neurologist.
Contact an Attorney
If you have suffered the loss of a baby in the health care setting and have concerns about medical negligence, medical mistakes, nursing negligence, obstetric negligence, hospital negligence, or other medical errors, it is important to contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer early in the process. Time limits may apply for filing a lawsuit. Most skilled medical negligence attorneys will examine records and conduct a thorough investigation on your behalf as part of a free consultation.