Virginia Infant Death Spurs Fight for Medical Reform


Virginia Beach parents, whose baby died suddenly after birth in April, 2005, are trying to reform the Virginia Board of Medicine procedures for public complaints. Their infant died as a result of dangerously low amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios). The mother, who was at high risk because of her age, had undergone chorionic villus sampling, more commonly called CVS, in which a needle is inserted into the placenta to extract tissue. The couple suspects that this procedure caused a small leak of amniotic fluid that was undiagnosed and untreated. The amniotic fluid index was well below the 5 centimeter level that is considered cause for concern. The baby was delivered via Caesarian section and died almost immediately due to underdeveloped lungs, which is a by-product of oligohydramnios.

In October, 2007, the Virginia Medical Board found that the mother’s OB/GYN had failed to inform her about low amniotic fluid levels detected on ultrasound and failed to refer her to a perinatologist for further evaluation. The doctor was ordered to take a course on high-risk pregnancy to fulfill the requirements set by the Board. The couple has lobbied in Richmond and hope to testify in support of a bill that would authorize an audit of the Virginia Board of Medicine. The bill was tabled this year, but the couple hopes to have it on the legislature’s agenda next year.

Pierce & Thornton has handled numerous cases involving negligent care by obstetricians and we encourage you to contact our firm if you question the care rendered to you, a family member or friend while pregnant.

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