Home births are becoming increasingly common, with many women turning to midwives rather than physicians to guide them through delivery. If a midwife fails to observe or address complications, however, it may result in a devastating birth injury, and what should be a momentous occasion can quickly turn tragic. If you believe midwife malpractice caused your child to suffer an injury at birth, you may have potential claims. At Arfaa Law Group, our dedicated Baltimore birth injury lawyers aid families in the pursuit of compensation for their harm, and we can fight tirelessly to help you seek any compensation you may be owed.Standards Imposed on Midwives Under Maryland Law
Although midwives are not doctors, they are nonetheless required to adhere to a standard of care when assisting mothers throughout their pregnancies and deliveries. Generally, midwives are divided into two categories: direct-entry midwives and nurse-midwives. Direct-entry midwives are permitted to supervise and care for a mother during delivery, but they are not permitted to use forceps or vacuum extractors or to induce labor. Direct-entry midwives are required to consult with physicians and advise them if the expectant mother is suffering from any conditions. Additionally, they are required to immediately arrange for an emergency transfer to a hospital during a home birth if the mother requests a transfer or if certain conditions are present during labor and delivery. Nurse-midwives are registered nurses in addition to practicing midwifery. While they have additional medical training, they are largely subject to the same restrictions and duties as direct-entry midwives.Showing that a Midwife Should be Held Accountable for a Birth Injury
Although midwives are not physicians, they nonetheless can be held liable for malpractice if they fail to adhere to the standards imposed on them, subsequently causing a child or parent harm. As with other Maryland malpractice cases, the plaintiff must first establish the standard of care imposed upon the midwife. This standard will likely need to be demonstrated via statutory law and testimony from an expert witness. The plaintiff must then show that the midwife breached the standard. For example, if the midwife failed to observe that the mother or child was in distress and did not transfer the mother to a hospital, it arguably constitutes a breach of the standard. After the plaintiff establishes a breach of the standard, he or she must prove that the breach caused the alleged harm. This often requires expert testimony as well. In many cases, the defendant midwife will argue that there is no nexus between any alleged breach and the resultant harm. Thus, juries typically assess liability based on which party’s expert presents more compelling evidence in their favor. A skilled birth injury attorney can help you locate an expert who may be qualified to testify in your case.Damages Recoverable for Midwife Malpractice
Plaintiffs who are able to prove that a midwife is liable for a birth injury may be awarded both economic and noneconomic damages for the harm suffered by both the child and the child’s parents. Economic damages usually consist of the cost of medical treatment the child needed to undergo for his or her injury, and treatment the child will need in the future. If the child’s injuries are severe, and he or she needs constant care, the cost of the care will be a component of economic damages as well. Additionally, if the child cannot earn an income in the future, he or she may also be awarded lost wages. Noneconomic damages are generally the mental anguish, pain, and suffering caused by the injury.Consult a Compassionate Birth Injury Lawyer in Baltimore
Although giving birth is a natural process, complications can arise, and if a midwife assisting a woman during birth does not address the complications immediately, it can cause grave harm. If you were assisted by a midwife during labor and delivery and your child subsequently suffered a birth injury in Baltimore, it is wise to consult a birth injury attorney regarding your case. At Arfaa Law Group, we are prepared to pursue claims for midwife malpractice on behalf of injured children and their parents, and we can zealously advocate on your behalf. We can be reached through our form online or at 410-889-1850 to set up a free and confidential consultation.