Following birth, newborns are very vulnerable to many conditions and medical issues that can place them at serious risk for permanent disability or death. A helpless newborn must rely entirely upon the medical team to provide for his or her health and safety. When a physician or nurse fails to act appropriately and fails to properly identify or treat neonatal problems, the nurse, doctor, or hospital may be held liable for compensation for any harm to your baby.
The initial minutes following birth and shortly thereafter are critical moments when medical decisions may determine whether a newborn will be healthy or will suffer long-term consequences. During this time frame, the attending neonatologist or pediatrician must be vigilant and carefully monitor your baby for warning signs of potential complications. If there is any evidence that the child is in distress, the neonatal team must act promptly to prevent injury or harm.
Many instances of negligence and malpractice occur because the hospital or ward is understaffed, thus making it close to impossible to pay proper attention to each and every newborn in the neonatal unit. There also might be circumstances where general pediatricians who are not trained to deal with very sick babies are in charge of the nursery and cannot deliver the necessary care. Additionally, nurses may not have adequate training to recognize the signs and symptoms of an impending problem, thus missing a critical window of opportunity to prevent the newborn from becoming ill or permanently disabled.
Medical complications that commonly affect newborn babies include:
- Breathing problems or respiratory distress that require oxygen and/or intubation
- Infections acquired from the mother
- Circulatory problems caused of a repairable heart defect or great vessel leading to or from the heart
- Brain dysfunction caused by oxygen deficiency or perfusion to the brain (hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy)
Sommers Schwartz attorneys have successfully handled numerous neonatal/pediatric malpractice claims. We have access to specially trained neonatologists, pediatricians and neonatal nurses who review all aspects of the medical care that were rendered, and if the proper care and support was not provided, we can identify the mistake and hold accountable those responsible for causing harm to your newborn child.