Maryland Court Discusses Liability in Birth Injury Cases Involving Multiple Defendants

Frequently, there are multiple healthcare providers involved with the care of expectant mothers. For example, they may be treated by doctors, nurses, and in hospital settings. As such, if a child suffers a birth injury due to negligent prenatal care, the infant’s parents may be able to pursue malpractice claims against multiple entities. As shown in a recent Maryland case, though, plaintiffs must prove that each practitioner violated the applicable standard of care, and if they do not, some or all of their claims may be dismissed. If your child sustained an injury at birth because of incompetent medical care, it is wise to meet with a trusted Maryland birth injury lawyer to discuss your possible claims.

The Mother’s Care and Subsequent Claims

It is reported that the plaintiff mother was pregnant with the plaintiff infant and was treated by the defendant doctor throughout her pregnancy. She visited the defendant doctor when she was 37 weeks pregnant, which was considered full term, and reported reduced fetal movement. Her blood pressure was elevated, and a urinalysis revealed protein in her urine. She was then sent to the defendant hospital for further evaluation. After she was admitted, the defendant nurse took her blood pressure four times and noted it was increasing, and additional testing indicated she had protein in her urine.

Allegedly, the plaintiff mother was discharged that day. Four days later, she again visited the defendant doctor due to reduced fetal movement. Her blood pressure was elevated, and there was protein in her urine. As such, the defendant doctor proceeded with an emergency Caesarean section. The plaintiff infant was diagnosed with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, which was caused by insufficient oxygen during birth. The plaintiffs then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, asserting their negligence caused the plaintiff infant to suffer birth injuries. The defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing the plaintiff failed to establish they breached the applicable standard of care. The court granted the motion as to the defendant hospital, and defendant nurse and the plaintiffs appealed.

Proving Liability in Birth Injury Cases Involving Multiple Defendants

The appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling, concluding that the plaintiffs failed to adduce evidence that the defendant nurse and hospital’s alleged breaches caused their damages. Specifically, they did not establish causation via admissible expert testimony. The court noted that under Maryland law, a plaintiff must present evidence that demonstrates the elements of duty, breach, causation, and harm in order to establish a malpractice claim. Proving causation, the court elaborated, requires the plaintiff to show that, but for the negligence of the defendant, the plaintiff’s injury would not have occurred. Here, the plaintiffs’ experts failed to show the defendant nurse and hospital breached the standard of care, thereby causing the plaintiffs’ losses. Thus, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Meet with a Skillful Maryland Attorney  

Negligent prenatal care can have devastating consequences, such as birth injuries that cause permanent harm. If your child was injured at birth because of careless medical treatment, you could be owed compensation, and you should meet with an attorney about your options. The skillful Maryland birth injury attorneys of Arfaa Law Group are dedicated to helping people harmed by medical malpractice fight to protect their interests, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach us via our online form or at (410) 889-1850 to schedule a conference.

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