My wife had her second stillbirth late last year. The first was about a year before that. Our child was 37 weeks gestated. She started going into preterm labor and went to the hospital where she was sent home within 30 minutes and told to return when she was further dilated. Two days later, she didn't feel the baby move for a few hours so she returned and found that the baby had passed away. Upon delivery, the doctor found that the umbilical cord was underdeveloped. We are in California.
I am very sorry to hear this - my condolences to your and your wife. Theoretically the answer is yes, your wife has a claim, and you might as well, although the claim would not be one for wrongful death per se. The big question is whether a medical expert would agree that medical negligence contributed to this horrible outcome. You can only get that answer by consulting with an attorney who will, in turn, consult with experts. Do not delay as you have only one year to make a claim.
You should get with a local med mal lawyer for a free consult asap. If this was a county facility, there are claim forms that must be served within 6 mos of the alleged malpractice. Experts will need to review the records to determine if you have a shot.
You need to call an experienced malpractice attorney who will have to have the records reviewed by an expert witness to establish a case.
I am sorry for your loss. Medical malpractice / medical negligence cases are challenging case. Nevertheless everyday people are victims of medical negligence.
The fact that you wife had a prior stillbirth would indicate that she was at higher risk for a problematic pregnancy. What was the cause of the prior stillbirth?
Whether your wife was properly medically attended to is a more difficult question. It is somewhat unusual to go 37 weeks without a problem and then learn that the umbilical cord was "underdeveloped." One would expect there to have been a developmental problem revealed sooner, i.e. growth of the baby.
The average length of human gestation is 280 days, or 40 weeks, babies are viable at 37 weeks. In fact many have considered gestation to weeks 37 to 38 as more or less equivalent; babies born before 37 weeks are classified as pre-term. It is true that mortality at 37 weeks is greater than 40 weeks but nevertheless 37 weeks are considered "full term."
Did they take a fetal monitoring when she went to the hospital? Was the monitoring normal? Was an ultrasound done? Did she see her ob/gyn.
I would recommend that you consult with a personal injury attorney / medical malpractice attorney. Keep in mind that if care was through a governmental facility, such as Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, there is a 6 month government claims statute that must be complied with.
You should consult with a personal injury attorney / medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. I am only licensed in the State of California and I am not providing you with specific legal advice. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Being general in nature, the information provided may not apply to any specific factual and/or legal set of circumstances and/or the jurisdiction where you reside. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. The information provided is of a general nature is not intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Your question, although you may believe is simple, it is not simple. You require legal advice, please consult with a competent attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.
Very, very sorry to hear about this. Mr. Katz has crushed this question, and you should call him.
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