NY court: Women can sue after miscarriage, stillbirth

June 1, 2004



The New York Court of Appeals overturned decades of case law recently by allowing a woman to sue if a miscarriage or stillbirth is a result of medical malpractice. The decision brings the state in line with the majority of other states in the nation that already allow this kind of recovery for expectant moms, according to American Medical News (4/26/04).

Obviously the 6-1 decision has the state's physicians worried. They are concerned the appellate decision opens the door for women to sue for emotional distress despite no evidence of negligence and to convince sympathetic jurors to award pain and suffering damages in these cases.

Moreover, physicians fear the decision could spur even more increases in their malpractice insurance rates. New York is already one of 19 states facing a liability insurance crisis, as determined by the American Medical Association, and overall obstetrician/gynecologists already pay some of the highest premiums nationwide.