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Obstetrical malpractice claim filed by mother of stillborn child

Most Oregon mothers would agree that being pregnant is one of the most exciting and frightening experiences a woman will ever go through. Expectant mothers are at risk for a number of complications during pregnancy, and they rely on their obstetricians to take care of them and their unborn children. When a doctor betrays the trust of an expectant mother, it may constitute obstetrical malpractice.

On Aug. 13, 2013, a pregnant woman from another state went to see her obstetrician. At that time, her blood pressure was elevated. She complained of swelling in her lower extremities, along with a severe headache. Four days later, she was rushed to the emergency room, where she was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia. Tragically, her baby was stillborn two days later.

The Illinois woman alleges that her obstetrician should have recognized that she was exhibiting signs of preeclampsia at her appointment on Aug. 13. A 24-hour urine test was not ordered. The woman also claims that she should have been admitted so that her unborn child could be monitored. She alleges that her obstetrician's failure to timely diagnose her condition led to the death of her baby girl.

A civil court will have to determine whether the woman's doctor committed obstetrical malpractice. If the evidence shows that the woman's care was below the accepted medical standard, she may be awarded damages similar to those that would be awarded here in Oregon under similar circumstances. Nothing will replace the child the woman lost, but a successfully litigated claim could save another mother from experiencing the same heartbreak.

Source:, "Mother alleges negligence vs doctor over stillbirth", Angus West, Aug. 20, 2015

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