Birth Injury Legal Rights
What You Should Know if Your Baby Suffered During Labor and Delivery
Modern medicine is a highly technical and specialized field, and patients today have no choice but to trust the medical professionals who serve their healthcare needs. Doctors and healthcare providers, in turn, have a duty to their patients to perform to an acceptable standard of care.
During pregnancy and childbirth, expectant mothers naturally rely on their doctors and hospitals to provide high-quality care that will see them and their newborns safely through labor and delivery. When healthcare providers fail in their duty, causing injury to a newborn child, that child's parents have a legal right to take action to hold the negligent parties accountable.
Who Can Be Held Accountable for Birth Injuries?
When medical negligence causes injury to a child at birth, physicians are not the only parties that can be potentially held accountable. Liable parties may include:
- Medical doctors
- Hospitals and healthcare facilities
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Other healthcare service providers
Six to eight significant birth injuries occur in every 1,000 live births. Negligent physicians may cause birth injuries by:
- Failure to recognize hypertension or other pregnancy disorders
- Incorrect assessment of the child's condition in the womb
- Improper use of forceps, vacuums, or other medical instruments
- Improper medical technique during delivery
During labor and delivery, nurses typically have far more interaction with expectant mothers than doctors. Nurses have a responsibility throughout the process to conscientiously monitor the condition of the mother and the baby. Negligent obstetrical nurses can cause injury to a child by:
- Failure to adequately monitor the condition of the infant
- Failure to recognize signs of fetal distress
- Failure to promptly reports signs of fetal distress to the obstetrician
- Failure to go up the hospital chain of command for intervention if the nurse sees a problem and the doctor fails to act
Hospitals are public or private legal entities that can be held accountable for negligence in two different ways: 1) Directly liable for the hospital's own negligence; and 2) vicariously liable for the negligence of the hospital's employees.
Hospitals may be found liable for serious birth injuries when:
- Failure to adequately investigate and screen negligent medical professionals before hiring them
- Failure to ensure a sufficient number of registered nurses were on duty to provide high-quality care
- Failure to properly perform clinical tests or keep accurate medical records
- Failure of hospital employees to follow the orders of a patient's private attending physician
- Failure of hospital employees to make reasonable enquiries with the doctor about a treatment plan that seemed clearly contraindicated
Contact Birth Injury Attorney Laura Brown
Many birth injuries are caused by medical negligence. If you suspect medical negligence in your child's case, we invite you to meet with us for a free consultation. If we believe your child's injuries resulted from a medical error, we will investigate your delivery for evidence to support a medical malpractice claim. Contact our birth injury lawyers at (214) 974-4121.
- Medscape: Birth Trauma