Birth Complications That Cause A Mother’s Death


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During a pregnancy, doctors have two patients, the mother, and the baby. Doctors and medical staff should monitor both patients carefully throughout the pregnancy, labor, and delivery to ensure the health of both individuals. The mother’s body is extremely vulnerable during these times, and if she is not properly monitored, it can lead to serious complications and even death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that maternal mortality has increased in the last three decades. In the 1980s, about 7.2 maternal deaths occurred out of 100,000 births. In recent years, that number increased to 16.9 deaths of mothers out of 100,000 births. While the exact reasons for this increase in mortality aren’t clear, carelessness and negligence may be factors.

What Are The Most Common Reasons For Maternal Death?

Every birth injury case is unique. However, some common factors may result in a mother’s death. During the pregnancy, doctors should be monitoring the mother’s and baby’s conditions, looking for any warning signs that labor or delivery may be complicated. Conditions in the mother, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or obesity before pregnancy can negatively affect the pregnancy and childbirth. The doctor is responsible for being aware of pre-existing conditions and to manage them accordingly.

Besides pre-existing conditions, other common conditions may lead to maternal death, including:

  • Preeclampsia Preeclampsia is a condition in which the mother has extremely high blood pressure. Untreated, this condition can lead to placental abruption, seizures, and HELLP syndrome (a disorder of the liver and blood associated with preeclampsia). This can result in long-term injuries and death.
  • Cardiac Arrest – Cardiac arrest can occur during labor due to the change in blood flow and pressure. When high blood pressure isn’t monitored and regulated, it can lead to cardiac arrest, which can be fatal.
  • Antepartum Hemorrhage – Antepartum hemorrhage is bleeding that happens before the baby is born. If undiagnosed or untreated, it can cause placenta previa, placental abruption, and uterine rupture.
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage – Postpartum hemorrhage is bleeding after childbirth. It is typically caused by lacerations sustained during childbirth. If untreated, the mother can lose too much blood, and it can be fatal.
  • Post-delivery Infections – Women are susceptible to infections following childbirth due to the high stress, and potentially invasive procedures that are done during delivery. Doctors and other medical staff must be extremely careful when delivering a baby, using sterilized medical instruments, and properly cleaning themselves to prevent post-delivery infections.

If any of the above conditions are not treated promptly and appropriately, it can cause the death of the new mother. This is a devastating outcome for families who will suffer the long-lasting emotional pain of the loss of their loved one.

You Need Legal Representation In Maternal Death Cases

When a mother experiences catastrophic injuries or death during pregnancy, delivery, or following childbirth, it may be due to the negligence of doctors, nurses, or other medical professionals. When a woman dies in these situations, her family can file a medical malpractice claim against the responsible parties. They may be able to sue for compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the death.

At Ross Feller Casey, we take these and other birth injury cases very seriously, especially when they involve wrongful death. Every mother and child deserves the highest-quality care. When a medical professional fails to focus on a mother’s condition properly or doesn’t address any adverse medical conditions swiftly and thoroughly, they should be held accountable. Our maternal death attorneys have extensive experience in legally representing the families of victims, ensuring that their right to compensation is protected.

If your loved one died during childbirth, you might be entitled to compensation. While that will not make up for your loss, it will ease the financial burden you may have due to the death of your family member. Contact one of our maternal death lawyers to schedule your free case evaluation. We will help you and your family determine how to best proceed with your case.

All of our birth injury cases are handled on a contingency basis. That means that you will not be charged for our services until we receive a financial recovery for your claim.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.