A birth injury can be the most devastating thing to happen to a new family. These injuries often occur because of the negligence of an attending physician or nurse. Although medical care for a pregnant woman is very complicated and stressful, this does not excuse malpractice on the part of a doctor or healthcare professional who is held to a high professional standard.
There are many instances where a doctor could be found to be negligent:
- Neglecting to diagnose a defect or ailment of the mother or baby.
- Neglecting to notify of a defect or ailment.
- Using medical equipment incorrectly.
- Neglecting to actively monitor the status of the mother or baby.
Sometimes, injuries during delivery can be minor afflictions that the baby will recover from. But occasionally, a baby’s injuries can be life-threatening or permanently damaging. These are some possible situations that might involve negligence on the part of a doctor or healthcare provider:
- Cerebral Palsy – caused by a lack of oxygen to the baby. Doctors can be negligent if they do not properly monitor the oxygen levels of the baby.
- Brain Damage – any injuries to the head caused by medical tools or otherwise can be considered negligent.
- Premature Babies – any child that is premature requires specialized care; failure to do so can be considered negligent.
- C-sections – Cesarean sections pose great risks for both the mother and the baby, potentially causing profuse bleeding and long-term conditions that may be fatal or life-threatening.
However, it is important to distinguish between a “birth injury” and a “birth defect.” A birth injury happens during delivery and commonly occurs because of doctors and healthcare providers not following proper protocol. A birth defect is usually traced back to a genetic abnormality or the maternal environment, i.e. conditions that a baby gets from its mother during the gestation period. There have also been rare cases where a doctor had prescribed certain medication that affected the baby negatively. Negligence on the part of a doctor often involves a “birth injury” scenario, but doctors should look out for birth defects during the pregnancy as well.
There have been cases where a doctor failed to notify parents of a confirmed chronic illness, defect or condition, known as a “wrongful birth.” Parents who would have terminated their pregnancy if they had known about their child’s condition earlier would be eligible to file these types of suits. A “wrongful pregnancy” is another instance of doctor negligence, where a woman who had undergone sterilization became pregnant due to a botched surgery.
If it is believed that a birth injury could have been prevented, then a doctor could be held liable. An attorney may be able to help a victim get adequate compensation for any hardship that was endured due to the mistakes or carelessness of a medical professional.