Parents-to-be understand that the process of delivering a child can be extremely precarious, with a variety of things that go wrong. What many pregnant women and their partners don’t realize, however, is that a shocking number of birth injuries are actually caused by the negligent actions of obstetricians and members of their delivery team.
Mistakes in the Delivery Room
In modern medicine, there is a generally accepted protocol for all medical procedures, including labor and delivery. Obstetricians are expected to meet certain high standards of care and to make medical decisions that protect the safety of their patients. When medical professionals deviate from standard practices and take action that is inconsistent with “reasonable care,” mothers and babies can suffer serious harm.
There are a variety of tasks to manage once a patient has gone into labor — including monitoring the baby’s heart rate, position, and progress in the birth canal. The delivery team must also monitor the mother’s vital signs to identify any signs that the mother or baby may be in danger.
One bad decision can result in a lifetime of hardship for an infant and the parents of injured babies. Birth injuries can result from failure to monitor and respond to emergencies, use of excessive force, administering the wrong medication, or failing to order a C-section on time. There have also been cases involving faulty monitoring equipment, where the manufacturer of the failing devices were held financially responsible for injuries to babies and mothers.
If your child was harmed during delivery and you feel the injuries were preventable, you may enlist the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney to bring a claim against a doctor, nurse, hospital or birthing facility, drug manufacturer, or medical device manufacturer. Most birth injury claims allege that a doctor either took a harmful action or failed to prevent harm, resulting in severe injury.
Causation is a legal term that describes the link between cause and effect. Essentially, your attorney will set out to prove that your doctor’s actions directly caused your child’s birth injuries. In addition, the team will also need to show that the medical care was inadequate or inconsistent with accepted standards. To effectively communicate all of this information to a judge or jury, attorneys use expert testimony of medical professionals to first demonstrate what today’s standards are, and then to demonstrate how your doctor’s care fell short of these standards.