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When a Wrongful Death of a Mother Occurs During Childbirth

When a Wrongful Death of a Mother Occurs During Childbirth

The birth of a child is a happy event for many families. However, those joyous moments can quickly turn devastating when the mother loses her life.

While complications can sometimes occur during the birthing process, it is up to the attending physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers to monitor the mother’s health. If they have made a mistake or neglected their duties, it could lead to a wrongful death lawsuit.

Unfortunately, at Shrager Sachs & Blanco, we have handled too many cases of a mother losing their life due to the negligence of hospital staff and doctors. These situations are never easy for the surviving family members.

In this blog post, we’ll look at what happens when a wrongful death of a mother occurs during childbirth.

Instances Where a Mom Dies While Giving Birth to Their Baby

When someone’s negligence or intentional actions lead to the loss of life, that is known as a wrongful death. Unfortunately, this type of death can occur in car accidents, workplace accidents, medical malpractice, and even during childbirth.

There’s no other way to describe a situation where a mother dies while giving birth. It’s tragic.

The medical team, which is trusted to keep the mother and baby healthy during the birth, has failed in their duties. In some cases, healthcare providers may be held liable for this type of death if it can be proven that their actions or lack of action directly led to the death of the mother or child.

Causes of Maternal Deaths During Birth

According to the World Health Organization, a maternal death occurred almost every two minutes in 2020. Medical professionals are expected to provide the best possible care to expectant mothers. Unfortunately, these healthcare providers can fail to identify and address complications during delivery.

In these situations, the surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim due to medical malpractice. All medical practitioners owe a duty of care to their patients, and when they fail to do so, it can be considered negligent. Some common examples of medical malpractice can result in maternal deaths, such as:

  • Misdiagnosis: Doctors need to notice any signs of distress in the mother. If they misdiagnose a serious health condition, like pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, that can lead to complications and a potentially deadly situation.
  • Medication errors: Incorrect prescription or administration of medicines can have fatal consequences. All healthcare providers must ensure the medication prescribed is appropriate for the patient’s condition and that the dosage is correct.
  • Surgical or delivery errors: Often, the baby is unable to be delivered without a Cesarean section or other procedure. The hospital staff may incorrectly use forceps or vacuum extractors or delay the C-section process.
  • Inadequate management of postpartum hemorrhage: After childbirth, some mothers may experience excessive bleeding. If the healthcare providers don’t take action to monitor the mother or stop the bleeding, it can result in her death.

When a maternal death occurs due to medical malpractice, surviving family members, including the baby, may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. These claims can seek damages for a variety of losses, including:

  • The loss of economic support
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship

Along with that, these claims can financially provide for families who have substantial medical bills and expenses. Plus, if the family is successful in their case, they can be awarded damages to pay for the mother’s funeral expenses and burial costs.

Death claims can provide some measure of justice for the victim’s family while holding medical professionals accountable for their actions.

Liability Scenarios and Legal Considerations

When a medical mistake occurs, hospital staff members and other healthcare providers may be liable for their actions.

Doctors, nurses, and other staff can be held responsible for their role in the mother’s wrongful death. Even the hospital or clinic may be negligent if their employees, equipment, or providing medical care caused a fatality.

According to Pennsylvania law, a representative of the deceased’s estate has a period of two years to file a wrongful death claim. However, sometimes the discovery rule can factor into these cases.

If the causes of death are not immediately known, then the two-year time frame may begin from the date when the injury was discovered or should have been discovered through reasonable diligence.

In cases of wrongful death during childbirth due to medical negligence, families will want to seek legal help to hold the responsible parties accountable. Pursuing legal action and seeking justice can help prevent similar incidents from happening in the future and provide closure for the family.

At Shrager Sachs & Blanco, we know the pain and heartbreak of losing a loved one.

When medical professionals and hospitals fail to live up to industry standards and cause death, it can be even more tragic. Today, no mother should pass away during the birth process, especially due to the fault of the medical providers.

If your family has been tragically affected by a mother’s death during delivery, you may have options to file a civil lawsuit. Contact our firm to discuss what happened and what rights our state’s laws afford you.

Meeting with our attorneys to explore your rights doesn’t cost you anything.


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