Negligent Doctors and Birth Injuries

nurseThere is an old saying about never attributing to malice what might be explained by ignorance, and it is important to remember this when it comes to an issue as painful as birth injuries. After all, doctors are sworn to protect the health and well being of patients, and so a mother or baby injured during birth may be a case of negligence or professional failure on the part of the physician or medical team, but it is never intended. This does not excuse any avoidable mistakes, but it is helpful to remember that such errors are usually purely accidental. They are also, however, avoidable, and when they do occur it is often deemed a matter of medical malpractice. You might find that surprising because you might think of malpractice as a blatant disregard of protocols or procedures. Malpractice can and does apply to something like pregnancy and childbirth when the medical care is not up to standard quality. Oversight or failure to monitor a pregnancy or delivery properly is indeed malpractice and the results can be tragic. One of the most common ways this is seen is in birth injuries to the child or the mother (or both). Negligence might also apply to the doctor or medical team that:
  • Failed to inform the parents of an abnormality in the fetus, and this results in what is known as wrongful birth.
  • Failed to prevent pregnancy through a medical procedure such as hysterectomy, and these results in a wrongful pregnancy.
  • Failed to properly diagnose in a timely fashion, and this results in everything from birth injury to the death of the baby or the mother.

Understanding Birth Injury

It is important to understand that malpractice exists if any of those three issues occur, but also if a mother or baby suffers some sort of injury due to the treatment received during pregnancy and delivery. Consider that many women suffer health crises or injuries during delivery because their medical team makes a mistake or fails to diagnose something that should not have been missed. Examples of this include a failure to diagnose or treat maternal infection, maternal diabetes, preeclampsia, hemorrhaging, or perineal tearing. Any of these issues can harm a mother or a newborn. Additionally, birth injury might include harm to the baby that is of a temporary nature (such as bruising or even a broken bone), but which can also result in a permanent disability (such as oxygen deprivation that leads to brain damage). The reasons behind such injuries are numerous, but include the use of improper tools, failing to detect fetal distress, failing to monitor and amend oxygen, and failing to do a cesarean section in a timely fashion (normally after 18 hours of labor). These things may seem like obvious issues that should be monitored and detected, and yet there are many instances in which they occur each year. In almost every case it is the physician or medical team that was negligent in their duties. Even when it is issues like wrongful pregnancy or birth, or a failure to diagnose a medical issue, it is commonly viewed as a form of medical malpractice. In almost all such cases, the courts recognize the negligence and will tend to award damages to varying degrees. Though parents may have a good relationship with their physician and medical team, when something goes wrong and it is due to negligence, it is important to pursue it as a legal matter. Birth injuries can result in lifelong medical issues, and carrying such financial and emotional burdens should not be something that parents face without proper compensation. Source:
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