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Jury: Doctor, nurses not negligent in fatal childbirth

Any time childbirth has an adverse outcome for a mother or baby, figuring out what might have gone wrong is a top priority for everyone involved. People often are quick to blame the care providers involved in the labor and delivery, but the fact is that some adverse outcomes are unexpected, and there is no person at fault. 

No medical negligence

This is the conclusion a jury recently reached in a tragic case of the birth and death of a newborn. At issue was whether a doctor, nurse-midwife and registered nurse were negligent and failed to uphold the standard of care after their patient gave birth to a baby at home.

The mother is paraplegic and has almost no sensation below her belly button. However, the care providers, including an expert in paraplegic pregnancies, believed that she would still be able to feel contractions when she went into labor.

Thus, a jury found that there was no expectation that the woman would have her baby in her sleep, which she ultimately did; the newborn did not survive. The jury found that the plaintiffs were not able to prove medical negligence.

Highly emotional, highly complicated cases

Birth injury cases are incredibly emotional. No one wants a mother or a child to suffer unnecessary pain during pregnancy, labor or delivery. But the tragic reality is that complications can arise. Medical workers can often anticipate and alleviate these complications, but this is not always possible.

Should a legal claim arise, acknowledging the damages a mother or baby may have experienced is crucial, but so is focusing on the technical and medical aspects of medicine. 

Medical workers can do everything according to standard, widely-accepted practices and adverse events can still occur. Defending against negligence claims can involve proving that doctors and nurses provided a standard level of care and made decisions that other professionals in a similar situation would make. 

It is natural for people to want to hold someone accountable for a birth injury or fatality. However, placing blame on care providers can be misguided and inaccurate, so defending against these claims can be necessary for anyone facing similar accusations.


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