Hospital Harm to Pregnant Women
One of life’s greatest moments in the birth of a child. Bringing a new life into this world is almost always at the top of every parent’s happiest days of their lives. However, even in countries with advanced medical care, pregnancy is still dangerous for the baby and the mother. Care must be taken for the entire gestation period to ensure that mother and child will have the best chance at a healthy birth. Any injury that does occur can result in harm to both mother and child. Unfortunately, an injury that occurs as the result of the hospital’s negligence is hard to accept and can affect the rest of a family’s life. Retaining the services of an experienced medical malpractice attorney is essential to ensuring that compensation for the costs associated with birth injuries is forthcoming. Recently, however, a disturbing trend has emerged, in which maternal death, at the hands of hospitals and other healthcare facilities, has been on the rise. A discussion of medical malpractice, and especially in light of maternal and/or birth injuries, will follow below.
Medical malpractice is a specialized form of negligence applied to an individual having professional training in medicine, and the law requires any claims of negligent behavior by a medical professional by filed within two years of the date of the injury, within two years from the time the injury was discovered, or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence. In order to be successful in a medical malpractice matter, an injured individual must prove the following elements:
- That the medical professional was subject to a standard of care applicable to his/her specialty (in the case of a birth injury, the medical professional will most likely be an obstetrician/gynecologist, so the medical standard of care would be based that type of training and experience, as opposed to a surgeon or general physician);
- That the medical professional failed to adhere to this standard of care; and
- That the failure directly led to the injury complained of by the individual.
Birth and Maternal Injuries
As alluded to above, childbirth can be a very dangerous activity. This is especially true for the soon-to-be newborn, who is much more vulnerable and susceptible to injuries than other individuals. Nevertheless, improper care during a pregnancy may injure the mother as well. Some of the more common maternal injuries include the following:
- Uterine infections, which are most often caused by negligence in techniques used to induce labor;
- Infections, typically resulting from the failure to obtain a cervical culture to verify whether the mother is a strep carrier, as well as the failure to prescribe or administer the appropriate antibiotics;
- Failure to diagnose gestational diabetes, which may lead to high blood pressure or preeclampsia;
- Untreated preeclampsia;
- Negligence in identifying potential placenta abnormalities;
- Injuries resulting from the failure to offer or perform elective Cesarean section (C-section) delivery;
- Uterine rupture, especially prevalent in mothers who have previously delivered by C-section, but who are now delivering through vaginal birth;
- Uterine rupture, in this case, due to the use of drugs to induce labor
- Uterine prolapse, due to overstretching and weakening of the uterus during a difficult delivery; and
- Nerve damage, which can result in the required use of a walker or a wheelchair for several weeks or months after delivery, and, in some cases, the mother may never fully recover leg sensation, strength and functionality.
Seek Legal Advice
If you have suffered an injury while pregnant and you believe the cause of the injury can be attributed to substandard medical care at a hospital or other healthcare facility, contact the experienced attorneys at Pita Weber & Del Prado as soon as possible. Our medical malpractice attorneys know how to build a strong injury claim and are waiting to take your call. If we believe that the hospital can be held responsible for the injuries, we will develop a strategy to obtain the most compensation possible. Contact our Miami office today for an initial consultation.