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Medical negligence cited in stillbirth lawsuit

A North Carolina woman recently filed a stillbirth lawsuit against several health care providers citing negligence during childbirth. The suit was filed in the Davidson County Superior Court and targets Wake Forest Baptist Health at Lexington Medical Center, Piedmont Women's Healthcare and specific staff members employed at those institutions.

The lawsuit comes after the plaintiff's child was stillborn. The suit indicates that the woman was induced at just over 40 weeks gestation after a pregnancy fraught with challenges. Those challenges included gestational diabetes and complicated pregnancies in the past. After her induction, the woman claims, monitors indicated the baby was in fetal distress. However, the woman says hospital staff neglected to take action to address the unborn child's needs.

The baby girl was born unresponsive and never took an after birth breath. She was pronounced dead an hour after her birth, and an autopsy performed later showed that the baby died from a lack of oxygen, or asphyxia. The mother believes that if hospital personnel had addressed the signs of fetal distress, the baby could have been birthed sooner, giving her a better chance of survival. She could have been delivered via Caesarian section, for example.

Birth injuries are rare but tragic for families and for hospital staff. In this case, the mother is suing for compensation for her daughter's death, citing emotional distress. This is a common filing when medical injuries and/or death are factors in a case, and a staff is alleged to be negligent. Wrongful death is a difficult issue, and the challenge can fall to the court to determine a financial penalty for something that is difficult to quantify. But families may choose to take this route when they feel their loved one suffered unnecessarily.

Source: Medstak, "Stillbirth Lawsuit Alleges Medical Negligence Led to Baby’s Death", Sarah Klein, December 12, 2013

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