What Doctors Need to Know About Birth Injury Lawsuits
The act of childbirth can be incredibly painful. While many women do enjoy being pregnant and having children, most would agree that skipping over the part where they actually have to give birth would be ideal. This desire is especially prevalent after the first time they have done it. However, it is all worth it when you hold your baby in your arms.
The painful part is supposed to be over once your child is born. The hard part may be just beginning, with minimal sleep and changes to your everyday life, but that is supposed to be a good kind of difficulty. When your baby suffers from a birth injury, though, the pain may be far from over.
The most important thing for doctors to understand about a serious birth injury is that the relief parents are supposed to feel after the birth of their child has been stolen away. Not only that, but the whole future for the family may be drastically altered.
Bedside Manner Matters
When a child suffers a birth injury, parents are going to searching for answers. They are also going to be looking for a way to pay for costs associated with their child’s injury. This often means they will be considering suing the medical staff involved in their child’s birth. In many cases, birth injuries are the fault of medical staff presiding over the birth. However, in many others, they are not and simply come down to bad luck.
Most doctors will face a lawsuit at some point in their careers. There are many things that a doctor can do to avoid being sued for medical malpractice. Obviously, the most important thing is to not make mistakes. By never making mistakes a doctor is less likely to be sued, and even if they are, they are likely to win the case. However, this standard is a bit impossible. Even the best doctors make mistakes at times.
Hospitals often play a role in a doctor’s mistakes, as many are caused by a doctor being overworked, which often results from productivity-based compensation.
While eliminating mistakes is the obvious way to minimize lawsuits, it is not the most effective way. The best way to limit the likelihood of being sued for medical malpractice is to have a good bedside manner. People are a lot less likely to sue their doctors when they feel that they care for them and that they tried their hardest.
Doctors who do their best and empathize with their patients are a lot less likely to be sued than doctors who seem more cavalier and robotic. Even if the latter doctor is actually more skilled and makes fewer accidents than the former doctor, they are still more likely to face litigation.
Doctors need to do everything in their power to ensure a healthy birth. When that doesn’t happen, though, they need to understand their patient’s pain.
Life-Altering Birth Injuries
Some birth injuries are minor and only affect a child for a short time. Most of the time, these injuries will not result in a birth injury lawsuit. However, cerebral palsy, which is one of the most common birth injuries, can completely change the life course of a baby and its parents.
A doctor may not face a lawsuit until a couple of years after a delivery in a cerebral palsy case. That is because the signs of cerebral palsy are not always immediately present at birth. In milder cases of the condition, it can take months and even years until the child is diagnosed.
Because of this, it is imperative that a doctor keep detailed records of all of their deliveries. Thorough record-keeping can be an essential element of showing that no negligence occurred and that the birth injury was simply due to bad luck and is something that couldn’t have been reasonably avoided.
Medical Malpractice Is a Point of Contention
The debate about medical malpractice lawsuits is ongoing. On the one side, you have doctors and hospitals, while on the other side, you have patients and lawyers.
Doctors often run tests that they feel are unnecessary in order to protect themselves from liability. Hospitals claim that the expenses of these unnecessary tests and the high costs for insurance premiums related to these lawsuits, leave them with little funding for equipment upgrades and other items that positively impact patient care.
Patients, meanwhile, are left with costly life-altering complications from negligent doctors. While some lawsuits may not be warranted, many are.
It is a complicated issue with no easy solution. While eliminating frivolous lawsuits would be ideal, patients should not be barred from receiving fair compensation for an injury caused by a medical procedure gone wrong.