If your child suffered a birth injury, you may be confused about why it happened and worried about how you will cover the associated costs. Your child may require expensive therapy, mobility aides, or specialized childcare. These are expenses that you may not have anticipated and that you may not be able to afford. If your child’s birth injury was caused by the negligence of a healthcare practitioner, then you may have a claim for medical malpractice.
How can you determine who was responsible for causing the birth injury or whether someone who attended at your child’s birth was negligent? Medical malpractice is a very technical field of law. An experienced birth malpractice lawyer can help you to determine if you have a case. However, you should realize that doctors are not the only professionals who can be sued for medical malpractice.
If a midwife attended your labour and delivery, she may be responsible for your child’s injuries if she acted negligently. A midwife may have failed to detect signs that the fetus was in distress or failed to transfer the mother and fetus to the hospital once signs of distress were apparent.
If you gave birth in a hospital, there was likely at least one nurse in attendance for much of your labour and delivery. During labour, nurses are responsible for monitoring the fetal heart rate and administering medications. A nurse may have been negligent if he or she failed to detect a problem or change in the fetal heart rate. A nurse may also have administered the incorrect medication or given the wrong dose of a medication. Nurses are also responsible for following procedures that maintain a clean and sterile environment. If your nurse failed to follow these procedures, this failure may qualify as medical negligence.
Hospitals themselves can also be held responsible for medical malpractice if a child’s birth injury was caused by a procedure put in place by the hospital. Hospitals have procedures that cover everything from the sterilization of medical instruments to how nurses and other staff are expected to respond to any conceivable emergency situation. In many situations, staff will follow the procedure established by the hospital. It is possible that the procedure itself falls below the expected standard of care.
It is also possible that more than one person contributed to your child’s birth injury. It is often impossible to establish whether any medical practitioner behaved negligently without a professional opinion from another doctor, nurse or midwife. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible to determine who might be responsible for your child’s birth injury.