When you are pregnant, you have a number of expectations. You follow the diet guidelines, the physical guidelines that allow you to be active and healthy without risking or challenging the gestation of the fetus, and you make preparations such as a college fund, a room, clothes, toys, and other milestones for you and your baby.
There is nothing more frustrating than going through nine months of a healthy pregnancy and then experiencing someone’s “mistake” that results in a huge alteration in your plans. You want your baby to be normal and healthy, but now your baby is in pain, and it is your responsibility to make new plans. How did this happen? One of the ways this could happen is due to a negligent medical provider, sometimes people that you trust, such as the hospital staff or the midwife.
How Can the Hospital Staff Cause a Birth Injury?
Everyone has heard horror stories about negligent hospital staff switching babies at birth, but there are other ways in which infants can suffer due to the negligence of the hospital staff.
For example, Erb’s palsy is a medical disorder that may develop if the hospital staff attempts to pick the baby up from his or her arms instead of securely from the back and neck. Other injuries may occur if a negligent hospital staff member administers the inappropriate drug or the inappropriate dose of a drug.
Hospital staff members are encouraged to administer vaccinations and to perform screenings for your infant such as hearing, infections, and screening for other potential conditions. Any number of mistakes can occur with these tests and screenings, so it’s best to have one person observing the baby at all times, asking the medical staff people what they’re doing, and to make sure no mistakes come to fruition.
What Can a Midwife Do to Cause a Birth Injury?
Just because you have your baby at home is no guarantee that a birth injury cannot happen. In fact, a detail that frightens many mothers is that a midwife is generally not trained as an emergency medical technician (EMT), which means that if there are any complications with the mother or the baby during delivery, the midwife cannot aid or prevent, aside from calling 911.
If a baby hasn’t been breathing for longer than a few minutes, there can be intense brain damage done that will make the child intellectually disabled or cause cerebral palsy at the very least, and sometimes cause death.
This is especially disconcerting when you consider that the average response time for an ambulance and medically trained staff is about 20 minutes. Additionally, if a labor lasts for longer than 18 hours, the compression to the baby’s head is likely to cause a brain injury. There are solutions to speed up a labor in the hospital, whereas a midwife may not be so prepared at your home.
Who is Liable if a Hospital Staff or Midwife Causes Injuries to a Baby?
Liability will depend upon where the injuries take place. For example, if a nurse is hired by a hospital, it’s the hospital’s responsibility to ensure that the nurse is qualified and experienced. If the hospital hires an incompetent nurse without first screening for education and experience, the hospital may be liable for negligent birth injuries.
In some instances, a pharmaceutical company may be liable for damages, especially if they fail to give warning about possible side effects and risks. However, in many instances, a physician has the primary role in advising patients on the risks of medications.