According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 582.1 infant deaths for every 100,000 live births. Infants can die during the birthing process or can pass away before delivery. Infants can also sustain injuries as their mother is giving birth to them. Sometimes, these injuries caused life-long complications. In other situations, birth injuries are fatal.
A doctor who provides prenatal care or who delivers a baby can sometimes be held responsible for birth injuries. The hospital where a baby is born or healthcare centers which employ the doctor could also be held liable for losses, either because the facility is negligent in its policies or because it is responsible for the actions of the employer.
It is important for parents to know when a healthcare provider can be held responsible for a birth injury, as the costs of caring for a child who needs medical interventions after birth or who is disabled in infancy can be very expensive.
A doctor or other healthcare provider can be held responsible for a birth injury that happens due to their negligence in providing pre-natal care, when a mother goes into labor, and during the labor and delivery process.
If a reasonably competent physician with a similar background would not have made the same mistakes that the care provider made, then the care provider is responsible for the consequences of the substandard medical treatment.
Some examples of situations where a hospital or other caregiver could be liable for birth injuries include:
- Failure to diagnose preeclampsia, prenatal diabetes, membrane rupture, or other conditions before birth that could result in complications during delivery or that could lead to the injury or death of the baby.
- Failure to recognize signs of labor and improperly refusing to admit a mother to the hospital who is in active labor.
- Delaying the delivery of a baby for too long and/or failing to induce labor or perform a cesarean section when the doctor should recognize that mother or baby are in distress.
- Failure to monitor a baby's heart beat and recognize and respond to signs of fetal distress.
- Aggressive use of the vacuum or forceps during the delivery process.
These and other errors could result in the infant being deprived of oxygen, which could result in brain damage and conditions like cerebral palsy. Babies could also suffer Erb's palsy if they sustain a brachial plexus injury. This can result in paralysis or limited motion in the arm due to nerve damage during delivery.
There are also many additional injuries an infant could sustain and that a hospital or healthcare provider could become responsible for compensating parents for. Parents need to take action so they can get medical malpractice damages and provide their injured babies with the help they deserve.