If my OBGYN didn’t check for a placenta abruption when the symptom occurred and my baby was born prematurely, do I have a case here?

UPDATED: Dec 3, 2011

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If my OBGYN didn’t check for a placenta abruption when the symptom occurred and my baby was born prematurely, do I have a case here?

During the second trimester of my pregnancy, I started feeling pain where the placenta was. I called the doctor and described the symptoms and he said it was probably the baby’s foot. Not much later we had our appointment and I mentioned it again. He didn’t check or ask questions, he only said again it was the baby’s foot.I mentioned what if is my placenta, thinking it could be placenta previa. He still said the baby’s foot. My baby was born at 34 weeks and when he saw the placenta he said he said there is the tear. When we asked he said that there was no way of knowing but there was.

Asked on December 3, 2011 under Malpractice Law, Utah


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First, if your baby is, hopefully, ok and you also have, hopefully, not incurred much out-of-pocket additional medical costs (e.g. your insurance has picked up the additional costs associated with a premature birth), then it probably is not worthwhile suing. That's because the law only provides compensation for actual injuries or losses, and without significant injuries or losses, it's not worth bringing a malpractice case, which is one of the more expensive and complicated kinds of lawsuits.

However, if either your baby has suffered some injury or disability, or you have incurred (either now, or projected for the future) siginificant additional costs, then it would be wortwhile to consider a malpractice suit. The issue then becomes whether there was malpractice. A doctor being wrong is not necessarily malpractice--doctors are not expected to be perfect, and medicine is more an art than a science. Malpractice is when the doctor was careless, or did not provide medical care that met current accepted standards. If that is the case, then the doctor may be liable.

If you incurred costs or your baby was injured, you should consult in detail with a malpractice attorney, who is in a better position than you to evaluate whether the doctor's conduct would have amounted to malpractice.

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