Medical malpractice can be a serious issue that involves very unfortunate circumstances and strong feelings. One such case, analyzed below, examines the parameters of such a matter and how they are handled. Because of the sensitive nature of this case, names will not be used and, instead, the individuals involved will be referred to as doctor, plaintiff, etc. The issue in the case is whether the plaintiff, without presentation of any expert testimony, should be able to sustain her case of proving at trial that the defendant’s (doctor’s) conduct constituted a breach in the appropriate standard of care and this breach resulted in the wrongful death of the unborn child.
The unfortunate plaintiff in this case came to see defendant doctor complaining of cramps and missing menstrual cycle; she was 28.4 weeks pregnant at the time. The doctor, determining that she needed a higher level of neonatal care due to complications during labor, transferred the patient to Rapides Women’s and Children’s Hospital “RWCH” (Parish of Rapides). The doctor’s order showed that the pregnant woman was suffering from placental tear and an obstetrician-gynecologist at RWCH accepted this transfer. Upon the plaintiff’s arrival, fetal heart rates were no longer detectable; after a C section, doctor delivered a still-born fetus.
The plaintiff claims that it was primarily due to the doctor’s negligence in failing to meet the applicable standard of care during the medical procedure that the fetus was still-born. The defendant doctor, on the other hand, argues that his actions did not fall below the appropriate standard of care.
The question that remains is what comprises an “applicable standard of care?” The plaintiff argues that doctor waited too long in performing a C-section and this delay was the reason for the death of the fetus. The plaintiff maintained that the doctor’s failure to respond in a timely manner to her emergency constituted negligence on his part, and he is, therefore, liable for the death of the fetus. As one can imagine, this is a very tragic situation for the plaintiff and could potentially minimize her trust in the medical profession as a whole.
The “applicable standard of care” could be violated in numerous ways, in anything from amputating the wrong arm to a less extreme case of waiting an extra minute to begin a procedure. In this case, the plaintiff had the burden of proving that the doctor did not exercise proper care during the procedure, a tough situation for someone who has just lost an unborn child. In such instances it is essential to have the best team of experts to help the meet the burden of proof. While in this case, the court found that the fetus was dead on arrival and granted summary judgment for the defendant, it is not uncommon for a doctor to fail to order a C-section or another procedure at the correct time. A deceased chance of survival could be a matter of minutes, and this is why you need the best help you can find, both at trial and from your legal representative.
If you feel that there was has been a breach of a standard or lack of due care which resulted in any harm to you or your loved one, contact the Berniard Law Firm with any questions or concerns.
Some issues of medical malpractice are beyond the means of anyone to fully comprehend, and such intricate matters require the best expert help one can find. Call the Berniard Law Firm at Toll-Free 1-866-574-8005 and an attorney specializing in this matter will be happy to help you or to refer you to someone who can.