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Failure to Adequately Examine Newborns

Baltimore Attorneys Helping People Seek Damages for Birth Injuries

Pregnant women often undergo diagnostic examinations during their pregnancy in part to identify any conditions their unborn children may have that will require special attention after birth. Because many conditions are not identifiable via diagnostic imaging or do not become apparent until the baby is born, pediatricians must perform thorough examinations of newborns as a critical part of a their care. The failure to adequately examine newborns can result in lasting injuries, particularly when urgent health issues are not identified and treated in time. If your child suffered harm because of inadequate medical care at birth, you should consult with a lawyer to discuss what damages you may be able to recover. At Arfaa Law Group, our knowledgeable Baltimore birth injury attorneys help families harmed by negligent medical care. We will work tirelessly to help you seek accountability from the responsible parties who have harmed your newborn child.

Exams Conducted on Newborns

Doctors conduct numerous tests on newborns to assess their health and identify any conditions or concerns. For example, a healthcare provider will administer the Apgar test to assess the Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity and Respiration of a child shortly after birth. An Apgar test can reveal whether the child is suffering from asphyxia or other issues that require immediate attention. When doctors or nurses fail to conduct the test in a timely or thorough manner, the untreated deprivation of oxygen may result in asphyxiation, brain damage, and death.

In Maryland, doctors also generally perform metabolic screening tests on newborns to evaluate them for phenylketonuria, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease and a variety of other conditions. Babies are also tested for spinal muscular atrophy, glycogen storage disease type, mucopolysaccharidoses, and Fabry disease, all of which can cause devastating harm if they are not diagnosed and treated promptly.

Proving a Provider is Liable for a Birth Injury

Healthcare providers have a duty to provide thorough and competent care that meets the applicable standard, which is the care that a competent practitioner in the same specialty would provide in the same situation. Healthcare providers who breach this duty may be held liable for medical malpractice.

In Maryland, most medical malpractice cases will allege that the defendant healthcare provider acted negligently. To prove negligence in the context of medical treatment, the plaintiff must establish the applicable standard, which typically requires testimony from an expert in the same field as the defendant. The plaintiff must also demonstrate that the defendant breached the standard and that the breach proximately caused the plaintiff’s damages. For example, if a competent healthcare provider would have conducted an Apgar test within five minutes of birth, but the defendant did not conduct the test until several hours later and the child suffered significant harm in the interim, the failure to adequately examine the newborn may constitute negligence. Whether a defendant’s actions constitute a deviation from the applicable standard, and whether the actions caused the plaintiff’s harm must generally be established by expert testimony as well.

In birth injury cases, both the child and the child’s parents may be awarded damages. Specifically, parents may be able to recover the cost of past and future medical treatment until the child reaches the age of eighteen, as well as damages for emotional distress. The child may be awarded the cost of any medical treatment needed as an adult, compensation for lost earnings, and damages for the pain and suffering caused by his or her injury.

Speak to an Experienced Birth Injury Lawyer in Baltimore

When doctors breach their duty to provide thorough care by failing to adequately examine newborns, irreparable harm can result. If your child sustained an injury at birth because the doctor failed to sufficiently examine and monitor him or her, you should speak with legal counsel regarding your right to compensation. The experienced attorneys of Arfaa Law Group regularly represent parties in birth injury cases, and we will aggressively advocate on your behalf. Our office is located in Baltimore. You can contact us to discuss your case through our online form or at (410) 889-1850.