DO I HAVE A BIRTH INJURY CASE FOR MY CHILD? 5 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW
We have all heard harrowing stories about women giving birth with the help of a policeman, taxi-cab driver, or even grocery clerk. The story always ends with a picture of the new mother, holding an apparently healthy baby, with her untrained rescuer. We come away with the impression that after counting all the fingers and toes that the child is fine and will have a healthy future. While most mothers never experience anything similar many can recount being in a hospital setting where everything seemed to go wrong; yet at the end of the day, perhaps after a stay in the newborn intensive care unit, they take their “healthy” baby home.
1. Birth injuries can be subtle. It is often several years before a parent notices that something just isn’t right. Perhaps its coordination, speech or even social interaction. A parent invariably looks back wonders: Was my child injured at birth? Getting a candid answer from a pediatrician is usually a waste of time. The last person a pediatrician is going to blame is the delivering physician or hospital. Where do you think the pediatrician gets his business? Contacting a trained Salt Lake City birth injury attorney and describing what your birthing experience and your child’s difficulties is easy and at no cost to you. This should be your first step in protecting your child’s future.
2. Request a complete copy of your medical records. Your child’s life started at conception and it is critical that you have all your prenatal and birthing records. A record called a “fetal monitoring strip” will be of particular importance. This record will show a history of your child reacted to the stress of birth. A trained birth injury attorney will always have that “strip” professionally reviewed to see that appropriate care was rendered to your child throughout the birth process.
3. How can I prove a mistake was made during the birth process? Medical malpractice actions are based on failure(s) to follow accepted standards. Many times medical malpractice can be established by a careful reading of what are called “standing orders.” Every hospital will have protocols which have been reduced to orders which should always be followed in certain situations. These can govern: when a physician should be called, when a medication should be administered or withheld or even when a mother’s body positioning should be changed. Failure to comply with standing orders can have dire consequences for your child. A trained birth injury attorney will always verify compliance with standing orders.
4. Do I need an expert? All medical malpractice actions need to be supported by expert physicians willing to testify that the standards or care were not followed and that the failure to follow those standards harmed your child. Acquiring the right expert to support your case will many times determine success or failure of your lawsuit. Your birth injury attorney must use his best judgment and experience in securing the right expert for your particular case.
5. Is it too late? Many times parents, who have been told that things will improve, wait several years watching their child suffer. These parents believe that their child was probably injured during birth but that they have waited too long to sue the doctor and/or hospital. The truth: It probably isn’t too late. Most states’ laws provide for extended statutes of limitations for birth injuries. You should contact a trained birth injury attorney to discuss the possibility of bringing a lawsuit regardless of your child’s age.
Thanks to our friend and blog author, Robert Miner of Rasmussen & Miner Attorneys at Law, for his insight into birth injury practice.