Birth is a traumatic experience, and infants often suffer injuries, even when medical professionals perform their duties as they should. As stated in the Merck Manual, many infants are born with minor injuries sustained during the birth process, most of which resolve without treatment. In some tragic cases, however, babies suffer serious, disabling, preventable injuries caused by the negligent acts of the healthcare providers attending the birth.
In the worst cases, a baby does not survive. The infant and fetal death rates in Florida are slightly higher than the national average. Florida Health reports 6.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in a recent year, as compared to 6.0 nationwide. Thankfully, the infant death rate has been steadily decreasing since 1970, both statewide and across the U.S.A.
Medical Malpractice and Birth Injury
Although birth injuries can be the result of the trauma of birth itself, many serious injuries are preventable, if healthcare professionals provide the accepted standard of care. Medical negligence can cause injury to the mother and child, during pregnancy and during labor and delivery. Examples of medical negligence that can result in serious birth injuries include the following:
- Doctors fail to diagnose and treat dangerous conditions such as high blood pressure during pregnancy.
- Physicians prescribe drugs for the mother that cause harm to the fetus.
- Nurses fail to properly monitor the mother and baby during labor.
- Anesthesiologists fail to correctly administer medications.
- Medical providers fail to detect that the child is not getting enough oxygen (hypoxia).
- Doctors fail to order necessary C-sections.
- Improper use of forceps or vacuum causes injury to the child.
When a drug prescribed during pregnancy causes injury to the unborn child, there may be more than one potentially liable party. Parents of the injured child may have a case against the doctor who prescribed the medication, the pharmacist who dispensed it, and/or the pharmaceutical company that manufactured and released the drug on the market.
Proving a Birth Injury Claim
If your child was injured through medical malpractice during pregnancy or labor and delivery, the best action to take is to consult with an experienced birth injury lawyer as soon as possible. Medical malpractice cases are complex and technical, and expert witnesses must be called upon to establish medical negligence as being the cause of your child’s injuries.
To have a valid claim against a medical provider, it will need to be established that the doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other medical professional failed to provide adequate care or medication advice for you and your baby. You must show that the provider failed to perform under the generally accepted standard of medical care.
A physician has a legal duty to perform to the level of care at which a reasonably competent professional in the same field, with the same training, could be expected to perform in the same or similar circumstances.
In birth injury and other medical malpractice lawsuits, the success of a birth injury case will be based in part upon the testimony of expert witnesses. Our firm has access to highly respected medical professionals to provide this testimony.
In a birth injury case, your birth injury attorney will need to establish certain elements of your claim:
- The healthcare provider concerned owed a duty of care to you and your baby.
- The provider breached that duty by failing to perform to the standard of care at which a reasonably competent professional would have performed in the same circumstances.
- The provider’s breach of duty or failure to perform to accepted medical standards caused harm to your child (or to yourself).
Birth Injury Attorney in St. Augustine
At Morgan & Morgan, we understand the physical and emotional consequences of birth injury, and the financial strain it can cause a family. Our medical malpractice lawyers have the knowledge and trial experience to fight for the compensation both you and your child deserve.
We also have a successful track record, having recered many multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for our clients. In a recent case, for example, we won a $38,750,000 verdict for serious injury resulting from failure to perform a timely C-section.
If your child has suffered birth injury as a result of an act of medical negligence, contact our St. Augustine office for a free case evaluation. We can tell you if you have a case and what damages you may be entitled to claim. We work on a contingency fee basis – you will pay us no fees until we win your case for you.