Bereaved Parents Deserve Answers After A Child’s Death

bereaved parents want answers to infant death

Advanced Support Is Necessary When a Parent Endures the Sudden Loss of a Newborn Caused by Medical Negligence

Even medical professionals can be found responsible for a tragic labor and delivery mistake that results in life-long injuries, infant death, or a circumstance so dire that the child’s future prognosis is death. It is possible that medical staff, including obstetric physicians, pediatricians, nurses, medical assistants, did not do all they could to keep the fetus or newborn safe. And sometimes, the injury or infant death could have been prevented with better medical care, particularly in these labor and delivery situations.

The death of an infant up to 28 days old is termed neonatal death. The Centers for Disease Control reports that around 20% of all infant fatalities are related to birth injuries. Thus, roughly 134 out of every 100,000 children born die due to a birth injury. Unfortunately, many of these injuries are caused by medical negligence or malpractice.

Support To Help You and Your Family Grieve the Loss of Your Child

The month of July is a dedicated time to raise awareness for parents who have lost a child, and many groups, including the attorneys at Levin & Perconti, offer support during Bereaved Parents Awareness Month. In addition, the organization Mental Health America (MHA) promotes mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, especially for those who need extra support for coping with the death of a loved one and the grief that follows. At Levin & Perconti, we are so very sorry for the loss and tragedy you are experiencing and hope these many ways of coping provided by MHA can somehow allow you to grieve through this unthinkable tragedy.

  • Seek out caring people.Find relatives and friends who can understand your feelings of loss. Join support groups with others who are experiencing similar losses.
  • Express your feelings.Tell others how you are feeling; it will help you to work through the grieving process.
  • Take care of your health.Maintain regular contact with your family physician and be sure to eat well and get plenty of rest. Be aware of the danger of developing a dependence on medication or alcohol to deal with your grief.
  • Accept that life is for the living.It takes effort to begin to live again in the present and not dwell on the past.
  • Postpone significant life changes.Try to hold off on making any major changes, such as moving, remarrying, changing jobs, or having another child. Instead, you should give yourself time to adjust to your loss.
  • Be patient.It can take months or even years to absorb a significant loss and accept your changed life.
  • Seek outside help when necessary.If your grief seems too much to bear, seek professional assistance. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to seek help.

Bereaved parents will need help from others. If someone you care about has lost a child, you can help them through the grieving process.

  • Share the sorrow.Allow them — even encourage them — to talk about their feelings of loss and share memories of the deceased.
  • Don’t offer false comfort.It doesn’t help the grieving person when you say “it was for the best” or “you’ll get over it in time.” Instead, offer a simple expression of sorrow and take time to listen.
  • Offer practical help.Baby-sitting, cooking, and running errands are all ways to help someone who is grieving.
  • Be patient.Remember that it can take a long time to recover from a major loss. Make yourself available to talk.
  • Encourage professional help when necessary.Don’t hesitate to recommend professional help when you feel someone is experiencing too much pain to cope alone.

Likewise, the other children in your family who experienced the loss of a sibling may grieve differently and require more sense of security and support for survival. And coping with a child’s grief puts added strain on the bereaved parents. In addition, MHA says children may be confused about the changes they see taking place around them, mainly if well-meaning adults try to protect them from the truth or their surviving parent’s display of grief.

  • Young children have a limited understanding. For example, most children cannot express their feelings, which puts very young children at a notable disadvantage in the grieving process.
  • Emotions will be high and could be volatile for all family members. Angry outbursts or criticism may deepen a child’s anxiety and delay their natural attempts to grieve and recover.
  • Allow your children to know the truth. Talk honestly with children, in terms they can understand.
  • Make an effort to remember your child and create opportunities for your living children to ask questions. Take extra time to talk with them about death and the person who has died.
  • Be there for your bereaved children or find someone who can support their needs to grieve properly. Help them work through their feelings and remember that they are looking to adults for appropriate behavior.

MHA representatives also say young children may revert to adolescent behaviors they have grown out of, ask questions about the deceased that seem insensitive, invent games about dying, or pretend that the death never happened.

Medical Providers and Hospitals Do “Hush” Grieving Parents from Asking Too Many Questions

When a baby dies unexpectedly, it is reasonable to want answers and have uneasy feelings about what happened. And, if you sense an odd response from anyone involved in your delivery, that may serve as an indication that someone made a mistake and did something they shouldn’t have. Don’t ignore those feelings. Instead, prompt the medical team and ask all the questions. Demand answers that will provide a greater sense of understanding of what happened to your child. Your questions may lead hospital leadership to tell you that the medical staff took all precautions, followed procedures, and did all they could to save the baby. They may even offer a monetary settlement in an attempt to make you feel better before sending you on your way.

These investigations should never be concluded quickly, and you should never accept money or sign anything before consulting with an attorney. But, on the other hand, a health system’s response to your tragedy could indicate that they feel responsible in some way for your baby’s death, and you may have a strong case against them.

In The Case of Infant Wrongful Death, Monetary Damages Can Be Claimed

When a birth injury leads to tragedy and an infant death occurred but could have been prevented, a wrongful death claim serves its purpose and provides clarity to a family, and sets policy changes and extra safeguards for hospitals to follow. Infant wrongful death lawsuits are generally filed by family members or beneficiaries of the child who died. In some instances, these claims are filed to obtain monetary damages and other recoveries.

  • Expenses associated with the death, such as medical and funeral bills
  • Lost benefits, such as insurance, from the death
  • Loss of inheritance from an untimely death
  • Pain, suffering, or mental anguish suffered by the survivor of the decedent
  • Loss of companionship, care, or protection
  • Punitive damages, intended to punish wrongdoers and prevent them from harming others

The damages recoverable include the loss of financial contributions made to the family by the deceased family member and the loss of love, companionship, and affection each family member receives from the deceased family member’s continued existence.

Suppose your family has recently lost an infant due to someone else’s negligence. In that case, it is best to contact a wrongful death attorney to discuss the legal options available to them in the state they reside in. Since there is no set way to determine how long your particular case will take and each state’s laws vary, it’s best to act quickly and understand that it may take time before you reach an agreement with the negligent party.

Lawsuits Can Be More Manageable with Experienced Legal Support

The costs to diagnose and treat birth injuries and bury a child can be astronomical, and many expenses and hardships may not be covered by health insurance. Additionally, the child or mother may need to have extended treatment or even lifelong care. For these reasons, it is necessary to seek legal guidance quickly and as soon as your family is ready to ask for the help you deserve.

Learn How a Birth Injury Attorney Can Help Your Family

The national award-winning birth injury attorneys at Levin & Perconti have taken on every role in life and are uniquely positioned to understand parental worries and sensitive needs. As a result, we can be relied on to find answers, settle disputes, and earn you compensation for economic losses, physical and emotional damage to your quality of life, and even the lost life of a child.

When you are ready to request legal help and counsel, no matter where your family is located, please do not hesitate to call us at 312-332-2872 or toll-free at 877-374-1417.

Also read: 200 Black Fetal and Infant Deaths Could Be Prevented Each Year

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