Is the hospital also responsible for a birth injury? To put the question another way, if the doctors and nurses caused my child’s birth injury, can the hospital also be held responsible in Maryland? When a family is dealing with a serious injury, in many instances they have questions regarding what happened, and ultimately, who, or what, is responsible for the outcome.
The purpose of this Maryland medical malpractice educational article is to explain one way in which hospitals are responsible for the negligent actions of their employees. If you are reading this article and your injury occurred in another state, be sure to check your state’s law on this issue.
MOM, DID YOU HAVE A “NORMAL” PREGNANCY?
In some birth injury calls that we get confusion is rampant because mom had a pretty normal, or uneventful pregnancy. Mom did everything that she could to ensure that no harm would come to her baby. To take things further, up to the time she checks herself into the hospital to give birth, everything seems normal.
However, this is where things can take an unfortunate turn. During a vaginal delivery, an important tool used to help determine whether the baby is tolerating the delivery is the electronic fetal heart monitor. This monitor can give a reading, for example, of the baby’s heart beats per minute, among other things.
What can sometimes happen is that the fetal heart monitor will display flags which should alert serious concern in the doctors and nurses but these signs go either unnoticed or are misinterpreted. Parents may immediately have concerns because the baby may be blue in color, or have to be resuscitated. As a result, the baby may have to be rushed to the NICU. Parents may also notice that their child is not meeting certain neonatal milestones.
IS THE HOSPITAL ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR A BIRTH INJURY?
To answer the question of is the hospital also responsible for a birth injury I will need to explain a concept in Maryland law called respondeat superior. Essentially what respondeat superior means is that the master will answer for the servant.
So in the case of a birth injury, if the doctors and nurses are employees of the hospital, and they are acting in the scope of their employment, the hospital will answer for the negligent actions of its employees. Remember, this is a general view of this legal concept. An individual analysis of the facts of your case will determine whether respondeat superior will apply to your case. For example, were the doctors and nurses actually employees of the hospital or were they independent contractors? These questions, and others must be reviewed beforehand.
HAS YOUR BABY BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH CEREBRAL PALSY?
If your child has suffered an injury at birth and you have more questions this is what I invite you to do. Pick up the phone and give me a call.
I can be reached at 301-850-4832. I answer medical malpractice and child birth injury questions like yours all the time and I would be happy to listen to your story.
Boston Law Group, LLC
2 Wisconsin Circle
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815