A leading cause for medical malpractice lawsuits are cases involving childbirth. When there is an injury to an unborn child or the mother during labor and delivery, legal action is often necessary.
Not all problems or injuries are medical malpractice. Some are unavoidable. You must either prove that the treatment you received was medically inappropriate or the doctor failed to use the proper skill while performing the treatment or procedures that caused your injuries.
To prove these things, you must show that another medical professional with the same knowledge would have exercised a different level of skill. This means that the doctor fell below the standard benchmark of medical care.
It is important to note that expert testimony is needed. There are times when a pregnancy is high-risk, and certain situations call for the doctor to make a difficult choice in the best interest of the child or mother. The doctor may have to make decisions quickly to save their lives or risk injury to the child or mother. However, warning signs should flash when a pregnancy is normal and progressing as expected, but the child ends up with an unexpected injury. This situation demands an explanation.
What are some examples of childbirth-related malpractice?
- Caput Succedaneum
- This is where there is swelling of the scalp or head of the baby due to suction used during delivery. Sometimes bruising is also present and often the physical signs fade after a few days.
- Erb’s Palsy
- This is where the nerves are damaged due to excessive stretching of the neck and shoulders. This is more common than people realize. In fact, it is estimated that 2 out of every 1,000 births result in this problem. While most babies heal over time, some require surgery.
- This is another issue related to a vacuum delivery. Blood collects between the skin and the cranial bone. This can be a precursor to jaundice. Most babies will recover within about three months.
- Birth fractures
- This is when the baby suffers from bone fractures, like collarbone or clavicle fractures. It is not always a malpractice issue. Fractures sometimes happen during childbirth no matter what. But if the doctor knew of a delivery issue and had time to order a C-section, but neglected to do so, it could fall under the category of negligence.
Many other incidents can cause injury to the unborn child or mother that can be attributed to malpractice. If the doctor should have known but failed to exercise proper care and treatment, and an injury occurs, it is malpractice. It will require experts to explain why this is the case and an experienced medical malpractice attorney to pursue the case.
If the mother or child lose their lives, the case becomes a wrongful death case. This usually happens one of two ways. The baby dies before birth because the mother die or the mother does not die but the baby is injured, and it leads to death either in utero or during delivery.
It becomes more complex if the fetus dies in utero. Wrongful death claims are usually for a child that dies during childbirth or shortly after childbirth due to injury that is caused by or could have been avoided by the doctor.
For more information, contact a medical malpractice lawyer today.