Holding Medical Professionals Accountable for Errors Resulting to Birth Injuries

Because of modern medicine, doctors and mothers now have options that will make giving birth faster and less painful. In every procedure, however, are trade offs which present dangers, about which, it has been discovered, many mothers are never told about.

These dangers often result to birth injuries which, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), number to 28,000 annually; those that result to children’s death, however, reach almost 9,000. The sad reality is, these dangers are nothing more than consequences of negligence, which means these can be prevented.

Some very common examples of acts of negligence are hospital practices that lead to medical errors, a doctor’s too much dependence on modern medical devices, a doctor failing to dedicate the time to prepare for proper birth and a doctor dangerously performing a rush delivery.

Based on a 2006 study that was reported to the National Vital Statistics Reports for the Center for Disease Control, the most frequent birth injuries resulting from negligence include:

  • Cerebral Palsy. Damage to the brain before or at birth which causes impaired muscle coordination. There is no known cure for this type of birth injury.
  • Brachial Plexus Injury (BPI). Refers to damage to the bundle of nerves that run from the upper spine to the hand. This injury can cause temporary or permanent disability.
  • Cephalohematoma. This happens when the blood between the skull and the skin’s inner layers pools unnecessarily.
  • Caput Succedaneum. Due to too much pressure during delivery, swelling of the scalp is its usual result. This injury, though, is not life-threatening and usually heals on its own.
  • Bone Fracture. A result of a difficult or complicated delivery which affects the collar bone or clavicle the most. This injury usually heals on its own.

Thousands of birth injury lawsuits have been filed in the past, all citing negligence as the cause of errors. According to the law firm Russo, Russo & Slania, P.C., “While any injury to a child can have serious consequences, birth injuries are among the most worrisome. Because of how early in life a birth injury happens, it can permanently affect a child’s development and impede the child’s ability to enjoy a healthy, happy life. Furthermore, the costs that birth injuries often cause families to face, including those for medical treatment and physical therapy, can be astronomical.

Birth injuries can occur for many reasons, but in far too many situations, the negligence or carelessness of medical practitioners was at fault. Medical professionals whose negligence causes innocent children harm should be held accountable for their actions or lack thereof. Fortunately, many families whose children suffer birth injuries are able to hold these professionals accountable and get the compensation they need.”

Read more

A Donated Kidney Gone to Waste

With at least 118,617 people waiting for organ or tissue donations annually in the US, this makes every donation a life-saving act. With to the scarcity of donors, however, about 18 people die every day due to failure in acquiring the organ that is also much needed by patients nationwide.

Due to the severity of the medical blunder wherein a good, viable kidney was accidentally thrown in a waste can, a lawsuit was filed against the University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC) in Ohio by the Fudacz family. The scenario of the case involved Paul Fudacz Jr., 21 years old, who donated his kidney to his 24-year old sister Sarah, in August of 2012. Diagnosed with late-stage renal failure, Sarah was deeply relieved after finding out that her younger brother, a perfect match, was willing to donate the kidney that she badly needed.

The team at the UTMC, where the surgery was performed, included surgeon Dr. Michael Rees and two nurses, Judith Moore and Melanie Lemay. Records showed that Lemay, who took charge as Moore went on a lunch break, failed to update Moore upon her return regarding the status of the surgery. Unaware that the donated kidney was still contained in the slush machine, nurse Moore mistakenly emptied its contents even before the surgery was finished.

The doctors found out about the accidental disposal of the kidney already two hours after the incident and since their attempt to resuscitate the biowaste-contaminated organ proved unsuccessful, they decided against using it, but consulted with Sarah’s family and told them of another possible compatible donor. The needed kidney was found in Colorado three months after; during which, Sarah had to undergo dialysis treatment, extending her suffering and causing her, her brother Paul and the rest of the family deep worry and stress.

Despite covering Sarah’s travelling costs to Colorado where she had a successful organ transplant, the Fudacz family filed a medical negligence case against the hospital. Meanwhile, Judith Moore resigned within a month after the incident, while Melanie Lemay was dismissed from her job.

Miscommunication, or the lack of it, is one of the reasons why medical mistakes take place. There are other reasons why surgical mistakes happen, more complicated ones, but miscommunication is definitely one issue that can easily be solved with enough diligence on the part of all concerned.

Read more