A birth injury is not just limited to the conduct of the physicians overseeing the maternal care and birth of the child – it can also apply to nurses, health care facilities, pharmacies and anesthesiologists providing healthcare services at the time the injury occurred. If your infant has suffered from an injury during birth, there may be several responsible parties that can be named in your medical malpractice claim.
Hospitals can be private entities or public entities. When it comes to medical malpractice in a birth injury, the hospital can be held directly liable for its own negligence, as well as the negligence of physicians and staff members who are employed by the facility. If an employee, rather than the hospital, is held liable, then the hospital may still fall under vicarious liability.
Often, the physician is liable in some way for the birth injury – whether from inadequate maternal care or errors occurring during labor and delivery of the child. In these cases, the physician may have:
- Failed to perform necessary tests to rule out conditions; or
- Forced a mother to undergo dangerous or unnecessary procedures, such as pushing a mother into a C-section when not medically necessary.
If the physician is a staff member at a hospital, the hospital can also be held liable for that physician’s actions – especially if the errors occurred while the physician was present in their facility.
At times, it is medication that causes a birth defect or injury. In these cases, the pharmacy that dispensed the drug or the medication manufacturer could be held liable for any injuries the child sustains. For example, a medication could be provided to a pregnant woman with the understanding that it has been tested and found to be safe during pregnancy. Later, it is then discovered that the medication causes birth defects. If the drug manufacturer was aware of this, but failed to warn the public before administering the medication to the market, the manufacturer and any associated parties would be liable for any birth injuries or deaths.
Determining if Vicarious Liability Applies
Determining if a doctor is a hospital employee will depend on the nature of his or her relationship with that facility. Some physicians are hospital employees, while others are independent contractors – that is, the hospital is not responsible for employee actions, even if those actions occurred inside its facility. Your attorney will need to help determine if the doctor is an employee or contractor. A good way to differentiate between contractor and employee is by assessing the direct relationship. Was the doctor allowed to set his or her own hours? If not, then the doctor may be considered an employee rather than a contractor.
Speak with a CT Malpractice Attorney First
If you suspect that you are the victim of medical malpractice, speak with a malpractice attorney today. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.