While a baby’s death before or during the birthing process is often an unfortunate, unpreventable tragedy, in some cases, it may be the result of a medical provider’s mistake. Your eligibility to file a claim against a doctor or hospital depends on several factors. If you recently lost your child to what you believe to be an avoidable medical error, contact a fetal death attorney in New York at Buttafuoco & Associates for a free consultation: 1-800-NOW-HURT.
What causes fetal death?
Fetal death may occur as:
- A spontaneous abortion or miscarriage: before 20 weeks of gestation
- A stillbirth: after 20 weeks of gestation
- A perinatal death: before 28 days of life
Miscarriages, stillbirths, and perinatal deaths have both common and distinct risk factors. Some natural risk factors for deaths in utero include:
- Maternal obesity
- Multiple fetuses
- Mother over age of 35
- Certain infections
- Placental abnormality
- Maternal blood pressure condition or diabetes
- Prior pregnancy complications
- Use of drugs, cigarettes, or alcohol
- Previous miscarriage or stillbirth
While it is not always possible to prevent these risk factors, in some cases, a doctor can monitor and treat a risk factor to reduce the risk of harm to the fetus.
Errors by the medical provider can also cause fetal death before birth. These errors may include:
- Failure to correct umbilical cord restriction
- Failure to identify fetal positioning complications
- Failure to perform a timely C-section
- Failure to identify risks due to previous pregnancy history
- Failure to identify risks due to maternal health concerns
If your doctor made a preventable error or failed to detect, monitor, or treat any preventable risk factors, you may have a viable malpractice claim. A New York fetal death attorney from Buttafuoco & Associates can help you determine if you have a case.
Proving Medical Negligence as the Cause of Fetal Death
To prove negligence, you must establish that your doctor deviated from the accepted standard of care during your pregnancy or labor. For example, if your pregnancy meets the standards for performing a C-section out of an abundance of caution and your doctor fails to do so, that can be a deviation from the accepted standard of care.
A deviation from the standard of care is not enough to prove medical negligence. You must prove this deviation, also known as a breach of the standard of care, directly caused your fetus’ death. Providing this proof is difficult without the expert opinion of another doctor.
Medical experts are critical witnesses in fetal death cases. For your case to be an act of medical negligence, a medical expert must be able to identify where your doctor failed in the accepted standard of care and how that failure caused the fetal death. The expert must also be able to testify that if your doctor followed the standard of care, the fetus would have survived.
Collecting Damages after a Fetal Death
The State of New York, in Endresz v. Friedberg, held that it does not recognize fetal death as a cause for a wrongful death action. Therefore, parents who suffer a miscarriage, stillbirth, or perinatal death must file a medical negligence claim to seek compensation for their damages.
The most significant costs in any fetal death case are likely the emotional ones. The loss of a child at any age is a difficult situation for a parent, and especially so when the child is yet to be born. Damages in these cases may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Emotional damages
Proving cases of birth injury or death due to medication errors is difficult without the right resources. By working with a New York birth injury attorney at Buttafuoco & Associates, you can rest assured our team will handle your case with the utmost care and respect. Call 1-800-NOW-HURT or fill out our online contact form for a free case review.