The mother of a baby who died shortly before birth has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the South Carolina maternity center that had been caring for her during her pregnancy, alleging that the maternity center engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices by accepting her as a patient when it was inappropriate to do so because she had a prior history of a premature birth and a miscarriage that would preclude her pregnancy from being considered an uncomplicated pregnancy (the maternity center was an appropriate alternative/option for uncomplicated pregnancies only).
When the woman was seen in the maternity center for her 39-week checkup in March 2013, she complained that she had painful contractions that day. According to the wrongful death lawsuit, the midwife put her hand on the woman’s belly, said that she felt the baby’s heartbeat, and told the woman to relax, take a walk, and eat some food. Later that day, the woman returned to the maternity center and was placed in a birthing room where she experienced painful contractions for an hour. The midwife checked for the fetal heartbeat by placing her hand on the woman’s belly once again but was unable to detect the baby’s heartbeat. The woman and her husband were then sent to the hospital but by then the baby could not be saved. The woman delivered her stillborn baby after 24 hours of labor.
The wrongful death lawsuit filed against the maternity center and one of its midwives claims that the mother should have been timely transferred to the hospital for more appropriate care.
The maternity center and two of its midwives reportedly had their licenses suspended by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control in September 2013 because they failed to consult with a physician during a difficult childbirth, as required by law. As a result, the baby in that case had no heartbeat when the baby arrived at the hospital and the baby died after being delivered by Cesarean section. The suspension of the maternity center’s license has since been lifted and it is one of five maternity centers that operate in South Carolina.
Maternity centers (birthing centers) are a reasonable alternative for health care during pregnancy and for delivery of the baby instead of (or in conjunction with) care rendered by an obstetrician or the traditional hospital setting for giving birth, where the pregnancy is uncomplicated, the mother and baby are healthy, and assistance from qualified medical personnel and an appropriate hospital are readily available if complications or unanticipated situations arise at any time. The failure to arrange and provide for appropriate care under such circumstances, or to consult with and transfer care to specialists, may result in an otherwise avoidable bad outcome for the mother and/or baby.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) due to care received at a birthing center (maternity center) in the United States, you should promptly consult with a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your possible medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a birth injury case, if appropriate.
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