Having a baby brings about a lot of different emotions for new parents. These parents are excited to meet this new life they have created, nervous about making the right decisions for their child, anxious about not knowing what to expect, and thrilled to bring this baby into the world.
While the labor and delivery process is an exhilarating time that gets parents one step closer to meeting their child, it also comes with a lot of risks and unknowns. Even though both the baby and mother have been checked and monitored throughout the entire pregnancy, you never know what could happen. It could be an easy delivery, or there could be complications. The medical team could be fully prepared and competent, or they could be unprepared and negligent.
Medical Malpractice During Labor and Delivery
Even though having a baby is one of the happiest times for parents, it is still important to remember that the possibility of medical malpractice always exists. No matter how many questions you have asked or how much research you have done to find the best doctor, nursing team, and hospital, negligence can and still does occur.
In many instances of medical malpractice, our initial reaction is to look at the doctor involved. However, doctors are not the only individuals on a medical team who are capable of negligence. Just think about it – when a woman is going through the labor and delivery process, she actually spends much more time with the nurses. A pregnant woman may spend hours and hours with a team of nurses, and the doctor may only be present once it’s time to push. As a result, there is plenty of time for negligence to occur.
Labor and Delivery Nurses Responsible for Birth Injuries
If your baby is born with a birth injury, it is a natural reaction to want to find out how and why this happened. Are your labor and delivery nurses responsible for the baby’s birth injury?
Labor and delivery nurses are faced with a huge responsibility, as they are taking care of both the mother and the baby. Unfortunately, there are nurses out there who do not provide the high standard of care that patients expect and deserve. When a nurse’s negligence results in a birth injury, medical malpractice has occurred. How does this happen?
Errors in Administering Medications
During labor and delivery, nurses are responsible for administering medications throughout the process. The advantages of these medications are that they can help the mother feel more comfortable, speed up the process, or even slow down the process when necessary. However, these medications can also cause significant harm when they are not administered properly.
For example, Pitocin is a drug that is frequently given to laboring women to help speed up delivery if things are not progressing on their own. Unfortunately, this drug can also cause dangerous contractions and/or birth injuries if is administered negligently.
According to the FDA, there are certain instances where Pitocin should not be used. These include:
- The birth is considered to be high-risk
- The mother has had a previous Caesarian delivery
- The baby is being delivered prematurely
- The baby is in an abnormal position
- The baby’s head circumference is greater than the mother’s pelvic opening
- The baby is in distress
In mothers, Pitocin has the potential to cause:
- Uterine rupture
- Cervical laceration
- Premature separation of the placenta
In babies, negligent use of Pitocin can result in:
- Oxygen deprivation
- Severe brain damage
- Cerebral palsy
Failure to Monitor Patient
One of a nurse’s most important jobs is to monitor a patient, especially during labor and delivery. Things can change quickly, so it is important for nurses to remain vigilant when it comes to checking on their patients. The good news is that the majority of nurses take this task very seriously and do their jobs well. The unfortunate news is that there are still labor and delivery nurses who fail to monitor their patients properly.
Birth injuries can occur when labor and delivery nurses fail to:
- Regularly monitor both the mother and unborn baby
- Consistently and correctly check vital signs
- Alert the doctor of any changes in the condition of mother or baby
- Document all findings and vitals in the patient’s medical chart
Seeking Justice for Birth Injuries
If you feel that you, your baby, or a loved one suffered from a severe birth injury due to the negligence of labor and delivery nurses, we are here to help. Ross Feller Casey is the recognized national leaders in birth injury lawsuits. Contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Ross Feller Casey for a free consultation.