The miracle of childbirth is a wonderful event. Unfortunately, it does not come without risks. Unforeseen complications can place both mother and infant at risk at various points before, during, and after the birth itself. Many of these issues have the potential to cause birth injuries. Whether they are avoided or not is in the hands of the doctors and other medical professionals tasked to help you.
When the doctor fails to reasonably act as another similarly skilled person in the same line of work would in such a situation, they have violated their duty of care to their patients. If the infant sustains a birth injury as a result of the doctor’s actions or inactions, a Maryland court may determine that the doctor was at fault for the injuries. These instances are particularly common in the case of unnecessary C-sections.
You deserve the best legal protection for your family against medical negligence that may cause harm to your loved ones. At Bennett & Heyman, our Baltimore birth injury lawyers will work tirelessly to ensure that those responsible for the birth injuries that you or your child suffered will answer for what they have done. For a free consultation about our services, call us at (410) 429-7856.
Medical Negligence as the Cause of a Birth Injury in Maryland
Medical professionals go through rigorous training on the process of childbirth and care of both infant and mother at all stages. Unfortunately, some staff members may choose to shirk their responsibilities or fail to meet the standard of care that they have for their patients. When these professionals fail at meeting this standard, they are at fault for any subsequent birth injuries.
Determining whether a birth injury occurred because of medical negligence requires utilizing a four-step process:
- establish the medical standard of care,
- determine whether the medical professionals met the appropriate standard of care,
- if not, whether their failure to meet the standard was the cause of the birth injury, and
- identify the damages resulting from the birth injury.
This process is similar to the normal process of determining negligence (such as a slip-and-fall in a parking lot) but differs in that it may require understanding of difficult concepts. Medical professionals also shoulder a much more substantial burden when it comes to their standard of care.
Establish the Medical Standard of Care
The medical standard of care is a legal way of describing what a similarly skilled and trained professional in the same line of work might do in the same circumstances with the same information. This way, nurses won’t be compared to doctors, and obstetricians won’t be compared to surgeons. This step typically requires expert testimony from some similarly skilled and trained person.
Care Provided vs. Standard of Care
Once the standard is set, you can then compare what was actually done (or not done) to that standard. If the care provided does not measure up to the established standard, then the provider is “in breach” or violated their duty to the infant.
Legal Cause of Birth Injury
Even if the medical professional is determined to be in breach of the standard of care, proving whether their actions are responsible for the birth injury can be complex. For instance, if a doctor erroneously failed to identify a complication during birth, the doctor may have breached their standard of care. Yet, if the doctor had correctly identified the complication, the doctor still may not have been able to do anything to prevent the subsequent birth injury.
A birth injury lawsuit in Maryland will not accomplish anything if no damages resulted from the birth injury. Damages could include the cost of additional medical care that became necessary as a result of the birth injury, as well as continued expenses associated with any long-term disabilities sustained by either the infant as a result of the birth injury. Courts will also consider the pain and suffering associated with a birth injury, which can be traumatizing for a family at such an emotional and critical moment.
Can C-Sections Cause Birth Injuries in Maryland?
One extremely notorious cause of birth injuries in the United States are unnecessary cesarean sections. C-sections are a useful and sometimes life-saving tool that is available to medical professionals for when unforeseen complications arise during labor, such as breech (fetus positioned improperly), fetal distress, maternal health issues, or twins or triplets.
However, some doctors elect to do C-sections because they are easier and less time consuming, even when they are accompanied by more risk. In fact, C-sections are elected in almost a third of all live births in the United States today. Below are some of the most common infant birth injuries associated with unnecessary C-sections:
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Klumpke’s palsy
- Skin lacerations
- Brain damage
- Broken bones
If your doctor opted to do a C-section and you or your child sustained a birth injury as a result, you may be able to pursue legal action for the harms that the doctor caused. Speak to a Maryland birth injury lawyer immediately about your options for recovery.
We Will Fight for You in Your Birth Injury Lawsuit in Maryland
At Bennett & Heyman, we recognize the difficulties that come with complications during childbirth. You deserve the financial compensation to care for your family after undergoing such an ordeal, and our Maryland birth injury attorneys want to get it for you. Call us today at (410) 429-7856 for your first consultation, free of charge.