Helping the victims of medical negligence
If you have suffered as a result of medical negligence, an injury solicitor can help you claim the compensation you deserve
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Stillbirth Compensation Claims

Suffering a stillbirth is one of the most harrowing and heartbreaking occurrences that could happen to any family. An experienced clinical negligence solicitor can offer a supportive, patient and warm environment for you to discuss your legal rights if you have suffered from a stillbirth where medical negligence may have been a contributing factor. They will assure you of utmost respect and empathy at all times.

What is stillbirth?

Stillbirth is a term that is used to describe a baby that is born dead if it has reached the 24th week of pregnancy. If a baby dies prior to the 24th week of gestation, the loss of the child is referred to as a miscarriage, rather than a stillbirth. If a baby is born alive but passes away after birth, the term used is ‘infant mortality’.

The 24 week timescale is used as this is the stage at which a baby has a strong chance of survival should it be born prematurely, albeit with a significant amount of support in a neonatal unit at a hospital.

According to the NHS, eleven babies are stillborn each and every day in the UK, with more than 3,600 stillbirths each year.

What causes a stillbirth?

In the majority of cases, there is no concrete reason for a child to be stillborn and so it can be difficult to understand why the child passed away. In some instances, however, the cause of stillbirth is readily identifiable and a doctor can confidently assess and communicate the underlying cause of the stillbirth. Some of the most common causes include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Infections
  • Diabetes
  • Birth defects
  • Oxygen starvation to the baby, either during the birth or whilst the baby is in the uterus
  • A dislocation of the placenta from the wall of the uterus

In some instances, such as when a mother suffers from high blood pressure or diabetes, a medical team made up of doctors and midwives, may decide that it is in the best interests of the mother and baby to induce birth. Inducing birth is not a cause for stillbirth in itself and is more widely associated with the preservation of life and health, though unfortunately, deaths can still happen.

A mother who has suffered from any of the above conditions or any other pregnancy related complications must be monitored and assessed regularly to ensure the health of both herself and the baby. Failure of medical professionals to provide an acceptable level of care may be considered as medical negligence.

Midwives, doctors and all other medical practitioners have a legal and professional obligation to provide acceptable standards of care to mothers and unborn babies at all times. This means that they must assess, evaluate, diagnose and treat an illness, injury or complication swiftly in order to secure the health and survival of their patients. A failure to do so is likely to be considered as medical negligence and result in a potential compensation claim.

We recognise that the physical pain of pregnancy and birth complications is significant but that the emotional damage caused by a stillbirth that could have been prevented through better medical care is unbearable.

Your solicitor will work closely with you, maintaining your emotional wellbeing at all times to make those liable for your suffering accountable for their actions.

If you have been affected by the death of a baby during pregnancy or birth, there are many charities and support groups available throughout the UK. Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity) is a fantastic charity that provides emotional support to anybody who is suffering from the loss of a baby. The Child Death Helpline provides a free, confidential helpline (0800 282 986) where you can speak to a volunteer who has also experienced the loss of a child.

Can I make a claim following a stillbirth?

If you have suffered a stillbirth through the negligence, error or substandard medical care or treatment during the birth of your baby, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation.

Stillbirth compensation claims are highly emotional and likely to be incredibly difficult for mourning parents. With that in mind, your solicitor will strive to offer a comprehensive service, with first rate legal knowledge and exceptional support. They will abide by legal time limits while giving you as much patience as you need to process matters in a manner that feels comfortable to you.