In the state of Florida, 1,327 infant deaths occurred over the course of 2014, the most recent year for which data is available from Florida health.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the top five causes of infant mortality account for 57 percent of all infant deaths that occur within the first year of a child’s life. These top five causes of death include birth defects; preterm birth; maternal complications caused by pregnancy; sudden infant death syndrome; and birth injury.
If a baby is born dead, this is called stillbirth. If the baby dies during the labor and delivery process, the baby is said to have suffered a fatal birth injury. A failure on the part of medical caregivers is often a contributing factor to preterm birth; maternal complications; and birth injury leading to stillbirth or death.
If a medical care provider fails to provide adequate prenatal care or makes unprofessional errors during the birthing process, the care provider could be held accountable for resulting losses under Florida’s medical malpractice laws.
The care provider, as well as hospitals and other healthcare staff, could potentially be liable for wrongful death damages and required to provide compensation to families, up to the damage caps set by Florida Statute 766.118. A doctor who failed to diagnose a birth defect could also face legal liability for his negligence.
Whether a medical care provider is responsible for compensating families for birth injuries will be determined based on whether a reasonably competent doctor with a similar background would have provided a higher quality of care. If a failure to offer reasonably competent care was a direct cause of the stillbirth or infant death, the care provider can be held legally responsible.
A failure to provide appropriate prenatal testing; failure to monitor mom and baby during delivery; failure to diagnose conditions like preeclampsia; aggressive use of forceps; and failure to order an emergency cesarean section are among the types of medical negligence which could give rise to a birth injury claim if a baby is born dead or dies during delivery.
When a child dies due to the negligence of a care provider, the family of the infant should consult with a Florida birth injury attorney about legal options for filing a wrongful death malpractice claim.