The decisions of whether to resuscitate a patient is often something that the patient’s family or a living will can help with, taking the burden of the decision away from the doctor and allowing them to focus on the treatment. With many newborns that suffer birth injuries or hypoxia, resuscitation might be necessary to help a newborn in distress, and a doctor should usually listen to the parents’ decision.
If your doctor failed to resuscitate your newborn and your child passed away because of it, you could be entitled to file a wrongful death claim against the physician. Talk to the Maryland attorneys for failing to resuscitate a newborn at Rice, Murtha & Psoras about your potential claim by scheduling a free, confidential legal consultation with us today. Our number is (410) 694-7291.
Why Would a Doctor Fail to Resuscitate a Newborn?
The medical decision of whether to resuscitate a patient depends on a lot of factors. In many cases, patients that suffer sudden or surprising effects are often resuscitated because there is likely little to no permanent damage in the short time from the beginning of the “code” to the resuscitation. Many patients might have personal preferences regarding what should be done and what level of extraordinary measures should be taken, and parents often use their judgment to make decisions for their children. These preferences could be based on the potential quality of life that the patient is left with after a severe stroke or other catastrophic medical event. However, when patients are very young – especially for newborns – extraordinary measures can often lead to a full recovery. Doctors typically only fail to resuscitate a newborn when it is likely to have no effect.
A doctor’s medical decision not to pursue life-saving measures like placing a baby on a respirator, using a defibrillator, or performing chest compressions should not be taken lightly. Doctors will typically pursue these measures if the baby has been without oxygen for a short period or suffered other injuries or complications that could be reversed. However, if the baby was stillborn and did not have signs of life in the womb, the doctor might find it medically unnecessary to pursue these measures.
Is it Negligent for a Doctor Not to Resuscitate a Newborn in Maryland?
In many cases, the decision not to resuscitate a stillborn baby is considered the “right” medical decision – but that does not mean it is the right decision in every case. The question of whether to resuscitate, as mentioned, is based on many factors and ethical concerns. Doctors must use the proper care and make reasonable decisions when confronted with medical questions like resuscitation, and failing to use reasonable care in making the decision can be considered negligent.
Doctors are held to a certain standard known as the “medical standard of care” whenever they treat a patient. This means that the doctor must use the same care and thought in treating a patient that other reasonable physicians with similar training and expertise would have used in the same situation. If your doctor did not take the proper precautions in looking for signs of life or attempting compressions or other life-saving measures, then the case often comes down to the question of whether other doctors in the same situation would have taken better measures. If other doctors agree that such measures should have been taken, then it is likely that your doctor made errors.
Unfortunately, there is no set of rules that state when such steps should be taken, and the facts must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis to determine if the doctor’s failure to resuscitate was reasonable or unreasonable. This means it is important to talk to a lawyer and work with a medical expert to determine whether the decisions made in your case constitute medical negligence or not.
Suing a Doctor for Malpractice in Maryland After Failing to Resuscitate a Newborn
If your doctor’s decision not to try to save your baby’s life was negligent, then you can sue them for medical malpractice. These kinds of lawsuits compensate surviving victims of medical negligence and the families of deceased victims for the effects of the doctor’s negligent care. In a case where a newborn is lost because of the doctor’s mistakes, the damages you can sue for can be complex, and the process of filing your claim should be handled with the help of an experienced Maryland lawyer for failing to resuscitate a newborn.
Before you can file your claim, you must first have it reviewed by a medical expert. This doctor can provide you with a certificate of merit that states that they have reviewed your case and think that the doctor’s failure to resuscitate does indeed constitute malpractice. Then the court can give you leave to file your claim, which will begin with a complaint that states the basic facts and accusations made in your case.
In your complaint, you must also state what damages you are claiming. A failure to resuscitate might not be the first instance of malpractice in your child’s case if the doctor was also responsible for the underlying conditions that caused the baby’s death. Doctors who fail to order necessary C-sections, who unnecessarily use forceps during delivery, who fail to screen for complications, or who cause serious brain injuries could all be responsible for their negligence. This could mean that compensation for much of the medical care provided to clear up the doctor’s initial mistakes can be claimed as damages alongside lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Talk to a lawyer about how to begin your case and what damages you could be entitled to claim against a doctor who failed to resuscitate your newborn.
Call Our Maryland Lawyer for Failure to Resuscitate a Newborn
If your baby suffered serious brain injuries or complications during delivery and your doctor negligently failed to resuscitate them, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras today. Our Maryland attorneys for failing to resuscitate a newborn can help you and your family file a medical malpractice claim against the doctor and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. For a free case consultation, call our Maryland birth injury lawyers today at (410) 694-7291. Act quickly because your case might be subject to strict deadlines and statutes of limitations.