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High payouts in birth injury cases lead to changes at MD hospital


Baltimore's City Health Commissioner is concerned with the city's hospital services surrounding childbirth and care of the mother. She noted that one of her top priorities is to lower infant deaths and birth injuries. The concern comes from heightened scrutiny of the hospitals and doctors over fear of litigation and higher costs that will limit the hospitals' ability to serve mothers with childbirth services.

That fear comes after a number of high payouts in birth injury malpractice cases in Baltimore that impacted the hospitals' malpractice insurance rates. Doctors also expressed fear that if they were to be sued for a birth injury they would be more likely to lose the malpractice case in the city as opposed to their chances if the lawsuit were filed in other parts of Maryland. The city hospitals, as a result, have spent millions in measures designed to be precautionary and prevent any injuries.

In general, a birth injury medical malpractice claim can implicate medical doctors that treat a mother or newborn in addition to nurses, anesthesiologists and hospitals. Hospitals can be liable for the actions of their employees, if a nurse, doctor or any employee acts negligently while treating a patient. In addition, hospitals can be liable directly for their own negligence, if a policy put forth causes an injury to a baby or they fail to adequately respond to the actions of one of their employees.

There are a number of ways for a hospital to be found liable if a baby is injured while under the hospital's care. Parents of children who have suffered an injury while at a hospital or because of the medical advice of a medical professional should look into all of their legal options.

Source: Baltimore Business Journal, "Baltimore's health commissioner wants to thwart potential obstetrics crisis," Sarah Gantz, June 20, 2013

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