The birth of a child is a joyous and wonderful time. Despite a healthy pregnancy, there are times when due to the negligence of a healthcare provider during delivery that lifelong birth injuries to the child may result. In the U.S., it is estimated that five babies per 1000 births are injured during birth, which is a problem that affects Philadelphia as well.
If a healthcare provider, such as the attending physician, specialist, nurse or hospital, failed to provide a reasonable standard of care under the given circumstance, then the negligent healthcare providers and hospital can be held civilly liable for the harm caused to the patient. The patient or the family, on behalf of the patient who has suffered harm, may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Birth injuries are a form of a medical malpractice lawsuit.
However, it is important to keep in mind that simply because a birth injury occurred does not mean that the family is automatically entitled to compensation for the harm. Instead, the main question to consider is whether or not the doctor and other healthcare professionals were negligent, and their actions or inactions resulted in the harm. So, for example, it is important to assess if the doctor failed to respond adequately to a complication during delivery or pregnancy, or was negligent during prenatal care and did not pay attention to the medication the mother was ingesting during pregnancy, which could have resulted in complications or harm to the baby.
Some may interchangeably use the terms birth defect and birth injury. Nonetheless, these are distinct and when assessing a situation, should not be confused. Birth defects refer to potential harm that could have occurred to the baby prior to its birth in the womb, due to environmental factors, toxins or prescription drugs. It is estimated that about 7% of all deliveries have a birth defect. A birth injury, on the other hand, refers to something that goes amiss during the delivery of an otherwise health pregnancy due to the negligence of a healthcare provider or because of some other unforeseen problem during delivery. If your child was injured during birth, contact one of our Philadelphia lawyers at The Colleran Firm today.
Source: Findlaw.com, “Birth Injury FAQ,” accessed Aug. 12, 2014