The family of a woman who died shortly after giving birth, filed a lawsuit against a New York hospital, even though the woman had her baby at home.
The 34-year-old woman, Amy Lam, went into premature labor at home in August and gave birth to a boy. The mother and child seemed fine when emergency responders took them to the hospital, however, Ms. Lam died less than 11 hours later.
Even though autopsy results were still pending, the family filed a notice of claim in late September against the hospital and multiple doctors alleging medical malpractice. A notice of claim is a letter that states the statutory basis for the claim, a brief resume of the factual basis for the claim, the amount of the claim and the availability of the plaintiff or his or her agent to discuss the claim. Medical malpractice refers to professional negligence by a healthcare professional who provided substandard treatment and caused harm, injury or death to a patient.
Ms. Lim, a journalist who lived in New York with her husband and their 3-year-old son, had gone to a hospital when she felt contractions a few hours before the birth of her second son. After she was examined, doctors sent her home telling her she was not in labor. Hours later, she suddenly went into labor at home and gave birth in the bathroom of her apartment. EMTs took her and the newborn to the closest hospital, a different one than she had been to earlier.
At the hospital, doctors tried to remove the placenta unsuccessfully and Ms. Lam went into shock. Over the course of the day, her blood pressure continued to drop, her heart rate increased and she began to hemorrhage. Doctors did not know what was causing the symptoms. They gave her a transfusion and performed exploratory surgery but, according to the lawsuit, they were unable to stabilize her. Eleven hours after giving birth, she died.
More than 600 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And even though globally, maternal mortality rates have gone down, the U.S. is one of the few countries in the world where death rates have increased. Some researchers attribute the increase to heart ailments and chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and obesity.
In 2013, there were 28 maternal deaths per 100,000 births in the United States, up from 23 per 100,000 in 2005. Maternal deaths are defined as deaths due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth. Although the most recent year the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation has had detailed statistics was 2013, the institute projected the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. would drop to 25 deaths per 100,000 in 2015. The institute is a research group funded by the Gates Foundation based in Washington state.
If you were injured or your child harmed during the birthing process, or if a loved one has died, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the offices of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at 800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.
About the Author