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OK of birth injury suit could have long range effects

It is a tradition when catching the first glimpse of a newborn baby to count his or her fingers and toes. It makes sense. It's a way to make sure they're all there and everything is all right. But such a cursory check doesn't always reveal when a child has suffered a birth injury that might result in a need for a lot of expensive, long-term care.

Parents in Maryland are the same as those anywhere else. They just want to be sure their child is born healthy and has a chance at a happy life. But sometimes identifying and tracing the cause of a birth injury can be hard. And it can require the help of an experienced attorney to uncover the truth and take a case to court to get proper compensation. In some instances such cases can prove helpful to other parents.

Take the case of one family in Florida. In 2001, a car accident forced mom into labor and the child was delivered by cesarean section. The baby girl needed resuscitation and oxygen. Several days later she stopped breathing and suffered a pulmonary hemorrhage and organ trouble. And later tests showed the child also suffered permanent nerve damage.

The family wanted to sue the hospital and the doctors claiming that doctors had given the baby too much intravenous fluid and failed to perform proper tests following the birth. But the rule of law in Florida requires that in a case like theirs they had to get a judge's OK to file suit. That's because of a standing state fund that was set up 1988 to pay medical bills in such cases and reduce litigation.

The family went through several rounds of court proceedings and appeals in trying to launch their suit. They received differing decisions at each level. Finally, just last month, the state supreme court ruled the suit could go ahead. If they win, it could have big implications related to doctor liability in future birth injury cases.

We're pleased that this family will have its day in court. Everyone with a legitimate claim deserves that. But it's clear that these matters are complex and getting the help of an attorney with experience in birth injury cases can be crucial.

Source: Todays Legal News, "Birth Injury Lawsuit to Proceed Following Supreme Court Ruling," Aug. 1, 2011

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