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Can You Sue a Hospital For a Traumatic Birth?

Apr 28, 2021 | Birth Injuries, Birth Trauma, Firm News

Enduring trauma during childbirth can be one of the most disturbing experiences of a lifetime. As a mother, you carry your baby for nine whole months. That’s a long time to build an unbreakable bond.

Unfortunately, traumatic birth experiences happen all the time in the U.S. Sometimes, the hospital is to blame for these excruciating circumstances.

If this has happened to you, you may wonder if you have any options for legal recourse. Here’s what you need to know:

Hospitals Can Be Sued for Malpractice

There are several instances in which a hospital may be held responsible for a negligent delivery. Before you can understand how suing a hospital works, you must first understand that physicians are often not employees of the hospitals they operate out of.

Most doctors who work in hospitals are independent contractors. This distinction is important because hospitals hold less liability for independent contractors than they do for employees.

One solid defense for holding a hospital liable for a birth injury is to prove that the hospital knew or should have known the independently contracted negligent physician had a history or reputation for negligence and made the choice to allow the doctor to deliver babies anyway.

It’s easier to sue a hospital for a birth injury when the delivering doctor is an employee. Indiana follows a “respondent superior” doctrine, which means that employers are obligated to answer for their employees’ actions.

Even though the hospital may not have directly caused your birth experience to be traumatic, if your physician was “acting within the scope of employment” during your baby’s birth, you may be able to hold the hospital directly liable for your baby’s injuries and resulting damages.

Caroline Malatesta’s Experience Provides Hope

Caroline Malatesta of Birmingham, Alabama sued her hospital “for offering her an opportunity to have a natural, ‘personalized’ birth — but ended up being restrained by nurses during labor to the point of suffering intense physical and emotional injuries.”

Caroline chose a hospital for her baby’s birth that promised autonomy, birthing tubs, cushy suites, and the promise to honor her birth plan. Unfortunately, that’s not at all what happened when she gave birth to her son.

She experienced a staggering series of aggressive medical interventions. One of which occurred when she was demanded to go onto her back by nurses who forced her son’s crowning head inside of her for six whole minutes while they waited for the doctor to show up.

Because of this intervention, Caroline was left with a rare and debilitating nerve injury, pudendal neuralgia, which will forever cause her significant and chronic pain in addition to the lingering psychological trauma.

When Caroline and her husband sued the hospital, they ended up walking away with $16 million in damages.

If you or your baby have been harmed as a result of hospital or doctor negligence, we may be able to help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Garau Germano, P.C. today by calling 317-978-9973 to discuss the details of your case.