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Medical Malpractice

Stillbirths and Miscarriages: Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?

March 31, 2023

The loss of a child is devastating under any circumstances, including losses that occur before the child is born. The mother can especially suffer emotional trauma, but the loss can be overwhelming when you suspect that it could have been avoided. We trust our doctors, nurses, and hospitals to provide the care we need to deliver a healthy and happy baby. And while some mistakes are unavoidable, medical malpractice can result in the loss of an unborn child. If you suspect that your child died before they were born due to medical malpractice, you should speak with a fetal death lawyer as soon as possible. 

The Difference Between Stillbirths and Miscarriages

These terms are often used interchangeably, but there is actually a difference between the two. The Centers for Disease Control defines miscarriages and stillbirths as follows:  

  • A miscarriage is the loss of the baby before it is sufficiently developed to survive. They typically occur within the first three months of pregnancy but up to 20 weeks. 
  • A stillbirth occurs after 20 weeks. This can include an early stillbirth (20-27 weeks), a late stillbirth (28-36 weeks), and a term stillbirth (37 or more weeks).

Miscarriages are far more common than stillbirths, but the CDC reports that approximately 21,000 babies are stillborn every year. If you had a miscarriage or a stillbirth and suspect it was caused by substandard medical care, you should discuss your case with an experienced fetal death lawyer. 

Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Many miscarriages and stillbirths are the results of birth defects, which are almost always considered unavoidable. If, however, your miscarriage or stillbirth was caused by medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation. To prevail, you will need to prove the following: 

  1. That the healthcare professional failed to meet the standard of care; and
  2. That the failure to meet the standard of care resulted in the death of your baby.

Proving both of these elements can be quite difficult, especially for non-lawyers. The standard of care is determined by what other similarly trained and experienced healthcare professionals would do in the same position. This requires knowledge of current medical practice and what other providers would consider due care. In addition, you must prove a connection between the malpractice and the death of the fetus. In other words, you cannot recover compensation if you can only prove that the healthcare provider was negligent in some way – there must be a causal connection.

Examples of Fetal Deaths Caused by Medical Malpractice

Some common examples of medical malpractice that can lead to fetal death include the following: 

  • Prescribing medication to the mother that is unsafe for the baby
  • Inadequate prenatal care, especially if the mother is at risk for miscarriage or stillbirth
  • Failure to monitor fetal movement during pregnancy
  • Failure to identify an Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IGR)
  • Failure to identify and treat umbilical cord issues
  • Failure to prevent infection
  • Piercing the placental
  • Failure to identify or adequately respond to signs of fetal distress 

Pregnant women go to the doctor for the purpose of monitoring the health of their unborn child. When the doctor fails to identify or manage potential issues with the baby, it could be considered medical malpractice if it results in the death of the child and could have been avoided. 

You Can File a Wrongful Death Claim

If your miscarriage or stillbirth was caused by medical malpractice, you can pursue compensation by way of a wrongful death claim. If successful, you may be able to receive compensation for the following: 

  • Your medical expenses
  • The funeral costs for your baby
  • Any lost income caused by your loss (e.g. you took time off of work to grieve)
  • Your pain and suffering

An experienced fetal death lawyer can help you quantify your losses and provide you with an estimate of what your claim may be worth. They can also identify any potential challenges in your case and assess the likelihood of a positive outcome. 

Contact a Fetal Death Lawyer at Ragain & Clark Today

At Ragain & Clark, we have over 30 years of experience in helping medical malpractice victims get the compensation they deserve. We serve our clients with deep compassion, providing them with relentless, aggressive advocacy until those responsible are held to account. To discuss your case and how we can help, contact us today at 406-651-8888 (Billings) or 307-388-6400 (Worland) to schedule a free consultation.


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