Wrongful Death of a Mother During Childbirth
The death of a loved one is always painful, but when a previously healthy mother dies unexpectedly during childbirth, the grief can be even more overwhelming. Even worse is learning that the death could have been prevented if a doctor had provided adequate medical care. A wrongful death is a mistake that can never really be compensated, but if you lost a loved one during childbirth due to a doctor’s negligence, the Illinois Wrongful Death Act may be able to provide some relief.
Pregnancy, labor, and delivery are stressful and often traumatic times for a woman’s body. A trained obstetrician should be keeping a close and professional eye on any indication of trouble during the pregnancy or delivery. Proper monitoring and timely resolution of issues during pregnancy can be the difference between a smooth or catastrophic delivery. Some of the most common threats to a woman’s health and life during childbirth are:
- Placenta Previa – This cause of pre-delivery bleeding is due to the implantation of the placenta near the top of the cervix. It can be diagnosed with a routine ultrasound. If a doctor misses the signs and fails to diagnose placenta previa, massive hemorrhaging and shock could result. Maternal risk factors include delivery via Cesarean section, alcohol consumption during pregnancy, and maternal age under 20 or over 30.
- Placental Abruption – Premature separation of the placenta from the uterus, causing bleeding is known as a placental abruption. This can happen anytime during pregnancy but usually occurs after 30 weeks or during labor.
- Uterine rupture – Commonly associated with previous uterine scarring, an uterine rupture and can occur during labor and delivery. If a medical team improperly uses labor inducing drugs or pushes excessively on the stomach, uterine rupture can result.
Medical providers must also be aware of any other gynecological or health problems affecting a woman’s pregnancy and delivery. Ignoring a non-pregnancy related risk factor, such as polyps or cervical cancer, could be dangerous.
Additionally, labor and delivery teams must closely monitor a woman shortly after childbirth for any signs of excessive bleeding. Including blood loss after a c-section or from tearing.
Pregnant women are also at risk for other complications as their bodies and organs try to adjust to the demands of gestation. That includes preeclampsia, which is dangerously high blood pressure, blood clots, or cardiac arrest. Doctor’s must constantly evaluate all risk factors, and possible signs and symptoms, in order to administer effective treatment and keep a woman safe.
Although some maternal deaths are unavoidable, others can be prevented by competent care from a medical professional. When a doctor’s mistake or failure leads to the death of a woman during childbirth, her family may be able to seek compensation under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act.
Damages under the Wrongful Death Act may include recovery for loss of economic support, loss of society, or emotional pain and suffering caused by the death.
Pursuing a wrongful death action involves acquiring expert witnesses to testify to the appropriate standard of care, investigating medical records during pregnancy and delivery, and a number of other legal complexities that can only be effectively handled by an experienced professional.
If someone you know has been the victim of wrongful death during childbirth, you or the family may have a medical malpractice claim. It’s best to consult with an experienced Chicago attorney who can evaluate your situation and help you explore your options for recovery. Call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation.