One of the most common types of medical malpractice cases results from injuries sustained during childbirth. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, Obstetrician-gynecologists (OBGYNs) are the defendants in 19 percent of cases, and one-fifth of plaintiff patients are newborns.
There are a number of ways in which a baby can be harmed by medical negligence or malpractice during the birthing process. Below are some examples.
Improper Use of a Medical Device
Some instances of medical malpractice in the birthing process occur when a doctor or other medical practitioner improperly uses tools or medical devices, such as forceps or a vacuum. This may include:
- Using a tool or device that is not appropriate and causes harm to the baby
- Failing to use a tool or device when it is required when providing the accepted standard of care
- Using a device in a manner that is not appropriate, or failing to exercise reasonable care when using it
Improper use of devices can result in serious injuries to the baby, including brain damage.
Cerebral palsy is one of the most common injuries to babies resulting from medical negligence. A child who has cerebral palsy usually displays hindered body movement and muscle coordination. In birth negligence cases, cerebral palsy is usually caused by lack of oxygen to the infant’s brain during labor or birth. Just because a baby is born with cerebral palsy does not mean the doctor or other health care professional was negligent. There are times, however, when cerebral palsy could have and should have been prevented. Some of the potential facts that lead to professional negligence include:
- failure to treat certain infections in the mother during pregnancy that are know to cause cerebral palsy, OR failure to provide informed consent of the risks thereof
Genetic Counseling has become more popular among parents. After all, the more information you have before having a child, the better, right? Not always. Doctors giving out erroneous information have led to medical negligence claims. Some factual situations would include:
1. not taking a complete family history; if you don’t have the right information from the start, it is difficult to predict the future
2. even if you have the right information; the doctor may recommend the wrong testing
3. even if you use the correct tests, the doctor may interpret the results poorly and give an improper recommendation
In order to prove that the defendant is liable, or responsible for the damage, we need to prove that their conduct fell below the generally accepted standard of care. For birth injury cases, that usually means hiring an expert who can speak to the accepted procedures and standard of care. At trial, that expert will testify whether or not the defendant’s behavior was consistent with the standard of care. The jury will then use the expert’s testimony to determine whether the defendant is liable. If we take your case, we will pay any up-front costs associated with hiring an expert.