The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate among developed countries, with nearly 23.8 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2020. Some of these deaths are unavoidable, but others may be preventable with proper care from attending medical professionals. Needless to say, affected families leave the delivery room with a broken heart and one less family member, leaving them to turn to a birth injury lawyer at Casey, Devoti and Brockland to help them fight for justice. We are here to answer your questions about the wrongful death of a mother and how this translates into a medical malpractice lawsuit.
What causes death during or after childbirth?
Labor and delivery are traumatic for both the mother and the child — many factors may cause either injury or death. It is the responsibility of medical professionals to look out for the well-being of both throughout the entire process. Misdiagnoses and inaction may quickly shift a happy occasion into a wrongful death case. Our birth injury lawyers often see legal action against OBGYNs, maternal-fetal medical physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, anesthesiologists and other medical professionals.
For example, the cause of many maternal deaths is uncontrollable uterine bleeding after birth. It would be the doctor’s responsibility to quickly stem the bleeding — in many cases, the only treatment is a hysterectomy. However, this decision will eliminate the chances of a mother having another child, making some individuals hesitant to make the call.
Many medical teams lose valuable time while they weigh the hysterectomy versus the mother’s life. Their lack of action in this scenario translates to fatal consequences. Complications extend to many other health conditions, such as high blood pressure from pregnancy and infections.
How do you prove medical negligence?
Families typically know right off the bat that a severe death or injury could have been avoided. After catastrophic events, it’s important to ask medical teams questions and seek answers from a birth injury lawyer. In order to have a viable medical malpractice case, you must demonstrate the existence of:
- A violation of the standard of care;
- An injury resulting from the negligence of medical staff;
- The injury resulted in significant damages such as disability, loss of income, suffering and hardship or medical bills.
Wrongful death due to medical negligence is similar to any malpractice case. Negligence in these cases often means the injury or death was foreseeable, yet the professional took no action to prevent deterioration. Conditions like uterine bleeding, high blood pressure and infection are often detectable early — the doctors have time to prepare to save the mother before it escalates to a matter of life and death.
How might a birth injury lawyer help you?
Death after birth is a somewhat complicated area of the law — a birth injury lawyer will help you identify parties at fault, build a case for the highest level of compensation and ultimately help you divide the sum appropriately. A wrongful death case typically has a different structure when compared to a medical malpractice case. Under Missouri statute, multiple parties may join these cases for justice and compensation.
The spouse, parents and children of the deceased are all class 1 beneficiaries who can bring or participate in a wrongful death case. The amount of a settlement or judgment is often distributed amongst the participants through mutual agreement and final approval from a judge. Typically, the proceeds are split proportionally to who suffered the most loss, with consideration for non-economic factors such as the loss of the services, companionship, comfort, instruction, guidance, counsel and support of the decedent.
A birth injury lawyer helps your family navigate the legal technicalities of a wrongful death case as you process your grief. Your family deserves closure in this heartbreaking time — contact Casey, Devoti & Brockland to start the journey toward justice.