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Common Causes of Wrongful Death During Pregnancy

Published on Jul 19, 2017 at 6:14 pm in Medical Malpractice.

Physicians owe a duty of care to patients to provide safe, responsible medical treatment. If your loved one died during pregnancy, our Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys can investigate the situation and provide compassionate representation. There are many causes of wrongful death during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. These could often be prevented with adequate diagnosis and prompt treatment. Unfortunately, doctors sometimes fail to act, or make hasty, reckless judgments regarding a patient’s care, resulting in wrongful death.

There Are 2 Main Causes of Wrongful Death During Pregnancy:

1. A Physician’s Negligence

If a doctor fails to diagnose and treat a mother’s medical condition before, during, or after pregnancy, this may lead to wrongful death. There are many dangerous diseases and medical conditions that can threaten the life of a mother and child. Physicians must use their training to identify the issue and provide effective treatment to protect the life of the patient. If they do not, they may be held liable in a wrongful death or medical malpractice lawsuit.

What are some common medical conditions that can lead to death if untreated?

Infections. Group B Strep (GBS) is a bacteria found in the vagina and rectum of 1 in 4 health women. While not harmful to the mother, it can result in death to the infant if not identified and treated. Doctors should test for it by swabbing the vagina and rectum at 35 to 37 weeks. If found, an antibiotic administered during delivery can help protect the baby from this deadly bacterial infection.

Another infection that can result in death to the mother or infant is Listeriosis. This infection can cause miscarriages and early delivery, and should be treated with antibiotics to protect the health of the mother and child. A sexually transmitted infection (STI) can also lead to significant harm and death for the infant, as well as put the mother’s health in jeopardy. Many STIs can be treated with antibiotics. Because there may not be symptoms, doctors should use a screening method during pregnancy to detect the infection.

High blood pressure. Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, can lead to serious medical conditions and death during pregnancy and delivery if not treated. It increases the risk for preeclampsia, which can lead to maternal seizures, placental separation, and the HELLP syndrome. This syndrome negatively affects the mother’s liver and should be treated immediately.

Other problems can also stem from high blood pressure. These include placental abruption, where the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus, and gestational diabetes. Hypertension is also linked with preterm delivery and infant death. In order to prevent a serious injury or death during pregnancy, physicians should monitor the blood pressure of the mother and provide adequate treatment with medications and other therapies.

Blood Clots. Deep Vein Thrombosis involves blood clots that form in the body, generally in the thigh or leg. Pulmonary thrombosis involves blood clots that travel to arteries in the lungs, causing chest pain and inhibiting blood flow. It is essential for doctors to diagnose blood clots using a variety of tests, and to provide immediate treatment to protect the life of the mother and child.

2. A Physician’s Reckless Actions

Not only can a doctor’s negligence or failure to act lead to wrongful death, but a doctor’s reckless or carless actions can also cause death for a pregnant mother. One example is the improper use of oxytocin and Pitocin. These drugs are used to induce labor, but an incorrect dosage can cause uterine rupture, which often leads to severe bleeding, hypovolemic shock, and possible even death for the mother and child. Pushing too hard on the stomach during delivery can also cause uterine rupture.

If an ectopic pregnancy (where the egg implants outside of the uterus), breech birth, or other serious condition occurs before, during, or after pregnancy, physicians must act quickly and responsibly to remedy the situation. A doctor who acts recklessly or fails to provide the necessary treatment can be held liable for wrongful death. Protecting the life of the mother and child is of utmost priority, and physicians must provide effective, safe solutions for each patient.

Call Our Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today at (888) 899-0652

At Shrager & Sachs, we provide compassionate legal assistance to clients seeking compensation for the wrongful death of a family member. Our firm believes in holding doctors responsible for their negligent or reckless actions. We can investigate the incident, gather evidence, and represent your case in court as you pursue justice.

Contact our office today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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