When mothers head to the hospital to give birth and have an issue during delivery, they expect for the doctor that they are seeing to provide reasonable care to them. However, when a physician fails to provide a certain level of care, it can result in the serious injury – possibly even death – of the mother or the baby. Birth injuries come in many forms and sizes, and statistics show that six to eight of every 1,000 infants are injured during birth. If your baby was injured during labor and delivery, can you sue? Ultimately, in order to file a birth injury lawsuit, you must first prove that negligence occurred. Three of the basic elements of a medical negligence case in terms of a birth injury are as follows:
1. A Duty to Exercise Reasonable Care to the Mother and the Baby.
Did the medical practitioner have a legal obligation to provide reasonable and standard care to you as well as your baby? As a general rule, when a physician makes the decision to work with you through labor and delivery, he or she automatically accepts the legal obligation to exercise safe practices that are within the acceptable standard of care.
2. There Was a Breach of That Duty.
Did the medical provider miss the mark when it came to his or her obligation to provide reasonable care to you and your baby? In order to show this, the acceptable standard of care must first be established. Typically, this is done by calling in qualified, top-notch health care providers for their expert testimony. If the doctor fell below the established standard of care, then he or she breached his or her legal obligation to you and your infant.
3. That the Breach and Harm Resulted in Injuries and Damages.
Did the negligence of the medical physician result in an injury to your child? If so, it must be demonstrated that the doctor's lack of sufficient care directly resulted in a birth injury. For example, hospital protocol requires that physicians and other medical staff wash their hands thoroughly before dealing with a patient or performing a procedure, including delivering a baby. If the baby is born with no complications and is one-hundred percent healthy, then there is no merit to a birth injury lawsuit, despite the fact that hospital protocol was broken. However, if there was indeed an infection that developed after birth, it may be able to be linked by to the doctor or the doctor's staff for failing to wash their hands before delivery.
Another example could be the umbilical cord getting wrapped around your baby's neck. If your baby died on your way to the hospital, then the doctor could not be held liable for the baby's death. However, if the death or brain damage of your baby occurred after your arrival at the hospital and your doctor did not diagnose and remedy the issue early enough, the doctor may be able to be held responsible.
If your baby suffered an injury during the labor and delivery process, it is crucial that you speak to a qualified medical malpractice or personal injury attorney as soon as possible to help you determine what options you might have and collect more info.