When A Baby Dies During Childbirth

When A Baby Dies During Childbirth

The day has finally arrived. A woman is in the hospital with her obstetrician ready to deliver her first child, a healthy baby. But then something goes terribly wrong, and the baby does not survive. After delivering the devastating news, the hospital does not let the mother hold her baby and urges cremation. It is not until days later the parents learn the awful truth through an independent autopsy.

Sadly, a CDC study of pregnancy-related deaths revealed that fully 80% were determined to be preventable. Moreover, like this young couple from the suburbs of Atlanta, 82% of these deaths were from families living in urban counties. And, as a child of black parents, their child was part of a group with over twice the infant mortality rate than that of a white child. Ultimately, it was the funeral home and not the hospital or physician that notified the medical examiner of the heartbreaking circumstances surrounding this baby’s death.

We are perhaps never at our most vulnerable as we are in the wake of the death of a loved one, especially when that life is just beginning and so eagerly anticipated by parents ready to invest a lifetime of love and care. At such times, there can be tremendous pressure to make quick decisions that may not be in our best interests, just as it appears is what happened in this situation.

Remember that, above all, you deserve answers and clarity about the circumstances surrounding a death. Overall, according to one study, fully 10% of all U.S. deaths could be attributed to medical error, which would make it the third leading cause of death in the United States.

If you have questions about the care and treatment of your loved one, those answers may be found by having an autopsy performed. This is what this couple did, paying a pathologist to perform the autopsy when the hospital denied their request. Bear in mind that an autopsy should be performed as soon as possible after an untimely death to yield the best information. We covered some of the basics about requesting an autopsy in a previous post.

If this couple had listened to the hospital in the wake of their baby’s death, an autopsy would not have been performed, and no one outside the attending physicians and hospital administration would have known the truth. Based on those autopsy results, the parents have now retained an attorney to hold the hospital and physicians accountable for the tragic way their child was killed during delivery. Let’s be clear. There is no “winning” in this situation, but bringing the truth of their child’s death out and seeking accountability may help in ensuring this will not happen to another family.

Losing a child during childbirth is one of the most traumatic and heartbreaking events that could happen. At times like this, it is important to remember that you are not alone, and you may have options as you seek answers. Talking to a compassionate attorney experienced in medical malpractice could be an important first step.

Are you a parent or guardian whose child has suffered a serious injury at birth? Get Support Here.

About The Author

A seasoned trial attorney, Attorney Wickenheiser has advocated for victims and their families injured because of medical malpractice, nursing home death, pharmaceutical liability, and product liability. She focuses her practice on representing those who have suffered catastrophic injury and has successfully negotiated numerous settlements, many over a million dollars. She has received many prestigious awards and recognitions. Attorney Wickenheiser is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts.