A miscarriage can be a traumatic experience for an expectant mother. While some women lose their children early on before they know they are pregnant, there are also cases where women miscarry later in their pregnancies. A miscarriage can occur for fundamental reasons that no one can control. When a failure occurs because of negligence or malpractice, the patient may have a legal right to sue.
Symptoms of a Miscarriage
More than 10 percent of all pregnancies will end in a miscarriage, and some experts believe that the figure can reach as high as 25 percent. The failure usually occurs within the first 20 weeks of the pregnancy. As some happen so early on, some women don’t realize that they were pregnant. Heavy bleeding is one of the more common symptoms that indicate a miscarriage, but some women experience light spotting and moderate bleeding. Other symptoms may include stomach cramps, pain in the lower back, a little to moderate fever and some nausea.
Any genetic anomaly can cause a miscarriage. Some women find that their bodies produce a higher level of hormones that keep the pregnancy from coming to fruition, and others have problems with their reproductive health that prevent them from bringing a pregnancy to term. Women with undiagnosed diabetes are also at risk of suffering from a miscarriage. Diabetics have a hard time controlling the way the body absorbs and expel sugar, and diabetic women may find that their bodies work harder to break down the sugars, which keeps them from supporting a pregnancy. Drug addiction, alcohol addiction, weakened immune systems and exposure to low levels of radiation can also cause a miscarriage.
The New York Court of Appeals set a new precedent in 2004 when it determined that a woman could sue her doctor or medical provider in a medical malpractice suit after a miscarriage. These cases must show that a woman suffered some form of emotional distress and that she did not have the support of her doctor. Other states adopted similar regulations that give formerly pregnant women the right to sue their providers.
Filing Against a Hospital
A 2010 case in Maine ended with a female receiving a large cash settlement after suffering a miscarriage. The patient sued Eastern Maine Medical Center and won $200,000. The woman claimed that the hospital did not adequately prepare her for learning that she lost her child and that the hospital immediately sent her home without explaining to her what she needed to do next. Suing a hospital or a medical facility is only possible if a woman and her lawyer can prove that the hospital was somehow negligent or responsible for her miscarriage. A patient might show that a hospital did not inform her that she was pregnant during a past visit, which led to her losing her baby.
Filing Against a Doctor
Most of the miscarriage medical malpractice cases filed in the United States are against doctors specializing in the treatment of pregnant women. Doctors should talk with pregnant patients, inform them about lifestyle changes they need to make and continue meeting with those patients to track their progress. Negligence is a type of medical malpractice that involves a doctor neglecting or ignoring a pregnant patient. Women and their lawyers can work together to show that the negligence of that doctor is the primary cause behind the miscarriage. Lawyers will also show that their clients suffered emotional distress after losing a child.