When one hears birth injury and medical malpractice, he or she normally thinks immediately of physicians or medical staff during the delivery of the child. Granted, a lot of birth injuries do occur during the delivery of a child due to the intense pressure, stress, and commotion during the birthing process. Coupled with the sheer number of staff running in and out, and the father or a friend usually nearby, the scene is to say the least chaotic. But more often than not, most people think of the physician assisting with the delivery as the liable party for New York medical malpractice when a child suffers a birth injury.
However, this is not always the case actually. Pregnant women and newborn children actually spend the vast majority of their time with nurses at the hospital—not doctors. Sure, the doctor will check in on the baby, but that is infrequently. Just as the doctor, a nurse has a duty to both the mother and the baby during labor, delivery, and aftercare. As the baby is born, nurses have some of the most important jobs in the entire delivery process.
Nurses are tasked with evaluating the condition of both the baby and the mother. Particularly for the baby, nurses must carefully watch the vitals of a baby during labor and delivery to look for signs of fetal distress. Many birth injuries result from fetal distress that is either missed or slothfully attended to. As for the mother, nurses must constantly monitor the mother’s vitals as well. This includes watching the mother’s heart rate, for a fever, and of course for bleeding. In addition, nurses need to guard against the great possibility of infection to the mother or internal hemorrhaging.
If a nurse fails to perform these tasks, there may be serious consequences for the mother and baby. One of the more common and unfortunate occurrences are wrongful death actions. While under New York law an unborn fetus cannot sue for wrongful death—even if viable—once the child is born alive but subsequently dies, a personal representative may bring a wrongful death claim. A personal representative may always sue for the wrongful death of the mother. But as noted in yesterday’s post, a wrongful death action has a statute of limitations; that is two years.
In addition, some other common birth injuries are of course cerebral palsy—which could actually happen months or even years after the child’s birth. Other birth injuries include developmental delays, placental abruption/umbilical cord damage, and uterine rupture.
If you or someone you love has suffered a birth injury, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced New York medical malpractice attorney. Life is precious and can never be replaced—especially by money. But money can buy you and your child comfort to help put you back in the place you should have been but for the nurse’s negligence.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.