Medical malpractice pregnancy cases can be devastating for expectant families. This type of medical malpractice can create damaging situations, in some cases leading to serious injury and even death. Unfortunately, many families may never pursue medical malpractice pregnancy cases, either because they don’t believe their claim is worth pursuing, or they are not aware that malpractice has occurred until it’s too late.
Wrongdoing and dissatisfaction do not always necessitate a medical malpractice claim.
For example, if a nurse had to try multiple times to stick an IV it wouldn’t qualify as medical malpractice. While inconvenient and even a bit painful, this temporary pain has no long-term consequences that will affect your overall well being or quality of life.
True medical malpractice claims that hold up in court typically require there to be permanent harm, long-term disability, catastrophic injury or death as a result of the action, inaction, or negligence of doctors, nurses, or other medical staff.
Medical staff have an inherent prerogative to intervene once it is clear that something is wrong and actively prevent these situations from happening. There are procedures in place that should be followed to prevent certain scenarios from arising. Failure to follow procedure or performance under the standard of care that results in the injury to or death of a patient can be used as evidence of medical negligence and malpractice.
Likewise, the use of improper technique can also be grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
There are generally two types of medical malpractice pregnancy cases: cases where the mother is affected and cases where the child is affected.
Children can be injured or die as a result of improper technique or negligence. One of the most common failures that can result in injury to a child is a failure to identify and take immediate action when a child is in fetal distress.
Fetal distress is a scenario in which the baby is being deprived of oxygen and must be delivered immediately.
Fetal distress can be monitored by fetal heart strips that measure the baby’s heart rate. The normal heart rate for a baby is between 110 and 160 bpm. When a child’s heart rate is above or below these thresholds it can sign fetal distress or other issues. If a child is in fetal distress medical staff are obligated to deliver that baby as soon as possible. This is most typically achieved through an emergency c-section.
If a doctor or medical provider delays or refuses to perform a c-section, that provider may be held liable for injury and harm sustained by either mother or child.
Sustained fetal distress and delayed delivery can lead to a prolapsed umbilical cord, development delays, cerebral palsy, permanent brain damage, or stillbirth.
Improper birthing techniques is another reason for medical malpractice pregnancy cases. Improper technique performed by nurses or doctors can result in shoulder dystocia, clavicle fracturing, brachial plexus injury, and other injuries.
Expectant mothers can also suffer permanent injury or death as a result of medical malpractice. Every year roughly 700 women die in the US from pregnancy-related complications. According to CDC statistics, 420 of these deaths could have been prevented.
Equally striking may be the fact that 33% of these deaths occur after birth. ⅓ of all pregnancy-related deaths occur 1 week to 1 year postpartum. Many of these deaths are related to ineffective prenatal and postpartum care.
Doctors who prescribe the wrong medicine, fail to address and correct excess bleeding after birth, or fail to note and take into consideration pre-existing conditions such as preeclampsia may be liable in medical malpractice pregnancy cases. Misdiagnoses, surgical mistakes, disregard of symptoms and failure to test, poor or non-existent aftercare, premature discharge, and unnecessary treatments are also examples of pregnancy-related medical malpractice.
Families may also sue for emotional damages as a result of the distress inflicted upon them during a traumatic birthing experience where negligence or medical malpractice was involved, or for the resulting and lasting injuries sustained by their child.
If your family has fallen victim to pregnancy-related medical malpractice, contact a medical malpractice attorney at Evergreen Personal Injury Council.