Unfortunately, many babies are born with birth defects. Many of these birth defects can be attributed to medical malpractice on the part of a healthcare provider. The following article will provide some information regarding what you will need to prove in a birth defect medical malpractice case in the state of Georgia.
What kind of injuries can result from childbirth?
There are various types of childbirth injuries that can result from a healthcare provider’s malpractice. Some of these injuries include:
- Cranial nerve/spinal cord injuries
- Facial paralysis
- Bone fractures
- Cerebral palsy
- Brain injuries
What causes birth defects?
Childbirth injuries often occur as a result of a healthcare provider’s negligence and can be devastating for both the mother and the child. Some of the causes of these injuries include:
- Healthcare providers who provide substandard prenatal care
- Healthcare providers who fail to provide a C-section when necessary
- Healthcare providers who mishandle a baby during or after birth
- Healthcare providers who engage in improper use of forceps or use excessive force when removing a baby from the vaginal canal
Georgia medical malpractice law
O.C.G.A. § 9-3-70 outlines Georgia’s law regarding medical malpractice. This statute provides a cause of action for the recovery of damages based on the death or personal injury of any person in which it is alleged that such death or injury resulted from the negligence of a healthcare provider.
What do I need to prove in a medical malpractice case based on birth defects?
If a healthcare provider’s conduct resulted in your child being born with defects, you may have a valid medical malpractice claim against that healthcare provider, as well as against the associated hospital or medical facility. In order to potentially establish a successful medical malpractice claim against a healthcare provider for causing birth defects, you will need to provide proof of the following elements:
- Duty: You will first need to establish a healthcare provider-patient relationship between the health care provider and yourself (and consequently, to your child). Once established, you will be able to show that the health care provider owed a specific duty to you as his patient. As aforementioned, a healthcare provider’s duty is to provide the level of care, skill, and treatment which (in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances) is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similarly-situated healthcare providers.
- Breach: After establishing that the healthcare provider owed a duty to you as his patient (and consequently, to your child), you will next need to show that he breached that duty. You can do this by proving that the healthcare provider failed to adhere to the level of care, skill, and treatment which (in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances) is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similarly-situated healthcare providers.
- Causation: You will need to show a direct link between the healthcare provider’s actions and your child’s birth defects. This requires providing proof that the birth defects that resulted would not have occurred but for the healthcare provider’s negligent conduct.
Damages: You will need to provide sufficient proof of the actual injuries your child sustained, as well as any damages you have personally experienced. In personal injury cases, courts will typically provide compensatory damage awards which cover medical expenses or loss of income and/or non-compensatory damage awards which cover intangible things like pain and suffering.