If you’re expecting a child, congratulations.
While it may not be a pleasant subject, parents need to know that if a child suffers a birth injury in Florida because of a healthcare provider’s negligence, the parents are entitled by law to compensation.
If you’re a parent or expect to be, you may need to know where to turn for the legal assistance, compensation, and justice that your family may need.
ARE BIRTH INJURIES STILL A CONCERN IN 2018?
Birth injuries, even here in 2018, are still far too frequent. Approximately 25,000 children each year in our nation sustain birth-related injuries due to a healthcare provider’s negligence.
Everyone can probably agree that a birth should be a time for joy, but someone’s negligence too often turns a joyous event into a tragic event.
Birth injuries can be disabling and permanent. And birth injuries are almost always preventable.
WHEN A BIRTH INJURY OCCURS, WHAT ARE A FAMILY’S RIGHTS?
When medical negligence causes a child’s injury at birth in Florida, the parents are entitled to compensation covering the child’s ongoing medical care and treatment.
Parents need to know that a medical negligence claim arising from a birth injury does not have to be targeted exclusively at the doctor who performed the delivery.
When a hospital, a clinic, a drug manufacturer, nurse, anesthesiologist, or anyone else providing healthcare related to the birth was also negligent, that party can also be named in the parents’ medical malpractice claim.
HOW MAY A HOSPITAL BE LIABLE FOR A BIRTH INJURY?
In medical negligence cases, hospitals are sometimes held liable “directly” and are sometimes held liable “vicariously” for the negligence of one or more employees.
Hospitals must conduct comprehensive background checks when hiring. Every applicant’s licenses, education, and training must be verified.
If a comprehensive background check is not conducted, and a problem arises with the employee, a hospital may be liable for hiring negligence or for negligent supervision.
Even a doctor’s background must be checked before a doctor can be granted hospital privileges. A hospital can never permit an incompetent doctor to have access to patients.
Hospitals also have to ensure that a sufficient number of nurses and auxiliary personnel are on the premises 24 hours a day.
WHERE CAN PARENTS TURN IF THEIR NEWBORN IS INJURED AT BIRTH?
After a birth injury, parents should ask a trustworthy medical malpractice attorney to review the records and details of the birth and injury.
If an obstetrician, other healthcare providers, or a hospital itself committed medical malpractice resulting in a birth injury, parents have the right to take legal action.
Here in Florida, the parents of a child who sustained a birth injury must have the advice and representation of an experienced Orlando medical malpractice attorney – as early as possible.
WHAT WILL IT COST PARENTS TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THEIR RIGHTS?
Medical malpractice attorneys typically offer potential clients a free legal evaluation. It costs nothing to speak with an attorney, to learn more about your family’s rights, and to learn what your legal options are.
If a hospital employee’s negligence harms or injures a patient, the institution may be “vicariously” liable because of a legal doctrine with a Latin name: respondeat superior.
Under this doctrine, employers are liable for employee negligence when an employee is acting in the “scope” of the employee’s duties at the time of the negligence.
Respondeat superior permits parents with birth injury claims to bring legal action against the hospital, the obstetrician, and the other healthcare providers involved with the delivery.
Some obstetricians in some hospitals work as independent contractors – and not as hospital employees – so respondeat superior may not extend to the hospital in such circumstances.
Still, hospitals may nevertheless be found liable for their own negligence when they grant access and privileges to incompetent doctors.
CAN A DRUG MANUFACTURER HAVE LIABILITY FOR A BIRTH INJURY?
Can a drug company be sued for a birth injury? If the doctor was fully informed by the drug’s manufacturer regarding the risks connected to a drug, the manufacturer probably won’t be liable for any injuries. In these cases, liability falls directly on the physician.
A drug company has an obligation to ensure that any product it makes is reasonably trustworthy when taken as intended. A doctor’s obligation is to make sure the drug is appropriate and is used safely.
If a drug manufacturer fails to caution a doctor adequately about a drug’s possible risks, and a patient is injured as a result of that failure, the manufacturer in some cases could be found liable.
However, the negligence of delivery room personnel is the more frequent cause of cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, and brachial plexus injury. All are preventable.
HOW DOES MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE CAUSE BIRTH INJURIES?
The types of medical negligence that cause these birth injuries include:
1. the obstetrician’s excessive force or improper use of forceps
2. failure to order a necessary cesarean section
3. deprivation of oxygen to the child
Obstetricians must obtain conformed consent for the use of forceps during a delivery.
Oxygen deprivation during birth may cause HIE, or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. When it’s not fatal, HIE causes cerebral palsy and damages the child’s lung, heart, and kidneys.
A cesarean should be performed if necessary, but an unneeded cesarean section significantly raises the risk of a birth injury.
Obstetricians and hospital personnel must be prepared for any delivery room complication. Any failure to prevent a birth injury that’s preventable may be an instance of medical malpractice.
Parents, of course, also need to understand that birth injuries have a variety of causes. Not every birth injury is the result of medical malpractice.
HOW CAN A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER HELP?
If you are a parent in the state of Florida, and if your newborn child sustained an injury during the delivery process, an Orlando medical malpractice attorney can provide the legal advice, representation, and guidance you need.
Your lawyer will explain how the law applies to your case.
Medical malpractice lawsuits arising from birth injuries prevail only when the family and their attorney can demonstrate that medical negligence was a direct cause of the injury.
A good medical malpractice lawyer will review the medical documents and consult medical experts on your behalf to find out precisely how medical negligence caused your newborn’s birth injury.
WHY IS AN ATTORNEY’S HELP SO IMPERATIVE IN A BIRTH INJURY CASE?
As you may imagine, the most severe birth injuries require life-long medical treatment and expenses.
In a birth injury case, your family must have an experienced legal advocate fighting hard for every available dollar of compensation from each party with responsibility for the injury.
Birth injuries are always tragic and almost always preventable. Seeking justice for your child is always the right thing to do. Nothing could be more important.