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Stillbirth Baby Lawsuits
Friday, March 3, 2023

A Michigan stillbirth baby lawyer understands the devastation that the loss of a baby has on a family. When a doctor or hospital makes a medical mistake that causes a stillborn baby, it may give grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

What is a Stillbirth?

A small percentage of miscarriages happen after 20 weeks of pregnancy. These miscarriages are called stillbirths. A stillbirth can also be called an intrauterine fetal death or antenatal death.

A stillbirth can happen before delivery, or during labor and delivery of the baby.

  • An early stillbirth is a fetal death occurring between 20-27 weeks of pregnancy.

  • late stillbirth is a fetal death occurring between 28-36 weeks of pregnancy.

  • term stillbirth occurs between 37 or more completed weeks of pregnancy.

Regardless of when a stillbirth occurs, the loss is an emotional devastation for the parents of the lost baby.  If the death was caused by medical negligence, you may be able to file a lawsuit.

What Are the Causes of Stillbirth?

There are several potential causes of stillbirth. Some stillbirths are caused by medical complications with the fetus and others are medical complications with the expectant mother. 

With respect to fetal issues, the main complications causing a stillbirth include:

Fetal distress –happens when the baby does not receive enough oxygen through the placenta. It can happen during pregnancy but is more common during labor and delivery.  If the baby is not properly monitored while in distress, it can result in the stillborn baby.

Fetal growth restriction – a fetus that grows too slowly is at risk of being stillborn.  Doctors must monitor the growth and provide necessary treatment before the mother goes into labor.

Placental problems – the placenta is an organ that develops in the uterus and supplies oxygen and nutrients to the baby.  Complications like placental abruption, placental previa, placenta accreta, and retained placenta can deprive the baby of oxygen and lead to stillbirth.  Doctors and nurses must look for these issues and respond quickly to prevent a stillborn baby.

Umbilical cord entanglement – if the umbilical cord wraps around the baby’s neck, it can essentially strangle the baby and cause a death.  There are key indicators that doctors, and nurses monitor for this condition, and they must quickly eliminate the harm to save the baby.

There are other possible causes, like infections and even the adverse effects of drugs and alcohol consumed during a pregnancy that can lead to a stillborn baby.

For mothers, other health conditions can cause or contribute to the death of a baby.  Examples include extended pregnancies, overmedication, illness and infections, and physical trauma.  Other factors that affect fetal mortality include the age, race, and socioeconomic status of the expectant mother

Again, medical providers must be aware of these health conditions and take necessary steps to prepare for the birth of the baby.  The failure to act accordingly may be the basis for a stillbirth baby lawsuit.

Can I Sue for a Stillbirth?

You may be able to sue a doctor or hospital for a stillbirth if medical negligence caused the death of your baby.  The main allegations in a stillborn lawsuit relate to medical errors and mistakes during the pregnancy and at the time of labor and delivery.  Common medical errors include:

  • Not properly diagnosing complications that occur during the pregnancy

  • Not ordering necessary tests when complications are known or should be expected

  • Not referring the expectant mother to a specialist when serious complications become known, like a high-risk OBGYN with expertise and training in such complications

  • Improperly interpreting fetal monitoring strips and other studies that result in either a delay in necessary treatment or no treatment at all

  • Failing to recommend early delivery or a c-section to save the baby

A stillbirth baby lawyer will review all medical records and consult with medical experts to determine if the baby’s death was preventable with proper care, monitoring, and treatment. 

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