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