Labor and Delivery Negligence

Medical Malpractice Lawyer Helping Families in Knoxville and Beyond

Bringing a baby into the world should be a happy occasion. Unfortunately, sometimes obstetricians and nurses in labor and delivery do make medical errors that change the course of a baby’s life and their parents' lives. The consequences of errors can be devastating. In some cases, health care professionals do not report their mistakes or may cover up what happened. If you suspect that your baby was injured as a result of labor and delivery negligence, you should seek advice from Knoxville birth injury attorney Mark Hartsoe at the Hartsoe Law Firm.

Labor and Delivery Negligence

Birth injuries can include cerebral palsy or cognitive impairments. After facing a diagnosis of a permanent injury or disability, you may look for answers from your health care providers. Unfortunately, the health care providers may not be entirely forthcoming. Signs of medical mistakes when coupled with a diagnosis of permanent injuries include a C-section performed only after many hours of attempted natural delivery, an undiagnosed or untreated infection during the pregnancy, a baby's heart rate dropping or decelerating during delivery, an umbilical cord wrapped around the baby's neck, delivery tools like forceps improperly used for delivery, low APGAR scores at birth, a baby with lethargy or seizures soon after being born, or an indication by professionals that the labor and delivery were not normal.

To prove your right to recover damages for a birth injury, your attorney will need to show that the doctor or nurses committed medical malpractice during labor and delivery. We will need to prove that it is more likely than not that a health care provider owed you a reasonable duty of care, they deviated from the duty of care, and there was causation and actual damages. For example, the baby should be monitored during labor and delivery, particularly for signs of fetal distress. A nurse who fails to recognize signs of distress or fails to notify the obstetrician of problems may have been professionally negligent.

Similarly, when an obstetrician fails to do anything about a problem perceived by the nurse, the nurse usually owes a duty to go up the chain of command in the hospital to find a person to take proper steps to preserve the patient’s health. Nurses are also supposed to evaluate the mother for medical problems during labor and delivery, such as signs of infections or bleeding. Failing to evaluate the mother properly can result in missing signs of distress to the fetus or the mother. When nurses, doctors, or other staff members neglect their duties during labor and delivery, the outcome for the baby can include cerebral palsy, developmental delays, physical trauma such as lacerations or head trauma, or even the stillbirth of the infant.

If liability is established, we should be able to recover the damages that flow from the baby's losses as well as your losses. These can include both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages may include medical bills, rehabilitation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and out-of-pocket costs. Noneconomic damages may include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of activities. Generally, when there are multiple defendants found liable in a medical malpractice lawsuit to which comparative fault applies, each defendant can only be held severally liable for the percentage of damages for which fault is attributed to that defendant by the trier of fact, and no defendant is to be held jointly liable for any damages. Thus, for example, if the hospital is found 30% at fault, the obstetrician is found 30% at fault, and the nurse is found 40% at fault for labor and delivery negligence, each can only be held accountable for an amount of the damages proportional to that assignment of fault.

Retain a Knoxville Lawyer to Take Aggressive Legal Action

If your newborn suffered injuries due to labor and delivery negligence, you should discuss your situation with an experienced attorney. We can advise you on whether it is appropriate to sue for damages in a birth injury lawsuit. Call the Hartsoe Law Firm in Knoxville at (865) 524-5657 or contact us through our online form. We also represent people in Clinton, Oak Ridge, Alcoa, Louisville, Maryville, LaFollette, Tazewell, Newport, Crossville, Jamestown, Rutledge, Greeneville, Morristown, Chattanooga, Dandridge, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Madisonville, Lenoir City, Loudon, Athens, and other communities in Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Cumberland, Fentress, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hamilton, Jefferson, Knox, Monroe, Loudon, McMinn, and Bradley Counties.

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