A common theme in some of our calls is that the doctors mishandled my labor, can I sue them for that too? With this type of call, sometimes the mother will report an injury to the baby too, but in others, there is no injury to the baby. In the instances in which there is no injury to the baby, the mother is generally focused on the way she was treated by the doctors and nurses. To put the issue another way, the doctors and other medical professionals acted with poor bedside manner, and some categorize this as doctors mishandled my labor.
What I will focus on is how, in the words of our callers, doctors mishandling my labor, in the context of poor bedside manner, fits in a birth injury lawsuit. In no way am I discounting the experience of these mothers. With that said, I will explain these issues from a medical legal point of view.
Doctors Mishandled My Labor Can I Sue?
Doctors mishandled my labor, can I sue? As a colleague of mine explained in a case we worked together, bringing a birth injury case is like baking a cake. If any one of the ingredients of the cake is missing, then the cake will not be a completed cake. Handling a birth injury case works the same way. Instead of “cake ingredients,” these cases turn on elements, with the elements being the basic building blocks of negligence.
When poor bedside manner is extent of the harm done, then a strong argument will be made that the damages portion of the elements of negligence has not been met, or if it is met, the “payout” on the part of the defense may not overcome the payout for the cost of the experts needed to bring the case for the plaintiff.
On the other hand, if there are other injuries, such as a baby suffering a traumatic brain injury like HIE (hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy), due to a reduction in blood and oxygen to the baby, then the treatment of the mother can be incorporated into the case to paint a picture of the overall care given to mother and baby. In other words, staying with the cake analogy, the poor bedside manner can be incorporated into the icing on the cake, as mom explains her overall experience with the care given.
As a side, for mothers who want to speak with the hospital regarding poor bedside manner, the patient advocate at the hospital might be a good starting point for voicing concerns and learning the proper reporting channel.
Marcus B. Boston, Esq.
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815
1-833-4 BABY HELP