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Malpractice costs prompt Mercy to end ties with midwife group

Mercy Medical Center, just minutes away from Laurel, Maryland, recently decided to sever ties with a group of midwives who had been used by the hospital for many years. Mercy made the decision because of doubling of medical malpractice insurance costs in 2013 that followed two suits against different Baltimore-area hospitals. The suits are unrelated to the midwife group that Mercy had been using. Mercy has not said why this particular service would no longer be used.

In one of the Baltimore cases, a couple sued Johns Hopkins Hospital after its OB/GYN department allegedly failed to ensure that their baby would have adequate oxygen while the mother waited for a cesarean delivery. The baby sustained hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, a condition that results in mental developmental problems. A midwife supervised the home birth, although the mother was transported to the hospital for a C-section following complications. Initially, a court awarded $55 million to the couple, but the judgment was reduced to $28.3 million and sent back to a lower court. The case is still pending.

In the second case, in 2012 a jury awarded $21 million to a couple who filed a lawsuit against Harbor Hospital in 2002. According to court documents, the lawsuit alleged that the baby later developed cerebral palsy because he was oxygen-deprived while in his mother's womb and that medical professionals should have performed a C-section rather than allow vaginal birth.

Childbirth is a highly emotional event for parents and a costly procedure that could be even more expensive if there are complications from delivery. If any problems that follow delivery such as permanent injuries to a baby are attributable to the negligence of medical professionals, then parents should consider their legal option to hold the negligent parties accountable and be awarded fair compensation for their damages.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Mercy to sever ties with midwife group," Andrea K. Walker and Yvonne Wenger, Oct. 11, 2013

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