In this article and supporting video I am going to touch on an issue that can be very hard to experience for families and that is mom’s death during childbirth, and some things that a family might want to consider when this devastating issue arises. The basis of this article comes from a recent talk that I had with an individual about this same issue, as a young mother had passed away during childbirth from, as the doctors reported to the family, complications.
Because we handle issues regarding pregnancy and labor and delivery, we are often asked about problems, when they occur. Childbirth is a serious experience for mother and baby. If your family is in a situation in which the above has happened, this article and supporting video will help you understand some of the issues these circumstances create.
GET AN AUTOPSY…
In a lot of cases, families are not aware that they can either request an autopsy, or if one is not performed by a medical examiner’s office, the family can have an independent autopsy done for themselves. To do this a family can search through online search engines for pathologists who perform private autopsies.
Where confusion arises is whether an autopsy is automatic. For example, here in Maryland the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will only perform a forensic examination under specific cases. What this means is that there is no automatic autopsy here. The fact of the matter is that this can cause serious confusion for families.
WHY IS THE AUTOPSY IMPORTANT?
An autopsy is important because it can alert a family as to not only the cause of death, but what other factors may have contributed to the cause of death. This information can be self-explanatory as to why it can be helpful to families. The short of it is that it can help them understand what caused their loved one to pass away. With that said, there is also an important legal aspect that an autopsy can bring to the table.
One of the elements that must be proven when negligence is suspected is causation. Sometimes a death certificate will only give general information as to the death. A pathologist who performs an autopsy can get into more depth as to the findings from the forensic examination. This information might corroborate the death certificate, or it might reveal other critical issues present in the case. Therefore, for mom’s death during childbirth, an autopsy might be important.
REQUEST THE MEDICAL RECORDS…
As I have discussed in previous educational articles, and supporting videos, the medical records are vital when a family is looking for answers as the cause of a medical injury or death in the care of a doctor or hospital. Regardless of whether an attorney is hired, and a case pursued, the medical records can provide some information for a family.
If families have lingering questions about a mom’s death during childbirth, they should make a request to the hospital for all the medical records surrounding the labor and delivery. Usually this request will have to be in writing and submitted to the hospital. One should keep in mind that they should request not only the records for mother, but they should request the baby’s records too. In some instances, the hospitals will require separate requests for each set of records. Finally, be sure to see if the hospital will release the records on disk or some other type of electronic means to help save with the cost of getting the records.
For situations where the hospital might claim that they cannot turn over the records because of mom’s death, if you are in Maryland, an estate will have to be opened. If you do not have an attorney for this, you can find more information in the circuit court of the county in which the deceased resided. If the person died and lived in Baltimore City, then the circuit court there will have to be contacted.
MOM’S DEATH DURING CHILDBIRTH
Mom’s death during childbirth is a traumatic event for families. It is my hope that the information provided can help a family what is dealing with this tragedy understand some of the issues present if they have questions regarding what led up to the death.
To speak with me further if you have questions you can reach me at 301-850-4832.
Marcus B. Boston, Esq.
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815
1-833-4 BABY HELP