A medical malpractice jury is in the midst of hearing and deciding a medical malpractice case in Missouri that began last week and is expected to end sometime this week. The medical malpractice claims arise from the delivery of a stillborn on December 6, 2006 and the death of the mother 31 days later from blood poisoning. The medical malpractice case alleges that the unlicensed midwives who were involved with the labor and delivery were part of a religious-based group that rejects medical treatment but instead relies on faith healing. The pregnant woman and her partner were members of the same religious group.
The woman was in labor for at least four days, which the midwives advised her was not unusual. Allegedly there were clear physical signs ignored by the midwives that the baby was in the breech position during labor. According to the medical malpractice lawsuit, the baby was stillborn and the midwives used dirty household scissors to cut the woman’s vagina during delivery that caused the woman’s blood poisoning and fatal infection. Reportedly, the religious sect spent hours after the woman’s death trying to raise her from the dead.
The medical malpractice claim alleges that relatives and friends of the pregnant woman were kept from visiting her, that the midwives failed to help the woman, and that the woman was not given adequate information for her to make an informed decision regarding the health care that she received.
The medical malpractice wrongful death case was filed in 2009 by the surviving parents of the woman on behalf of their deceased daughter and her stillborn child. The medical malpractice defendants include the midwives, the woman’s surviving partner (they were married in a religious marriage ceremony not recognized by the law), and three religious ministries in Texas and Colorado. One of the midwives settled the claims against her during the medical malpractice trial by agreeing to pay $300,000 while continuing to deny her liability to the medical malpractice plaintiffs.
Sometimes there is friction between one’s religious beliefs and the medical treatments recommended by one’s health care providers that are consistent with the applicable medical standards of care under the circumstances. Many people believe in the rights of patients to choose among medical treatment options and the extent of their medical care, such as terminal patients having the right to decide to change, alter, or terminate the medical care that they are receiving despite the recommendations of their health care providers. However, when the medical decisions of patients affect not only their own health but also the health of others, such as pregnant women making medical decisions that may affect their fetuses’ well-being or parents deciding to cease recommended chemotherapy treatments for their cancer-stricken severely ill minor children, the extent of the right to make such medical decisions becomes murky and may require the input and decision from an appropriate court.
If you or a loved one may have been injured as a result of a negligent medical decision, you should promptly consult with a local medical malpractice attorney regarding your right to seek compensation for the injuries and losses that resulted from the medical negligence.
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