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Injuries: Wrongful Death
The plaintiff, age 23, was admitted to the hospital to deliver her first child. A nurse midwife induced labor and administered Pitocin. A fetal heart rate monitor indicated that the birth was rapidly becoming difficult. Despite signs of fetal compromise, labor was allowed to continue for over two more hours before an obstetrician was notified. Ultimately an emergency cesarean section was performed, but the infant was delivered stillborn.
Virginia law barred any wrongful death claim on behalf of the infant child since it was never deemed alive outside the birth canal. Therefore, a claim was filed on behalf of the mother to compensate her for the emotional harm suffered due to the loss of her child.