Oregon’s expecting parents envision leaving the hospital with their new family member with joy and trepidation. At this point, the worst thing they may be thinking could happen is that they feel totally unprepared for parenthood. Sadly, depending on the circumstances, they could instead be facing the most tragic type of birth injury — a stillbirth.
After carrying a child for a minimum of 20 weeks, most parents believe they are out of the woods and will make it to full term in order to bring their baby home. However, that may not be the case. In approximately one out of every 160 pregnancies, the child dies while still in utero. The first indication that an expecting mother may have is that she can no longer feel the baby move. If her fears are confirmed when doctors cannot find a heartbeat, she must deliver her deceased child, which only adds to the trauma of the situation.
Any number of factors can lead to a stillbirth, such as high blood pressure, umbilical cord issues, infections and more. A preventable death could occur if doctors fail to appropriately care for and monitor the mother during her pregnancy. Even though life may eventually return to normal, the repercussions to the family could last for some time. Even after the mother’s physical wounds heal, the psychological trauma could affect her for months or years.
What many Oregon parents who find themselves in this situation probably need most is compassion and caring. Losing a child at any stage of his or her life is tragic, but when a life ends before it even has a chance to begin, the situation is usually intolerable and excruciating for the parents. One way to seek some justice in the aftermath of a stillbirth could be to file a civil lawsuit against the party or parties who failed to provide mother and baby with the standard of care they deserved.