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Multimillion dollar birth injury cases sparks debate over fund

Hospitals, medical practices and even individual physicians are all required to have medical malpractice insurance. These policies pay North Adams residents when a doctor or other medical staff commits an error that leads to a birth trauma or other issue. Cases that are brought to court and either settled or given a reward can cause those insurance costs to rise. This phenomenon has sparked a debate in another state where two recent multimillion dollar cases have had a strong effect on both the families and their medical institutions.

In 2012, a woman having a home birth was rushed to a Maryland hospital due to complications. While there, the mother awaited a cesarean section. She later claimed that during that time, her baby had been deprived of oxygen, leading to a permanent cognitive delay. In a separate instance the same year, a family claimed another Maryland hospital’s staff was responsible for their infant’s oxygen deprivation by allowing for a prolonged vaginal birth instead of performing a C-section.

Both cases results in multimillion dollar awards, though both have been appealed. Even still, another hospital in the state claimed that their malpractice insurance costs doubled as a result of a poor litigation environment. This has prompted lawmakers to try to establish a birth injury fund, which would assess fees from obstetrics and gynecological practices and hospitals. The fund would then be used to pay families whose infants have suffered a birth injury.

Several states already have such a system in place, though some people claim that the fund lets physicians off the hook when they commit an error. Any family that experiences a devastating birth injury should pursue a medical malpractice claim under the guidance of an attorney who can build a strong case and deliver the compensation they deserve.


Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Maryland bill would create birth injury fund,” Andrea K. Walker, Feb. 10, 2014

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