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Medical malpractice suit: Settlement reached over death of fetus

The debate about when a fetus can legally be regarded as a person sparked arguments in a recent lawsuit in another state. California readers may be interested in this medical malpractice lawsuit that was recently settled shortly before the trial. The suit was filed by a couple who alleged that the doctor caused the 2011 death of their fetus at 22 weeks.

According to court documents, the gynecologist remove an implanted birth control device from the woman. The plaintiffs claimed that the doctor failed to check whether the woman was pregnant before proceeding. During the removal of the device, it was discovered that she was pregnant, and the doctor apparently ruptured the fetal membrane. Although the fetus was alive at birth, it died within two hours.

The court had to decide whether the death of a fetus that not was yet developed enough to survive outside the mother’s womb can give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit. After the case had been allowed to proceed, the two sides reached a settlement with undisclosed details. The case was then dismissed by the court.

A California family who is considering a medical malpractice or related wrongful death lawsuit have every right to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. The lawyer can gather the necessary evidence to allow the client to make an informed decision. Depending on the details of a particular case, an attorney can suggest the most appropriate way to proceed, provide ongoing assistance during settlement negotiations or proceed to trial if necessary.

Source:, “Connecticut Fetal Death Lawsuit Settled“, Gail Saukas, Jan. 4, 2016