When medical negligence leads to a birth injury, a joyous occasion can end up being heartbreaking. For a family to hold a doctor accountable, they must be able to prove their negligence resulted in the birth injury.
What is Negligence?
Medical negligence refers to the failure of a healthcare professional or provider to meet the accepted standard of care, resulting in harm, injury, or death to a patient. In other words, their actions, omissions, or decisions deviate from the level of care that a reasonably competent and skilled healthcare professional would provide in similar circumstances. Negligence is a central concept in medical malpractice cases and forms the basis for establishing a birth injury claim against the healthcare provider.
Elements of Negligence
To hold a doctor legally liable for a birth injury case in Atlanta, you must be able to prove the following four elements of negligence:
Duty of Care
Healthcare professionals owe a duty of care to their patients. This duty implies they are responsible for providing a certain level of skill, knowledge, and care in diagnosing and treating patients. In the context of a birth injury case, this duty of care implies that the doctor had a responsibility to provide medical care and treatment to the pregnant mother and the fetus during prenatal care, labor, and delivery.
Breach of Duty
Negligence occurs when a healthcare provider breaches their duty of care by failing to act in a manner that a reasonable professional in the same field would under similar circumstances. This breach can involve errors in diagnosis, medication errors, inadequate prenatal care, incorrect use of delivery tools, delayed C-Section, and more.
For a medical malpractice claim to succeed, it is essential to establish a direct link between the doctor’s negligence and the birth injury. The negligence must be shown to be the proximate cause of the harm suffered by the patient. In other words, the birth injury would not have occurred if the healthcare provider had not been negligent.
This element requires showing that the birth injury resulted in actual harm or damages to the baby, the mother, or both. Damages can include physical injuries, emotional distress, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other related losses. Without actual harm, it is challenging to pursue a birth injury claim.
Proving these four elements is crucial in establishing a solid case of negligence in a birth injury lawsuit. Birth injury cases are often complex and require a thorough understanding of both medical and legal aspects. Expert medical testimony is often necessary to establish the standard of care, the breach of that standard, and the causation between the negligence and the birth injury.
Types of Evidence Needed to Prove a Doctor’s Negligence Resulted in a Birth Injury
Establishing negligence in a birth injury case also requires a compelling array of evidence that collectively demonstrates the healthcare provider’s breach of duty and its direct link to the injury. For example:
- Medical records play a pivotal role, encompassing prenatal care, labor, delivery, and postnatal care, providing insights into the decisions made and actions taken.
- Expert medical testimony is essential to define the standard of care applicable to the situation, pinpoint deviations, and establish the causal relationship between negligence and the birth injury.
- Photographic or video documentation of the birth and injury can visually depict the extent of harm.
- Witness accounts, including those of medical professionals and family members, can shed light on crucial moments and decisions.
- Documentation of communication between the healthcare team, notes, and charts, as well as any hospital policies or protocols, can reveal gaps in care.
All these pieces of evidence together can create a comprehensive narrative that illustrates negligence, its consequences, and the resulting birth injury, forming the foundation for a strong legal claim. If you believe you have a potential case, contact our Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys at Julie A. Rice Attorneys at Law, & Affiliates, to learn more.