When an expectant mother goes to the hospital to give birth, the anticipation is that she will soon go home with a healthy newborn. Unfortunately, such is not always the case. Complications can arise during labor and delivery that can have a drastic impact of the newborn’s quality of life. When hospital error or negligence results in injury or death to a newborn child, parents must exercise all their rights in order to be compensated for medical malpractice.
What is Medical Birth Malpractice?
Medical birth malpractice occurs when hospital personnel make an egregious or negligent error during labor or delivery that results in death, injury or disability to the newborn child. Perhaps the doctor strayed from standard operating procedures or a nurse showed up for work intoxicated. Poorly maintained equipment, such as a fetal monitor, may have failed during labor, causing medical personnel to remain ignorant of a developing complication. Medical birth malpractice has a number of causes. The effects, however, can be disastrous.
What Events Constitute Medical Birth Malpractice?
- Failing to monitor equipment or react quickly to a suspected problem
- Failing to accurately diagnose and treat positioning problems such as breech position or shoulder dystocia during labor and delivery
- Inducing labor prematurely or incorrectly
- Failing to recognize fetal distress or inaccurately performing or delaying a caesarian section
- Incorrect medication or dosing given to the newborn after birth
- Mishandling of an infant in the delivery room
Although not an all-inclusive list by any means, the preceding events can lead to death, injury or disability of a newborn and an eventual successful malpractice suit.
What Damages Can Be Awarded?
In a successful malpractice suit, damages are awarded to the parents. It is common for malpractice victims to ask for a number of recompenses including, but not limited to:
- Pain and suffering
- Birth defects
- Medical expenses, including physical and developmental therapies specific to the child’s disabilities
- Wrongful death
For those who have been affected by medical malpractice during birth, it is important to get help as soon as possible. A qualified medical malpractice attorney has the knowledge to properly evaluate the situation in preparation for an eventual lawsuit. They have the power to negotiate a viable settlement or take the case to trial. When something goes wrong in labor or delivery and the result is likely to have a significant impact on the quality of a newborn’s life, a medical malpractice attorney can help parents exercise their rights and get the help they need.