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May 31, 2023

What Is Medical Negligence During Childbirth?

Medical negligence during childbirth can put newborns and mothers at significant risk for a range of life-altering injuries and even death. If you or your child were victims of medical negligence, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced birth injury lawyer as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation for your physical, financial, and emotional losses.

6 Common Examples of Medical Negligence During Childbirth

If you have reason to suspect medical negligence during labor and delivery, you should speak with a lawyer about your family’s legal rights. Your family may be entitled to significant financial compensation. 

What constitutes medical negligence? Here are seven common examples of medical negligence during childbirth for which families can (and should) hold their healthcare providers accountable: 

1. Failure to Monitor for Signs of Fetal Distress

During labor, doctors and others involved in a baby’s delivery should be monitoring for signs of fetal distress. If a fetus exhibits signs of distress, this is usually a scenario that can be managed—but only if someone is paying attention to the baby’s condition. 

2. Failure to Properly Manage Fetal Distress 

If fetal distress arises during labor, the doctor must intervene and properly manage the circumstances at hand. Loss of blood flow, inadequate oxygen supply, shoulder dystocia, and other risks for trauma can all generally be managed with appropriate medical care.

3. Failure to Recommend a Cesarean Section (C-Section) Delivery When Necessary 

In some cases, a cesarean section (C-section) delivery will be necessary to protect a mother, baby, or both. When a C-section delivery is necessary, the delivering doctor must consult with the mother in a timely manner, and the doctor must provide the mother with the information she needs to make an informed decision. Failure to appropriately recommend a C-section delivery when necessary is a form of medical malpractice that can have serious consequences and entitle families to financial compensation. 

4. Improper Use of Force, Forceps, or Vacuum Extractors 

Using excessive force when repositioning a fetus or guiding a fetus through the birth canal can cause physical trauma—which can in turn lead to birth injuries and other complications. Improperly using forceps and vacuum extractors can cause physical trauma as well, and these are mistakes that doctors are specifically taught to avoid. 

5. Failure to Protect the Mother 

In addition to protecting the fetus during childbirth, delivering doctors must also protect the mother. Childbirth presents risks for various maternal injuries and illnesses, from uterine ruptures and internal bleeding to preeclampsia and infections. While delivering doctors often focus on the fetus’s wellbeing—and rightly so—they must not do so at the expense of protecting the mother from unnecessary complications. 

6. Failure to Diagnose or Treat Neonatal Complications

Along with errors during labor and delivery, errors immediately following childbirth can also cause life-altering birth injuries. These include errors such as failure to diagnose and treat neonatal complications from childbirth. Following delivery, doctors should perform tests as necessary to ensure the newborn baby’s wellbeing; and, if any of these tests suggest that treatment may be necessary, they should consult with the parents regarding appropriate next steps. 

Parents who have concerns following childbirth should seek medical and legal advice as soon as possible. Obtaining appropriate treatment can help lessen the risk of permanent harm, and obtaining financial compensation can help ensure that families are able to manage the costs of their doctors’ mistakes long-term.

Speak with a Birth Injury Lawyer in Providence

If your child has been diagnosed with a birth injury, your first step toward justice begins with a FREE case review with an experienced attorney. The birth injury lawyers at Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd. have extensive experience handling these difficult cases. We can help you pursue the compensation you and your family need to move forward.

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