Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

A cesarean section or “C-section” delivery refers to the well-known process of surgically delivering a baby from the uterus as opposed to a normal vaginal birth. In a C-section, the doctor makes a surgical incision in the mother’s stomach and the baby is physically extracted through the opening. There are a lot of birth injury medical malpractice lawsuits filed in Maryland due to the failure to perform a C-section.

What are the side effects of a cesarean delivery?

Side-effects of a C-section delivery often include excessive fatigue, itching, numbness and painful constipation. Another side-effect of a C-section is that the recovery time is typically much longer compared to a vaginal delivery.

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Cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD) is an obstetrical condition where the baby’s head is too bid in proportion to the size of the pregnant mother’s pelvic bone.  CPD presents dangers for both mother and baby during labor and delivery.  An overly large head means that the baby will have difficulty passing through the birth canal.  This typically means labor and delivery of the baby will be prolonged and stressful.

A baby normally enters the birth canal with its face toward one side or the other of the mother If the head comes into the birth canal or tries to get into the birth canal but cannot because there is a mismatch between the size of the head compared to the size of the birth canal, that is called cephalopelvic disproportion.  This is not a safe situation for the baby because it can cause oxygen deprivation. Continue reading

Pregnancy can make mothers more prone to infection and increase the severity of an infection. This is because pregnancy temporarily weakens a mother’s natural immune system.

Failure to properly diagnose and treat certain maternal infections during pregnancy can be very dangerous for the baby and result in serious birth injuries.

Below is a summary of the most common types of maternal infections that can lead to birth injuries.

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Our attorneys see a lot of parents calling us believing their child was harmed by chorioamnionitis who are trying to find out if they have a birth injury claim.  Chorioamnionitis is a bacterial infection of the fetal membrane and amniotic fluid during pregnancy.  A chorioamnionitis infection occurs when vaginal bacteria transfer into the uterus and spread.  Chorioamnionitis occurs in approximately 2% of all childbirths in the U.S.  It can have a number of adverse effects during pregnancy. A chorioamnionitis infection can block or limit the mother’s ability to pass nutrients to the baby.

If chorioamnionitis is not properly diagnosed and addressed the infection can also spread to the baby resulting in permanent long-term birth injuries such as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, cerebral palsy.  How does it cause a brain injury?   Chorioamnionitis causes an inflammatory response of cytokines that targets specifically the periventricular white matter in the premature infant, causing periventricular leukomalacia or PVL. The periventricular white matter is particularly sensitive to damage.  It is also important to remember that chorioamnionitis is known to cause utero placental insufficiency and to compromise the ability of the placenta to oxygenate the fetus.  Most birthing process brain injuries involve oxygen deprivation.

Chorioamnionitis can also cause premature labor and delivery which can lead to a host of complications for the mother and child.

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or health care professional injures a patient with negligent or inappropriate medical care.  The consequences of medical malpractice can be very serious. If an accountant or other professional provides negligent services it typically just costs you money.   Negligent medical care by doctors, however, can result in permanent physical injuries and sometimes death.  In many cases, the harm caused by medical malpractice can never be undone.  Instead, our legal system offers victims of medical malpractice financial compensation.

Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim in Maryland

Doctors and hospitals are not in the habit of admitting that they committed malpractice.  If you want financial compensation for injuries caused by medical malpractice you will need to show that you are legally entitled to it.  To have a valid claim for medical malpractice you need to be able to prove 2 things:

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A nice family came in last week with a beautiful little girl who had shoulder dystocia.  Did she have a viable birth injury case?  She has a significant injury if it is permanent and there is a strong reason to suspect malpractice.  The child is so young there is still reason to be hopeful her body will mend itself.

There are a lot of crazy paradoxes with this job, so much so that I’m used to it.  But in cases like this, we are hoping it not a case because that would mean the child got better.

Anyway, this gave me the idea to write a blog post explaining these injuries and how to know, if you are a lawyer or a parent,  if you may have a viable birth injury case.

I stumbled across a just brutal 9th Circuit opinion in S.H. v. United States earlier this year. This case reversed a $10 million verdict in a birth injury case, finding that the foreign country exception bars plaintiffs’ Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) malpractice claims against the military doctors who treated the mother and child.

law-and-justice-300x200Facts of S.H. v. United States

A U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant is transferred to Spain.  I don’t know if he wanted to go to Spain but it does not really matter, right?  He was ordered to go to Spain.  Before leaving for Spain, they go to Andrews Air Force Base so the military can verify that the family is medically suitable to travel overseas.  At Andrews, he and his wife learn they are pregnant with their third child.  She had experienced two prior preterm deliveries and a miscarriage in the past.

doctor-300x203More often than not, a jury trial in a wrongful death or severe injury case is about assigning blame.  Jurors want someone to blame for the harm that was caused.  Usually, this is either the plaintiff or the defendant.  In medical malpractice cases, jurors may also point to bad luck as the cause.

For defense lawyers, one of the best targets for responsibility is an empty chair, either a dismissed or unnamed defendant.  This is a more substantive target than mere bad luck and it allows the jury to meet its perceived obligation of assigning clear responsibility.  In Copsey v. Park, the Maryland high court addressed the question of whether the defendant could point to the empty chair of doctors who had already settled before trial.

Facts of Copsey

The Maryland Court of Appeals granted cert in five cases yesterday.  One of the cases, Davis v. Frostburg Facility Operations, is of interest to Maryland medical malpractice lawyers because it addresses the question of what constitutes an allegation of medical malpractice that invokes the Maryland Health Claims Act.

Facts

Davis is a nursing home type case.  According to the Complaint, Plaintiff was admitted to Frostburg Village, a nursing rehabilitation center in Allegany County,  following back surgery. Two days later, Plaintiff’s mattress came loose from her bed and “slid off the bed frame, causing Ms. Davis to fall to the floor.”  The facility used a mechanical lift to put the woman back in bed because Frostburg is a no lift facility.  The nurse allegedly used the lift improperly — releasing the net holding the patient too soon — and dropped her on the floor.

Last week, in Henneberry v. Pharoan, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals looked at the question of whether there can be a breach of contract lawsuit that runs concurrently with a medical malpractice claim.  The case clarifies Maryland law on when a breach of contract claim might jive with a medical malpractice claim.

The Facts

The gist of the plaintiff’s complaint is that the doctor failed to completely resect the entire appendix which necessitated another surgery.  While undoubtedly a traumatic event for the plaintiff,  this is not a particularly serious case by medical malpractice standards.  We have been making it a point to follow every malpractice case that gets filed in Maryland. This is the bottom 10% of medical malpractice lawsuit in Maryland with respect to severity of injury (of non-dental malpractice claims).

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