If medical negligence is suspected in the death of a loved one, a Maryland wrongful death attorney may be consulted to investigate and identify potential legal claims and responsible parties. In a tragic case before the Court of Special Appeals on May 18, 2018, the parents of an infant born via gestational carrier brought a negligence claim against the doctor and fertility clinic that facilitated and supervised the pregnancy. The premature infant survived only 21 days before her death.
The plaintiffs in the case had entered into a gestational carrier contract with a woman who agreed to surrogate their child. The woman failed to disclose her history of pregnancy complications, however, and the defendant-doctor proceeded with an embryo transfer without obtaining the woman’s prior medical records and clearance from the woman’s regular obstetrician. After a successful embryo transfer, the woman became pregnant with the plaintiffs’ child. Just 25 weeks into the pregnancy, the woman developed severe, life-threatening preeclampsia and underwent an emergency C-section delivery. The infant succumbed to an infection and died not long after her birth.
Eventually, a review of the woman’s medical records revealed that during her last pregnancy, also as a gestational carrier, she developed preeclampsia and delivered the baby prematurely. Medical experts testified that preeclampsia is known to worsen with each pregnancy, so the woman’s medical history should have disqualified her from being a gestational carrier. After trial, the jury found the defendants liable for medical negligence. The infant’s estate and the parents were awarded over $44 million in non-economic damages, although that amount was reduced by the statutory cap.