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Catholic hospital reevaluates stance in wrongful death case

Family members who have lost a loved one due to a medical mistake may be entitled to compensation. However, a wrongful death claim is often difficult to pursue since family members often wish to concentrate on the grieving process. Albuquerque readers will be interested in reading about the following medical malpractice case that has national significance.

The officials at a Catholic hospital have said that the hospital's attorneys were wrong to claim that a fetus is not a person. The claim was part of the hospital's initial defense in a medical malpractice case.

The case involves a 31-year-old woman who died in Canon City, Colorado, at St. Thomas More Hospital in 2006. The woman was seven months pregnant at the time with twins, who also died. The malpractice suit claims that the deaths of the fetuses were due to the hospitals' failure to perform an emergency cesarean section on the mother.

The Catholic hospital generated controversy when its legal defense was publicized during the week of Jan. 28. Hospital officials withdrew their legal claim that a fetus is not a person after they met with three Catholic bishops.

Surviving family members need to know that compensation in a medical malpractice case can be for economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses include loss of future earnings, funeral expenses and medical expenses, while non-economic losses include loss of companionship or pain and suffering.

Source: USA Today, "Catholic hospital backs off claims fetuses aren't people," Bob Smietana, Feb. 5, 2013

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