Pregnancy Errors and Malpractice in Maryland

For many people, a pregnancy and the anticipated arrival of a new son or daughter is a special and exciting time. Unfortunately, substandard prenatal care, diagnostic errors, and medical mistakes in labor and delivery can turn what should be a joyous occasion into one fraught with stress, worry, disappointment, and grief.

If you or your child has been harmed by errors in medical care during pregnancy, a Maryland birth injury lawyer may be able to help you get financial compensation for your injuries, losses, and associated damages.

Defining Pregnancy Malpractice

Medical malpractice in general occurs when a medical professional fails to provide a level of care that meets a professionally recognized standard of care. When this failure to provide adequate care results in harm to the patient, the substandard care is considered to be medical malpractice.

Obstetric malpractice, or pregnancy malpractice, occurs when an obstetrician or other health care provider fails to give appropriate prenatal care or makes preventable errors during the pregnancy or labor and delivery that cause harm to the mother or the unborn child.

When a preventable medical error is the result of negligence—a failure to practice medical care at a recognized professional standard—then the patient or surviving family members may be able to achieve financial compensation through an obstetric or pregnancy errors malpractice lawsuit.

A settlement or judgment may include compensation for damages including medical bills, pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, future medical and therapeutic expenses related to birth trauma or a preventable birth defect, and more.

Common Pregnancy Errors or Birth Injuries

Certain birth defects and congenital health conditions are unavoidable; these are not a result of medical malpractice. However, errors in prenatal care, medical management during pregnancy, and labor and delivery can cause preventable injury to the mother, fetus, and/or newborn.

Organizations including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research provide professional guidelines for the appropriate care and management of pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

These guidelines include how to appropriately manage conditions such as shoulder dystocia or cerebral palsy upon delivery, as well situations including VBAC (vaginal birth after Caesarean), induction of labor, pre-term birth, and more.

Pregnancy malpractice may occur from failure to adhere to these professional guidelines and the following lapses in appropriate prenatal care:

  •        Failure to appropriately screen for or manage gestational diabetes
  •        Failure to adequately monitor the expectant mother and the fetus
  •        Failure to consider the mother’s medical history in managing pregnancy and screening for or managing potential problems
  •        Failure to treat fetal disease
  •        Medication errors which harm the mother or the fetus
  •        Failure to diagnose or delay in diagnosing medical conditions which may harm the mother or child
  •        Failure to monitor and treat existing medical conditions which may cause pregnancy complications
  •        Failure to document and communicate with the mother

Additionally, birth injuries may occur during labor and delivery when a doctor does not adequately monitor the health of the fetus or the mother during delivery. This commonly results in delayed Caesarean section delivery which can harm the mother or child.

Inappropriate use of forceps or vacuum extraction during delivery, anesthesia errors, and medication errors can also cause preventable harm to the mother or child during labor, delivery, and post-partum or neonate care.

Birth injuries include the following:

  •        Cerebral palsy
  •        Brachial plexus injury
  •        Erb’s palsy
  •        Traumatic brain injury
  •        Infant death

You and your child should not have to suffer because of medical negligence during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

If you or your baby were harmed by pregnancy errors or obstetric malpractice, contact a lawyer to discuss your claim.