Pregnancy Loss and Medical Malpractice
Did you know that October is Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month? It’s not a happy topic, especially for people who have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or other complications. But breaking the silence around this devastating topic can be important, including when it comes to informing women about how their medical care can affect their pregnancy.
Types of Pregnancy and Infant Loss
Pregnancy and infant loss is more common than you might think, according to March of Dimes. In fact, about 10 to 15% of all pregnancies end with a miscarriage. This occurs when the fetus dies before the 20th week of pregnancy. Similarly, about 1 in every 100 pregnancies results in stillbirth, or the loss of a baby before or during delivery. The loss of a baby can also occur after birth. This often occurs through a condition called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. SIDS refers to the sudden, unexplained death of a baby less than a year old.
Whatever the cause, the loss of a pregnancy or young child can have a massive toll. While there are many factors that potentially play into the risk, it is sometimes also possible that a medical professional’s negligent actions caused the loss.
The Role of Negligence
Of course, most medical professionals uphold the standard of care. However, harm can still occur through mistakes or negligence, including:
- Misdiagnosis of miscarriage symptoms or other complications
- Failure to diagnose conditions like an ectopic pregnancy or thyroid conditions that could increase the risk of miscarriage
- Failing to diagnose a pregnancy
- Improper use of equipment during birth
- Excessive force or other improper procedures during birth
- Accidental termination of a healthy pregnancy
- Inadequate information
For example, if a doctor fails to diagnose a pregnant patient, the patient could later have a miscarriage. When a woman experiences a pregnancy loss as a result of her doctor’s action, it is usually due to a simple error rather than a malicious act—but it can still have major consequences.
A Difficult Case
Unfortunately, like with all other types of medical malpractice, it can be very difficult to show that a doctor’s action caused a miscarriage, stillbirth, or other fatal complication. This is because there are many factor that may play into a pregnancy or infant loss, and it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly one cause. For someone to have a medical malpractice case, they must be able to prove that a breach of the standard of care caused their harm. This can be very hard to show in cases concerning pregnancy loss.
During Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month—and throughout the entire year—it is important to have conversations about these difficult topics, including how malpractice can affect a woman and her child.
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.