When most hear stories about surgical errors being committed in Kew Gardens, they may likely assume that the victims of these errors were patients who were actively seeking care. Yet what if one’s alleged surgical error led to the death of an unborn fetus? Depending upon the legal view of a fetus in the state where the incident that may have ended its life occurred, liability may indeed be assigned if a provider’s actions were determined to be what terminated the pregnancy.
Alabama is one such state that views a fetus as living from the moment of conception. That standard is currently being looked to in order to support the claim of a local woman who believes her on-call doctor’s actions caused her to miscarry. The woman, who has suffered from a history of difficult pregnancies, had been assigned to the care of the doctor in question only after she couldn’t get a hold of here regular physician. The doctor who ended up seeing her ultimately chose to do a dilation and curettage and to administer a powerful medication out of fear that she was suffering an ectopic pregnancy. After seeing her regular doctor several days later, the woman learned that the medication she had given as well as the services she received were unnecessary. After she subsequently miscarried, the woman filed a lawsuit looking to hold the on-call doctor accountable.
Cases such as this may not always hinge on whether the law views a fetus as a living person, but rather how the poor choice of a healthcare provider resulted in harm to an unborn baby. In any event, those who have suffered as a result of a doctor’s error such as this may choose to work with an attorney in order to recover some degree of compensation.
Source: AL.com “Woman can sue doctor for wrongful death after miscarriage, Alabama Supreme Court rules” Faulk, Kent