It isn’t often that we have an opportunity to close the loop on a case that we’ve only been able to mention before. This post seeks to do that in connection with a post that we published back in September. The outcome seems likely to have been positive for the plaintiffs in the wrongful death action.
Readers may recall that the previous post reported how a Connecticut couple had received the go-ahead to pursue compensation for the loss of a child born prematurely. The Stamford doctor named as the defendant in the matter had sought to have the case dismissed, saying that the newborn, at 22 weeks, wasn’t viable. But because the child had lived for two hours, the judge said the case could proceed.
To be sure, most experts agree that a 22-week-old fetus stands little chance of surviving if delivered early. But as the court noted in allowing the case to go forward, Connecticut law does not make a link between fetal viability and a live birth. In this case, the child had been born alive.
Further complicating the case was the fact that the delivery of the baby occurred while the woman’s doctor was trying to remove an intrauterine birth control device. The plaintiffs claimed that the doctor was negligent because she failed to determine that the patient wasn’t pregnant before attempting the removal. They made the further claim of wrongful death, saying that the doctor ruptured the fetal membrane during the procedure.
The case had been expected to go to trial in October of last year, but apparently protracted negotiation resulted in that being put off. In late December, a judge dismissed the case after learning that the parties had settled.
Exactly what did happen may never be known. The doctor had always denied the suit’s allegations. Details of the settlement have not been released and neither side has commented publicly on the matter.