Medical Malpractice

All parents hope their child is born without complications. However, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. While medical malpractice rates in babies are significantly lower, medical malpractice is a lot more common than you may think. It is essential that the medical professional in question is held accountable to avoid harming others.

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other medical professional harms a patient in their care by failing to provide a standard of care. The injury sustained through improper care could be temporary or permanent and could require further treatment or lifestyle changes. In children, cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy are common birth injuries due to medical negligence.

Birth injuries may be caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain or a head trauma suffered during birth that was not resolved or addressed in time to prevent permanent injury. Failure to deliver a baby using the proper procedures to avoid these injuries could be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

If you suspect medical malpractice is involved in your baby’s birth injury, it is essential to work with a lawyer experienced in medical malpractice cases. Bringing cases against doctors can be difficult. It requires a skilled attorney who can thoroughly investigate the incident and build a strong case.

Medical Malpractice and Birth Injury Examples

There are many incidents that could constitute medical malpractice. Negligent care before, during or after birth can result in injury and harm to the baby and/or mother. If the doctor or medical professional is shown to have failed to provide a standard of care for the baby and mother, it could be considered medical malpractice.

Violations of a standard of care before, during or after labor include circumstances like:

  • An injury caused by negligent care, such as the misuse of vacuums and forceps
  • Failure to diagnose a pre-existing medical condition in the mother, resulting in an injury to the baby
  • Misdiagnosing a birth injury, such as a cerebral palsy misdiagnosis
  • Surgical errors
  • Improperly administering medications
  • Lack of aftercare for mother and child
  • Failure to order proper tests for the mother before delivery, such as blood tests
  • Failure to recognize symptoms of jaundice or other neonatal conditions, which can advance to severe medical complications

When doctors or other medical professionals act negligently in any of the above ways or more, it can cause conditions with lifelong effects for the baby. The mother can also suffer from injuries wrongfully sustained during birth, potentially affecting her health permanently. Some of these issues include uterine rupture, blood clots, infections, hemorrhage or pre-eclampsia.

Cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy and spinal cord injuries are examples of birth injuries that can be caused by medical malpractice when doctors fail to provide the proper standard of care.

How Common Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is more common than you may think. In 2012, over $3 Billion was awarded in medical malpractice compensation payouts, which averages one successful claim every 43 seconds. Similarly, in the United Kingdom, medical malpractice cases are on the rise and cost their economy £1.5 Billion (nearly $2 Billion) annually.

Medical malpractice is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. after cancer and heart disease.

Medical malpractice statistics cover patients of all ages, but birth injuries are still a common occurrence in malpractice cases. Many hospitals and health care centers carefully avoid these topics of conversation for obvious reasons. However, it is essential to know that negligence is not impossible.

It is estimated that medical negligence kills 200,000 patients in the US. annually. Yet, only 15% of personal injury claims involve medical malpractice, and more than 80% of those claims end with no payment. The road to compensation may be long, but by working with an experienced lawyer, you improve your chances of obtaining justice for your child.

Filing Medical Malpractice Claims

If you suspect medical malpractice is involved in your child’s birth injury, the first thing to do is contact a lawyer experienced in medical malpractice cases. An experienced attorney will take the time to fully review your case, looking deeper into what happened and how. Your attorney will ask for your medical records and any other evidence to determine the viability of your case.

Many people feel guilty about filing lawsuits against their doctor or hospital, not wanting to get them in trouble. However, if you have a legitimate case, filing a medical malpractice claim is an important step to ensuring the future care of your child. It could also avoid harm to babies and families in the future.

Seeking Legal Compensation for Medical Malpractice

When medical malpractice is involved, it is your right to seek legal compensation for your child’s birth injury. Seeking legal compensation for medical malpractice involves filing a lawsuit and hiring an attorney to represent you and fight on your behalf. Lawsuits are complicated, expensive and can be time-consuming, so be sure to seek a highly experienced lawyer.

To initiate a medical malpractice lawsuit, your attorney will file a complaint on your behalf. This will be presented to the defendant and, if necessary, the court. Your attorney will advise on the best legal option for your case, which can include a settlement agreement or the opportunity to go to trial and have your case heard by a jury.

Legal compensation for medical malpractice varies by state. Some states cap compensation at $250,000 and others allow amounts of $500,000 or more, depending on the case. Speak to an experienced lawyer in your state for more accurate information.

Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is complex. However, with the help of a lawyer, you can potentially secure the resources needed to provide long-term care for your baby. Some birth injuries can leave children disabled for life. Compensation can help cover these medical costs as well as any loss of earnings, adaptive equipment, specialist care and more.

Do not be afraid to ask for a second opinion or interview multiple attorneys when pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit. You must be confident in your lawyer’s abilities and feel comfortable with them representing your case.

Contact a Child Birth Injury Lawyer Today

If your child has suffered a birth injury caused by medical malpractice, it is important to seek legal advice right away. Choose an experienced birth injury law firm that is competent in medical malpractice cases.

If you are interested in pursuing a medical malpractice claim, call the Birth Injury Justice Center today at 800-914-1562 to get a free medical case review.

Author:Birth Injury Justice Center
Birth Injury Justice Center

The Birth Injury Justice Center was founded in 2003 by a team of legal professionals to educate and empower victims and families affected by birth injuries. Our team is devoted to providing you with the best resources and legal information for all types of birth injuries.

Last modified: June 21, 2019

View 5 References
  1. Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research, “An Introduction to Medical Malpractice in the United States”. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2628513/. Accessed on December 28, 2018.
  2. Washington Post, “Researchers: Medical errors now third leading cause of death in United States”. Retrieved from:https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/05/03/researchers-medical-errors-now-third-leading-cause-of-death-in-united-states/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.b746352ffeee. Accessed on December 28, 2018.
  3. American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys, “What is Medical Malpractice?”. Retrieved from: https://www.abpla.org/what-is-malpractice. Accessed on December 28, 2018.
  4. Forbes, “10 Things You Want To Know About Medical Malpractice”. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/05/16/10-things-you-want-to-know-about-medical-malpractice/#e6166aa416b7. Accessed on December 28, 2018.
  5. The Guardian, “Cost of NHS negligence claims likely to double by 2023, says study”. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jun/23/cost-of-nhs-negligence-claims-is-likely-to-double-by-2023-study-medical-legal. Accessed on December 28, 2018.