Still Birth

Kentucky Stillbirth Lawyers

Legal advocacy after the loss of a child in Lexington and Louisville

Stillbirth is a devastating and tragic event that no expectant parent should ever have to experience. When a stillbirth occurs, families are left with profound grief, loss, and unanswered questions about what went wrong and why. In some cases, stillbirths may be the result of medical negligence or malpractice by healthcare providers responsible for the prenatal care, monitoring, and management of the pregnancy. The compassionate and experienced Kentucky medical malpractice attorneys at Wilt Injury Lawyers are dedicated to helping families understand their rights, seek justice, and hold accountable any healthcare professionals whose negligence may have contributed to the stillbirth of their child.

What is stillbirth?

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

A stillbirth is the death or loss of a baby before or during delivery. Both miscarriage and stillbirth describe pregnancy loss, but they differ according to when the loss occurs. In the United States, a miscarriage is usually defined as loss of a baby before the 20th week of pregnancy, and a stillbirth is loss of a baby at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The CDC notes that stillbirth can be classified as early, late, or term:

  • Early stillbirth involves fetal death occurring between 20 and 27 completed weeks of pregnancy
  • Late stillbirth occurs between 28 and 36 weeks
  • Term stillbirth occurs at or after 37 weeks

They go on to say that “Stillbirth affects about 1 in 175 births, and each year about 21,000 babies are stillborn in the United States.”

Why does stillbirth happen?

Stillbirth can occur for various reasons, including genetic factors, placental abnormalities, maternal health conditions, fetal abnormalities, infections, umbilical cord accidents, and other unknown causes. One of the less common but significant maternal health conditions associated with stillbirth is cholestasis of pregnancy.

Cholestasis of pregnancy is a liver disorder that occurs during pregnancy, leading to a build-up of bile acids in the bloodstream. This condition can disrupt the normal flow of bile, impair liver function, and increase the risk of complications for both the mother and baby, including preterm birth, fetal distress, and stillbirth. The exact cause of cholestasis of pregnancy is not fully understood, but might be related to hormonal changes, genetic factors, liver dysfunction, or bile acid metabolism during pregnancy.

In cases of cholestasis of pregnancy, the elevated levels of bile acids in the mother's bloodstream can cross the placenta and reach the baby, potentially causing fetal distress, oxygen deprivation, and other adverse effects that can lead to stillbirth. Prompt diagnosis, monitoring, and management of cholestasis of pregnancy are crucial to minimizing risks, monitoring fetal well-being, and optimizing outcomes for both the mother and baby.

Other potential causes of stillbirth include:

  • Placental abnormalities: Issues with the placenta, such as placental abruption, placenta previa, or placental insufficiency, can lead to decreased oxygen and nutrient supply to the baby, increasing the risk of stillbirth.
  • Maternal health conditions: Pre-existing maternal health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, preeclampsia, autoimmune diseases, thyroid disorders, and infections, can increase the risk of stillbirth due to their impact on maternal and fetal health, well-being, and pregnancy outcomes.
  • Fetal abnormalities: Genetic abnormalities, birth defects, congenital anomalies, and other fetal conditions can contribute to stillbirth due to their impact on fetal development, growth, viability, and survival.
  • Infections: Maternal infections, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV), listeriosis, toxoplasmosis, syphilis, and other viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections, can lead to stillbirth by affecting placental function, fetal development, and overall pregnancy health and outcomes.
  • Umbilical cord accidents: Umbilical cord abnormalities, compression, or accidents, such as cord prolapse or nuchal cord, can disrupt fetal blood supply, oxygenation, and nutrient delivery, leading to stillbirth.
  • Unknown causes: In many cases, the exact cause of stillbirth remains unknown even with a thorough investigation, evaluation, testing, and assessment of potential contributing factors and risk factors.

Healthcare providers need to conduct comprehensive prenatal care, screenings, assessments, evaluations, monitoring, and management of pregnancy to identify, diagnose, treat, and manage potential risk factors, complications, and health conditions that may contribute to stillbirth.

When is stillbirth medical malpractice?

Stillbirth may be considered medical malpractice when healthcare providers fail to adhere to the accepted standard of care, leading to harm, injury, or the death of the fetus. Medical malpractice occurs when healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, obstetricians, and other medical staff, breach their duty of care, resulting in injury, harm, or adverse outcomes due to negligence, errors, mistakes, omissions, or deviations from the standard of care.

In the context of stillbirth, medical malpractice may occur in the following scenarios:

  • Failure to monitor fetal distress: Healthcare providers fail to monitor, recognize, and respond to signs of fetal distress during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, such as abnormal fetal heart rate patterns, reduced fetal movements, or other indicators of compromised fetal well-being, leading to delays in intervention, diagnosis, and treatment.
  • Mismanagement of high-risk pregnancies: Healthcare providers fail to properly manage, monitor, and treat high-risk pregnancies and maternal health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, preeclampsia, cholestasis of pregnancy, infections, or other medical conditions that increase the risk of stillbirth, leading to complications, adverse outcomes, and the death of the fetus.
  • Failure to diagnose and treat placental abnormalities: Healthcare providers fail to diagnose, monitor, and manage placental abnormalities, such as placental abruption, placenta previa, or placental insufficiency, which can lead to decreased oxygen and nutrient supply to the fetus, increasing the risk of stillbirth.
  • Misinterpretation of diagnostic tests and results: Healthcare providers misinterpret, overlook, or fail to follow up on diagnostic tests, screenings, ultrasounds, or other diagnostic procedures that may indicate fetal abnormalities, complications, or health concerns, leading to delays in diagnosis, treatment, and intervention.
  • Inadequate management of infections: Healthcare providers fail to diagnose, treat, and manage maternal infections, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV), listeriosis, toxoplasmosis, or other infections that can lead to stillbirth by affecting placental function, fetal development, and overall pregnancy health and outcomes.
  • Failure to perform timely emergency cesarean section: Healthcare providers fail to perform a timely emergency cesarean section (C-section) when indicated and necessary to address fetal distress, complications, or other medical emergencies during labor and delivery, leading to delays in intervention, care, and treatment.
  • Negligence and deviations from the standard of care: Healthcare providers commit errors, make mistakes, or engage in negligent practices, such as medication errors, improper use of medical devices, equipment failures, inadequate monitoring, communication breakdowns, lack of coordination, teamwork, or collaboration among healthcare teams, or other deviations from the accepted standard of care that result in harm, injury, or the death of the fetus.

If a stillbirth is determined to be the result of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to pursue legal action, compensation, and remedies through a medical malpractice lawsuit.

How can your Kentucky medical malpractice lawyers help me after a stillbirth?

Experiencing a stillbirth is a heartbreaking and devastating event that no family should ever have to endure. If you believe that medical negligence or malpractice may have contributed to the stillbirth of your child, the dedicated team of Kentucky medical malpractice attorneys at Wilt Injury Lawyers is here to provide you with compassionate support, expert legal guidance, and aggressive representation to seek justice and accountability for your loss.

Our experienced Kentucky medical malpractice attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding your stillbirth to determine if medical malpractice played a role. We will meticulously review medical records, consult with leading medical experts, and evaluate the actions and decisions of healthcare providers involved in your prenatal care, monitoring, and management to identify any breaches of the standard of care that may have led to the tragic loss of your baby.

With our knowledge, expertise, and commitment to excellence in medical malpractice law, we will vigorously advocate for your rights and interests throughout the legal process. We will help you navigate the complexities of the legal system, explain your rights, options, and legal remedies available, and guide you through every step of filing, pursuing, and resolving a medical malpractice lawsuit. Our goal is to hold negligent healthcare providers accountable and pursue the maximum compensation and financial recovery available for your pain, suffering, damages, and loss. Our compassionate team is dedicated to providing you with personalized attention, support, and representation to help you cope with your grief, find answers to your questions, and achieve justice in the aftermath of a stillbirth caused by medical malpractice.

A note about lawsuits

In Kentucky, like the majority of jurisdictions, the wrongful death of an unborn child is actionable only if the death of the child occurred after the point of viability. Viability is generally thought to be 24 weeks. However, a plaintiff must prove viability to be successful with their claim. This is generally done through expert testimony. KRS 411.130 establishes a claim for wrongful death. However, the issue as to whether the wrongful death of an unborn child is actionable under KRS 411.130 has been established through the courts. Mitchell v. Couch 285 S.W.2d 901 (1955) established the wrongful death of a viable infant in utero as an actionable claim under KRS 411.130.

Do you have a Kentucky stillbirth lawyer near me?

Wilt Injury Lawyers has offices in Louisville and Lexington:

Louisville Office

Louisville Kentucky Map

13113 Eastpoint Park Blvd. Suite A
Louisville, KY 40223
Phone: 502-253-9110

Lexington Office

Lexington Kentucky Map

196 W. Lowry Lane, Suite 1
Lexington, KY 40503
Phone: 502-461-1481

If you are too injured or ill to travel to us, we can arrange a phone or video conference. We also make hospital visits when necessary.

Talk to our compassionate Kentucky stillbirth attorneys today for help

If you've experienced the devastating loss of a stillbirth and suspect medical negligence played a role, don't face this challenging journey alone. Our compassionate team of Kentucky stillbirth attorneys is here to provide you with the expert legal guidance, support, and advocacy you need during this difficult time. We are committed to investigating the circumstances surrounding your stillbirth, identifying any breaches of the standard of care, and fighting tirelessly to hold negligent healthcare providers accountable for their actions. Let us help you seek justice, find answers, and pursue the compensation and closure you deserve for your unimaginable loss. You don't have to navigate this complex process on your own—call us now to protect your rights and pursue the justice and accountability you and your family deserve. Call our offices or fill out our contact form today to schedule a consultation. We have offices in Louisville and Lexington.