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Mother Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against California Hospital

Craig McClellan

There are few things more devastating for a parent than the loss of a child. A woman who believes her child could have been saved during delivery has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the California hospital where she had a stillbirth.

In the incident, the woman, about to deliver her child, was about to receive an epidural for her labor-induced pain. During this time, heart monitors could not detect the heart rate of the baby yet the nurses did not immediately notify the doctor. The monitors picked up a slowing of the child's heart rate seven minutes later but could not find a heartbeat fifteen minutes later.

In the lawsuit, the 19-year-old woman accuses the hospital and its staff of negligent treatment and says that their failure to act contributed to the unnecessary death of her child.

Despite an autopsy that could not find anything to contribute directly to the fault of the hospital, the California Department of Public Health said that hospital staff did not act according to protocol in this stillbirth situation. If they had, state officials believe that the death may have been avoided. Even if the baby had managed to survive, it would have likely been born with neurological damage.

The California DPH investigated the situation and found that during the epidural application, there was no nurse specializing in labor and delivery present. Under proper procedure, this should not have occurred. The nurse that was in the room had not been properly trained to monitor the child's heartbeat.

The nurses involved in the incident were dismissed by the hospital after the baby's death and several other nurses were required to attend training on how to read monitors. But despite this corrective action taken by the hospital, the fact of the matter is that this mother will always have to deal with the loss of her child.