Health Facility Defense Attorneys: Five Ways to Avoid Large Damage Awards for Birth Injuries

$74 million was the jury's award to a New Mexico couple in a medical malpractice lawsuit for brain injury to their baby. The complaint alleged a women's health clinic failed to properly monitor the mother and the doctor injured the baby during delivery. Even though the baby weighed 11½ pounds, the doctor, the plaintiffs alleged, forced a vaginal delivery despite the mother's request for a cesarean section.


See: APNews, Couple wins $74M for baby's brain damage caused in delivery. 

Medical Risk LawMothers, Infants, and Obstetrical Injuries: Labor and Delivery Liability Risks 


What can health facility defense attorneys do to prevent large damages awards in birth injury medical malpractice cases?

Health facility defense attorneys may find their clients facing significant damages exposure, such as in birth injury litigation. Serious consideration of settlement before trial is necessary, since the emotion of dealing with a neurologically impaired child can sway a jury. Also, risk management strategies must be implemented to avoid claims.



The following are five critical risk management strategies for avoidance of birth injury claims:


· Practiced simulations of birth complications and the actions that should be taken to minimize injury from the complications


· Timely consultation and collaboration with specialists, particularly for cesarean section, surgical procedures, and other interventions such as cardiac or respiratory treatments


· Implementation of policies and procedures for personnel in attendance at births and their responsibilities, such as neonatal nurse practitioners, ob/gyn physicians, and others


· Adding continuing education programs for necessary and new equipment, such as fetal monitor interpretation seminar.


· Training of physicians and other health providers on discussing the birth injury with the parents and how to present an 'apology' or 'sorry' response to the parents, which may avoid future litigation 



For in-depth law and medial information see:


Medical Risk Law: Mothers, Infants, and Obstetrical Injuries: Labor and Delivery Liability Risks



Expert Analysis in the above Medical Risk Law, the monthly report on specific medical litigation topics:


How Can Common Labor and Delivery Malpractice Actions Brought Against Midwives Be Avoided?
Mamie Guidera, CNM, MSN, FACNM: Advanced Senior Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing


What Proof Must Be Presented to Defend a Fetal Monitoring Malpractice Claim?
Thomas P. Sartwelle, LL.B.: Partner, Beirne, Maynard & Parsons LLP James C. Johnston, MD, JD: Director of Global NeuroCare®


How Can Causation Be Established in a Labor and Delivery Malpractice Action?
James M. Wheeler, MD, MPH, JD: The Center for Women's Healthcare


For Litigation and Discovery Documents, Checklists, Strategies, and Medical Information on this and other medical litigation get Medical Risk Law.


For more Guidance & Analysis get Medical Risk Law