Comfort and Counsel for Parents Who Have Suffered the Ultimate Loss
West Virginia attorneys assist families in complex stillbirth and wrongful death cases
Just as pregnancies fill most families with hope and excitement, so the loss of a child or its mother during pregnancy or immediately afterward is a nearly incomprehensible tragedy for them. Families suffering such catastrophic loss need both empathy and answers. What went wrong? How did it happen? What can be done about it?
Paulson & Nace, PLLC, a family-owned firm of West Virginia birth trauma attorneys, understands the pain families feel in these circumstances. We have advocated for families throughout West Virginia for more than forty years. If poor or incompetent medical care resulted in the wrongful death or stillbirth of your child, we can advocate on your behalf as well. Let our family help yours in this time of need.
Why do stillbirths occur?
If a baby dies before the 20th week of pregnancy it is considered a miscarriage; but if a baby dies and is delivered after the 20th week it is considered a stillbirth. Stillbirths may be preventable with early diagnosis of potential risk and with competent medical care both during pregnancy and delivery, and after childbirth. Not every loss is due to negligence on the part of a doctor or hospital, but many are. To better understand this we need to look at the most common causes of stillbirth:
- Placental abruption. Separation of the placenta from the uterine lining interrupts the fetal oxygen supply. While this condition usually occurs in the third trimester, it can occur any time after the 20th week of pregnancy. Most placental abruptions can be successfully treated depending on what type of separation occurs. However, because it occurs in only about 1% of pregnancies, it may be diagnosed and treated too late to save the baby.
- Preeclampsia. This pregnancy-induced hypertension is progressive, and can double the risk of abruption or stillbirth. The only definitive cure for preeclampsia is delivery of the fetus, but this must be balanced against the newborn’s ability to survive outside the womb. Errors in judgment may lead to the death of the baby, the mother, or both.
- Infections: Bacterial infections between 24 and 27 weeks gestation can cause fetal deaths. These infections usually go unnoticed by the mother and may not be diagnosed until they cause serious complications. In particular, Group B strep can have a devastating effect on the fetus.
Medically negligent causes of stillbirth also include:
- Improper monitoring of the baby during the pregnancy.
- Undiagnosed fetal distress caused by umbilical cord strangulation.
- Failure to notify a mother that she is “high-risk,” of a stillbirth because of age or lifestyle (e.g., over age 35, smoking, drug abuse, or excessive consumption of alcohol), and to give proper medical advice about avoiding it.
- Failure to diagnose congenital defects.
- Negligence in the labor and delivery rooms.
- Negligent postpartum care, such as failure to diagnose and treat excess bilirubin levels.
As a family, the birth trauma attorneys at Paulson & Nace know that your grief is deeply personal. While nothing can make up for your loss, we make every effort to eliminate some of the stress related to medical bills, funeral and burial costs, and the expenses of everyday living.
Compassion for West Virginia families after the wrongful death of a child
Paulson & Nace is widely recognized throughout West Virginia for our compassionate care and comprehensive legal services to grieving families, as well as our aggressive advocacy for birth injury victims. When you choose a birth trauma lawyer from our practice to represent you, you are choosing a team that values family. Please call 304-741-8079 or fill out our contact form to tell us your story in a no-obligation consultation. Our office is located at 3501 Maccorkle Ave SE, Charleston, WV 25304.
We have dedicated our lives to helping medical malpractice victims. Let our family help yours.