Childbirth delivery is thought of by many to be a pretty cut-and-dry area of medicine that does not significantly implicate medical malpractice issues. However, that's far from the truth. Medical malpractice attorneys in Maryland and throughout the country are usually experienced in handling a number of cases involving birth injuries that point to negligent treatment and care by the doctors and hospitals involved.
One recent example in another state resulted in a $7.5 million settlement between a county-run hospital and a mother on behalf of her child who suffered disabling brain injury during the birth process. The mother was in the last stages of her pregnancy when she had to be taken by emergency responders to the medical facility. She was complaining of unbearable pain in the abdominal area.
Facility personnel held her in a childbirth intake area for the next 14 hours, but she was not examined by an obstetrician. Her records showed that she was at the time residing in a shelter for the homeless in Los Angeles. Apparently because she did not go into labor, she was released prior to a thorough pre-birth examination.
With continuing high-frequency pain, the mother returned to the facility a half-day later. It was found during emergency childbirth surgery that she had suffered a perforated uterus, which had caused the baby to be starved of oxygen for a prolonged period. By the belated time of the surgery there was no possibility of reversing the extensive brain injury. Since then, the baby has been unable to function independently and is being maintained in an institution that cares for him on a 24-hour basis.
In Maryland and nationwide, significant settlements in cases involving birth injuries are generally administered by putting the funds into restricted accounts or trusts for the use of the child in future years and as the needs arise. In this case, an annuity will apparently be purchased and used to cover future medical costs. The mother also intends to get a home and bring the child to live there. Understandably, in a phone interview she expressed being upset with the outcome of events. Any mother in that scenario would return the money instantly in return for a healthy baby.
Source: Los Angeles Times, L.A. County to pay $7.5 million in childbirth malpractice case, A Sewell, Nov. 6, 2013