Doctors who take the Hippocratic Oath swear to protect their patients, to cause them no additional harm, and to respect the privacy of those they treat. As patients, we depend on doctors to treat our minor scrapes and bruises and also to perform life-saving procedures .
However, when a doctor or other medical professional doesn't live up to the oath, the results can be damaging, traumatic, and life-t hreatening. When the injured patient is a pregnant mother or a newborn child, the damage can be especially devastating.
If you or your infant were injured because of the treatment you received during pregnancy or delivery, don't despair. Laws protect y our rights to medical care, and legal professionals can help you determine the best way to receive compensation for your pain.
If you're expecting a baby, you can do your part to prevent damage. Take the time to find out how to best avoid a lawsuit with you r physician or caretaker. The best medicine, as the modern version of the Hippocratic Oath states, is prevention.
Read through our tips to find out how to choose the best birth plan and birth care for you and your child so that you don't have to resort to a malpractice suit.
Tips for Hospital Births
To protect yourself in a hospital birth, you should do your homework before you select your birthing plan. Hospitals offer advantage s to patients because they provide a wide range of treatment options. Though doctors most often deliver babies in a hospital setting, yo u can also request a nurse midwife to assist you if you prefer.
According to Florida state law, all doctors should obtain malpractice insurance before they treat patients. When shopping for the rig ht OB/GYN, ask about their insurance plan. Malpractice insurance guarantees the funds to pay damages in case of mistreatment or wrong ht OB/GYN, ask about their insurance plan. Malpractice insurance guarantees the funds to pay damages in case of mistreatment or wrong ful death. Most hospitals also carry insurance and can pay damages as well.
Tips for Birthing Center and Home Births
If you choose to deliver your baby outside of a hospital, a licensed midwife will guide you through labor. Midwives of different special ties give you different birthing options and techniques, but most prefer homeopathic solutions and let mothers choose a birthing plan fo r their personal needs.
In the event of an emergency, your midwife will transfer you to a hospital for more advanced treatment. For example, if you have co mplications that require a cesarean section and your midwife is not certified to perform one, you will have to relocate to a hospital. In so me cases, this may delay surgery while the midwife calls the doctor and the hospital prepares the operating room.
Talk with your midwife before labor starts to find out what limitations exist at your birthing center or clinic. Ensure that both you an d your midwife know at what point you will transfer to the hospital for additional care.
The state of Florida also requires midwives to carry malpractice insurance-but, as with doctors, you should still ask directly to ensure your midwife is insured. Make sure your midwife also has the technology available to detect problems with your infant before delivery starts.
A basic knowledge of medical malpractice claims can help you judge whether or not you have received the care you deserve. Some c ommon types of malpractice include:
Failure to warn the patient
Errors with anesthesia
If your doctor or midwife fails to diagnose your condition or misjudges your symptoms for a different disorder or disease, this can le ad to the wrong type of treatment. The kinds of errors listed above can endanger you as a patient, injure your child, or cause you financi al damage.
Common Errors that Affect Mothers
When a doctor or midwife makes a mistake during pregnancy or labor, it can affect both mother and infant. Most frequently, mother s suffer as a result of:
Internal bleeding that goes undetected or untreated
Tearing during delivery
Untreated maternal infections and maternal diabetes
Preeclampsia, which can lead to diseases for both mother and child
If you remember these common problems, you can ask about testing and treatment in your prenatal appointments and help doctor s and midwives remember their duty to protect you from harm.
Common Errors that Affect Infants
For your infant, the most common birth injuries result from:
Birth-assisting tools used improperly
Fetal distress that is detected too late
Lack of oxygen intake to the infant
Lack of oxygen intake to the infant
Failure to perform a needed cesarean section
Do your research before selecting a birth plan and keep in mind your medical history and your past experiences with medical care. If you suspect that you will need a caesarean section, you may prefer giving birth in a hospital to minimize the time between the beginnin g of labor and the beginning of surgery.
Communicate openly with your doctor or midwife when choosing a birthing plan. When you put yourself in the position to receive t he best care for you and your child, and you make your caretaker aware of your concerns, you can avoid misdiagnosis and mistreatment and keep your family safe.
If an emergency happens and you feel your doctor or midwife acted wrongly, especially if you have incurred financial damages or pe rsonal injury, consult with an attorney. Most law firms offer free consultations to see if your experience warrants a malpractice suit.