Having a baby is usually a joyful time, but it is called labor for a reason. Sometimes mothers and babies experience trauma during labor and delivery due to risk factors that are no one’s fault. Babies may inherit diseases or mothers develop health conditions that impact the birth.
However, sometimes the health care provider is responsible for the injuries of a newborn or mother. When your doctor or other healthcare providers have not done due diligence in keeping you and your baby safe, they have committed medical malpractice. These are some of the ways in which medical negligence can lead to severe birth injuries.
Not providing you with proper care
Your doctor’s first responsibility is providing you with the best prenatal care to reduce risks and catch complications, such as gestational diabetes or placenta previa. A missed or delayed diagnosis can lead to permanent injury to you and your baby. Furthermore, harmful care, incorrect medication and unnecessary interventions during delivery can result in hemorrhaging, fractures, high-degree tears, infections or damage to organs and tissues.
Delaying the birth of the baby
Some hospitals’ protocols call for the doctor to be there at the moment of delivery. If the doctor is unavailable, to prevent the baby from coming out, medical staff may ask you to stop pushing or may close your legs. Perhaps the facility has too many patients to attend to, causing a shortage of staff to monitor you, or your C-section gets pushed back. No matter the reason, when your baby stays in you longer than necessary, injury risk increases, especially when your baby does not receive enough oxygen through the umbilical cord. This often leads to cerebral palsy and other types of brain trauma.
Mishandling the infant
Your baby deserves appropriate, gentle care both inside and outside your body. Bruises, fractures, swelling and other abnormal injuries may be signs of rough handling. Not enough or too much intervention may lead to avoidable complications that put your newborn in danger.
The job of your doctor and other medical personnel is to ensure as safe a birth experience as possible. Understaffing, miscommunication, disregard for rules, selfish desires and disrespect for laboring mothers can be causes of negligent behavior that violates this expectation.