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When is a Birth Injury Considered Medical Malpractice?

There is no more elating and exhilarating time in a couple’s life than when they are expecting a child. There exists a heavenly mix of anticipations, expectations, hope, joy, and promises as the couple waits for the supreme moment when they will bring their child into this world. They take the utmost care of their baby during the period of pregnancy in order to ensure that the baby is born healthy in all respects. But, even after taking all the precautions and putting forth their best efforts during pregnancy, labor, and delivery birth injuries can occur. Complications can always happen that put both mother and the child at risk.

However, some complications and birth injuries are the direct consequence of medical negligence. In these cases, the family may be entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice claim.

What are some common reasons behind the occurrence of birth injuries?

Inexperienced and negligent medical professionals make a variety of mistakes that could result in birth injuries to both mother and the baby. While some injuries might be  minor and the baby and the mother might heal with time, some injuries are so grave and life-threatening that it might result in the death of the mother and baby, or the child may suffer a lifetime of physical or mental problems.

Following are some of the common reasons that birth injuries occur:

  • Improper use of tools that aid and assist during childbirth.
  • Failure to detect fetal distress.
  • Failing to detect the need for an emergency cesarean (C-section).
  • Not controlling or monitoring the oxygen requirements.

Following are some of the common causes of maternal injuries:

  • Failure to prevent and/or control haemorrhage.
  • Failure to prevent and/or control the tearing of the perineum.
  • Failure to detect and treat preeclampsia.
  • Failure to detect and treat maternal diabetes.
  • Failure to detect and treat maternal infections.

What are some common examples of doctor negligence?

Following are some common situations indicative of doctor negligence:

  • The doctor fails to inform parents of their child’s abnormalities, resulting in wrongful birth.

In this case, the doctor fails in his/her duty to inform the parents of the abnormalities present in the child during the period of pregnancy. If they had the information before childbirth, they have the option to consider elective abortion rather than giving birth to a baby with abnormalities and giving the child a life full of medical complications.

  • The surgeon performs an operation to prevent childbirth, but the patient does get pregnant afterward.

In this situation, the parents don’t want children, but the woman becomes pregnant nonetheless because of an error in the surgery. This case is an example of wrongful pregnancy. Even if the child is born healthy, parents still have the right to file a wrongful pregnancy med mal lawsuit against the surgeon.

  • The doctor fails to diagnose certain medical conditions that put the lives of both the mother and the child at risk.

This can happen due to miscommunication or inexperience on the part of one or more medical professionals. Along with the failure to diagnose, other errors can occur such as misdiagnosis or a delay in diagnosing certain medical conditions. Following are some major examples of medical conditions that can put the lives of both mother and the child at risk:

  • Anemia
  • Maternal infections
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Preeclampsia
  • Placental issues
  • Prolapsed umbilical cord
  • rH incompatibility
  • Uterine rupture
  • Fetal abnormalities

Filing a claim for medical malpractice

If there is an injury to the infant during childbirth, parents, with their medical malpractice attorney, can file a med mal lawsuit against the responsible parties. They can pursue a claim for compensation on behalf of their baby. This may include financial damages as well as compensation for the pain and suffering they and their infant are experiencing in the present, as well as what the family may have to face in the future. The same goes for maternal injuries as well. If there is an injury as a result of medical malpractice to the mother before or during childbirth, she can pursue compensation for that.

However, please note that proving medical malpractice might be tough. Make sure that you hire a knowledgeable and experienced medical malpractice attorney who has access to expert medical professionals who can review the medical records and provide guidance through the entirety of your case.

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