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Did a Doctor’s Breach of Duty Cause My Child’s Birth Injury?

January 31, 2024

No parent should ever have to deal with the pain of a child’s birth injury. With today’s modern medicine, unnecessary complications of childbirth should be relatively rare. Unfortunately, the data show that birth injuries are much more common than they should be. This is due in large part to the continuing risk of medical malpractice during and after delivery. 

Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals owe duties to ensure that they are providing adequate care to their patients. This includes providing adequate care to expecting mothers, fetuses, and newborn babies. Yet, medical negligence during and after delivery remains a significant concern, and many new parents find themselves needing to take legal action. 

Understanding Medical Professionals Duties During Delivery 

During delivery, medical professionals must take adequate steps to protect the mother’s and fetus’s health to the greatest extent possible. While delivery is often a relatively straightforward process, various issues can arise, and it falls upon expecting mothers’ medical professionals to identify and address these issues before they lead to unnecessary complications. 

With this in mind, some examples of medical professionals’ responsibilities during delivery include:

  • Duty to Monitor – Medical professionals have a responsibility to monitor the mother’s and fetus’s health throughout the delivery process. If a mother or fetus shows signs of distress, monitoring ensures that the medical professionals handling the delivery will be able to take timely and appropriate responsive action. 
  • Duty to Diagnose – Upon identifying a potential issue, medical professionals must provide a timely and accurate diagnosis. Delayed diagnosis, failure to diagnose, and misdiagnosis are all among the leading causes of preventable maternal and fetal injuries during delivery. 
  • Duty to Consult – When issues require consultation with the mother or other family members, medical professionals must consult in a timely manner. They must clearly explain the issue and the options that are available, and they must provide sufficient information so that mothers and other family members can make informed decisions. 
  • Duty to Treat – Upon diagnosing a risk for a maternal or fetal injury, medical professionals must provide prompt treatment. Along with diagnostic issues, treatment-related issues (i.e., delayed treatment and failure to treat) are among the leading causes of delivery-related injuries as well. 
  • Duty to Intervene – In the case of a medical emergency, medical professionals must intervene and provide appropriate care. For example, if an emergency C-section is necessary to protect the mother or the fetus, then failure to timely perform the procedure may constitute medical malpractice

These, of course, are in addition to medical professionals’ duty to exercise due care when guiding babies through the birth canal. Applying excessive force to a baby’s head or shoulders, improperly using forceps or vacuum extractors, and other mistakes can lead to birth injuries that could—and should—have been avoided.

Read More: When Is a Birth Injury The Result of Medical Malpractice?

Understanding Medical Professionals Duties After Delivery 

Once a baby has been born, medical professionals must continue to provide adequate neonatal care. The first moments of a newborn baby’s life are vital, and mistakes during this time can result in life-altering (or even life-threatening) complications. 

The same duties that apply during delivery also apply after delivery. Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals must continue to provide adequate care to both the mother and the baby. Once again, monitoring is vital, and timely diagnosis and treatment can be critical for mitigating the long-term risks associated with any concerns that may arise. 

If a baby is born with an injury, defect, or other complication, then ensuring the baby’s health and well-being should be all medical professionals’ top priority. Far too often, delays in diagnosis and treatment lead to unnecessary complications that forever alter newborns’ and their parents’ lives. 

Taking Legal Action When Medical Professionals Breach Their Duty of Care 

If you believe that any medical professionals failed to meet their duty of care during or after your baby’s delivery, you should speak with a lawyer about taking legal action. You may have a claim for medical malpractice; and, if so, you and your family may be entitled to significant financial compensation. 

Birth injuries caused by medical mistakes can cause significant physical harm, emotional harm, and financial loss. Over a child’s lifetime, the financial and non-financial costs of a preventable birth injury can easily climb into the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. These are all costs that parents can seek to recover, and hiring an experienced birth injury lawyer is the first step toward protecting parents’ legal rights.

Read More: How To Choose Birth Injury Attorneys in Chicago

Speak with a Birth Injury Lawyer in Chicago for FREE

If you need to know more about filing a claim for a birth injury sustained during or after delivery in Illinois, we encourage you to schedule a FREE, no-obligation consultation

To speak with an experienced birth injury lawyer in confidence, call 708-358-8080 or tell us how we can reach you online today. We serve clients throughout Illinois, including Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and other areas.