The first four weeks are the most important for a child’s development, as they begin to form crucial connections and go through rapid changes. In the United States, two-thirds of infant deaths occur during this time.
Although New York City has reached a historically low infant mortality rate, deaths among this most vulnerable population still occur. That infants die due to medical error is a despicable reality considering the technological advances available to hospitals and doctor’s offices.
If you believe your baby’s death was the result of a medical error, you may be able to pursue compensation through a lawsuit against the doctor or hospital. Carner & DeVita will help you pursue a medical malpractice or wrongful death suit and work to get you the money you need to recover from your loss.
Call (631) 543-7070 today.
In its release of New York City’s 2018 vital statistics data (the most recent year with collected data), the Health Department reported a historically low infant mortality rate of 3.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. The Department praised the impressive strides that New York City has made in health outcomes for its citizens, but acknowledged that racial and ethnic disparities remain.
The 9.3% decrease in infant mortality rate from 2017 to 2018 is not completely representative of all populations. According to the report, the infant mortality rate for non-Hispanic Black New Yorkers was 3.4% higher than that of non-Hispanic white New Yorkers. Additionally, the infant mortality rate in high poverty areas was 1.5 times higher than that in low poverty areas. For instance, East Tremont in the Bronx had an infant mortality rate of 7%, and Williamsbridge, also in the Bronx, had an infant mortality rate of 5.7 percent.
Impoverished areas often see limited access to quality health care, deprivation of hospital resources, and overworked medical personnel. These are all factors that can contribute to cases of medical error and malpractice.
But just because a family lives in an impoverished area doesn’t mean that they can’t have access to high-quality health care. Medical professionals owe a duty of care to all patients, even the youngest newborn. When they fail to do so, they should be held accountable to prevent them from making the same error and potentially harming more children.
Causes of Infant Mortality
The United States experiences more infant deaths than any other country in the world. Despite prolific scientific and technological advances, babies are dying for the same reasons they did decades ago. These are some of the most common causes of infant mortality:
Congenital defects (birth defects) occur while the fetus is still in the womb. These defects vary greatly in symptoms and severity, and some can cause life-threatening complications. Most birth defects are without a known cause, but some are due to a doctor’s negligence. Failing to properly perform or read an ultrasound, prescribing dangerous medications to the mother during pregnancy, and failing to perform or performing diagnostic tests incorrectly are all examples of medical malpractice resulting in congenital defects.
Complications During Pregnancy
Unfortunately, infant death can occur while the mother is still pregnant. Sometimes death occurs with no known cause, but other times it’s due to the doctor’s or other medical professional’s mistake.
Failure to diagnose preeclampsia (life-threatening high blood pressure), placenta previa (placenta situated low in the uterus), or an incompetent cervix (a weak cervix that increases the chance of premature birth) can lead to the unborn baby suffering fatal complications.
Complications with the Placenta or Umbilical Cord
The placenta and umbilical cord are critical to healthy gestation and birth. Doctors provide plenty of advice to expecting mothers on how to keep these parts healthy, but sometimes, it’s a doctor’s mistake that causes a problem, not the mother’s.
Failure to diagnose placental infarction (dead tissue that deprives the fetus of blood), placental insufficiency (the placenta fails to grow in a way that supports fetal development), or placental abruption (the placenta detaches from the inner wall of the uterus, depriving the fetus of blood and nutrients) can prove fatal for the infant. Each of these conditions can be diagnosed through an ultrasound.
Complications of the umbilical cord that can cause infant death include prolapse (cord drops out of the cervix and wraps around the fetus), nuchal cord (cord wraps around the fetus’ neck), and umbilical cord knots. Improper care and handling of the mother and infant during birth can all contribute to these conditions.
Holding Doctors Accountable to Improve the Infant Mortality Rate in New York City
Medical professionals have a duty to treat their patients to the best of their ability. This is important for patients of any age, but especially for those who are the most vulnerable – newborn infants. Unfortunately, medical malpractice and negligence remain major causes of infant injuries and deaths in New York City and across the country.
Medical malpractice attorneys help reduce the rate of infant deaths by holding negligent medical professionals liable for their actions. If your or a loved one lost their infant and you suspect medical malpractice, contact our medical malpractice lawyers on Long Island. We’ll get started on an unbeatable legal strategy and work towards getting you the compensation you deserve. Call now.