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Indiana Has One of the Highest Infant Mortality Rates in the Country

Steve Wagner


  • The rate of Indiana infants dying before their first birthday has risen steadily over the past five years, making Indiana home to one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the nation.
  • While substance use disorders and the opioid epidemic have sparked a sudden upswing in the deathly numbers, birth injuries, maternal complications, and medical mistakes also contribute to the tragic death toll.
  • There are many possible birth injuries that can result in infant wrongful deaths.
  • The most common fatal birth injury is oxygen deprivation also knows as hypoxia.
  • Most birth injuries are caused by negligence on the part of the obstetrician or other medical personnel involved in the incident.

Indiana’s Infant Mortality Rate Still Rising

While almost all newborns grow and thrive without serious health problems, national data says nearly six infants out of 1,000 in the U.S. will die during their first year. In Indiana that number is much greater. The Hoosier state is still struggling with lowering its infant mortality rate, despite a major partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state government groups. Since we last blogged about this topic, the overall infant mortality rate (death of a baby before his or her first birthday) has grown to 7.3 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births. These numbers continue to be alarming and will require an intense amount of planning, education and prevention to reduce.

Most of these infants have died as a result of:

  • Birth defects
  • Preterm birth and low birth weight
  • Maternal complications of pregnancy
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Injuries (e.g., suffocation).

The most common fatal birth injury was oxygen deprivation also knows as hypoxia. Hypoxia can also be the cause of serious birth injuries such as cerebral palsy.

Infant Wrongful Death Cases

Some infant deaths are sadly caused as a result of a birth injury or a medical mistake. This is called infant wrongful death and typically a result of improper actions by negligent physicians, nurses, or poorly administered or equipped hospitals. Infant wrongful death can be considered any degree of death, including homicide.

Common causes of fatal birth injuries include:

  • Oxygen Deprivation (Hypoxia): Oxygen deprivation can cause infant death. This can happen before, during or after birth. Records at the U.S National Institute of Health indicate that perinatal hypoxia is responsible for approximately one -third of neonatal deaths.
  • Reduced Blood Flow: Blood has to flow so it can carry oxygen and other nutrients to an infant’s brain and other organ systems. Too little blood can cause the fetus’s organs to shut down.
  • Traumatic Injuries During Delivery: Significant birth injury accounts for fewer than two percent of neonatal deaths and stillbirths in the United States.

Other causes of infant death could be:

  • Hemorrhage and Bleeding During Pregnancy and Delivery
  • Eclampsia
  • Placenta Previa
  • Placental Abruption
  • Uterine Rupture
  • Jaundice
  • Kernicterus
  • Spinal Cord Damage
  • Injury to the Mother and Death of Mother

Our attorneys hold the medical profession in high regard, but when a physician or medical staff does not perform up to professional standards, legal accountability becomes necessary.

Indianapolis Wrongful Death Lawyers

We understand that no amount of money can replace your child, but holding the party that caused the death accountable can provide you with some measure of financial relief. The attorneys at Wagner Reese will sort through all the information needed and other evidence to support your claim.

Contact the law firm of Wagner Reese by completing our online form, and one of our attorneys will review your information, and respond promptly. If you wish to speak with us today, please call (888) 204-8440.


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