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When Are Medical Professionals Liable for Inadequate Prenatal Care?

prenatal care negligence

As parents, we do everything in their power before the birth of their child to ensure a healthy delivery: prenatal vitamins and doctor’s visits, birthing classes – even enjoying a baby shower with friends and family, secure in the idea that the welcome infant is safe in the womb. But barring genetic ailments, there are still dangers to the unborn child that can come at the misconduct or misinformation distributed by a medical professional. In these cases, the impacts can range from merely scary but short-term, to serious and potentially life threatening to both child and mother. In these cases, the hospital, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, midwives, and other birthing professionals are legally responsible for the harm they have caused.

What are some prenatal birth injuries?

There are two main categories of prenatal birth injuries: the first involves the pregnant woman taking or being exposed to a medication or communicable disease, without clear notification of the potential dangers to the unborn child. The second type of prenatal birth injury involves situations where medical professionals fail in their due diligence in caring for a pregnant woman, with injurious consequences to the woman or unborn child.

For example, if a drug company fails to adequately test a medication for safety, and then allows it to be prescribed to pregnant women, leading to adverse effects, not only would the prescriber be at fault, so would they pharmacy that failed to check for interactions and the pharmaceutical company. Even typically innocuous substances can be hazardous to the developing child: take folic acid, for instance. Pregnant women are advised to consume adequate levels of folic acid before and during pregnancy to prevent spina bifida. However, in excessive amounts, folic acid itself causes birth defects. A medical professional who failed to advise a patient of the proper dosing of folic acid would be at fault for any resulting birth injuries.

Another concern that many pregnant women and their partners are made aware of it the risk of preeclampsia, a condition involving high blood pressure that can lead to seizures and death for both mother and infant. There are few treatments once preeclampsia has developed, so the primary goal is to closely monitor pregnant women for any risk factors or changes in their baseline medical statistics. Should a doctor fail to notice, or worse, ignore the incipient signs of preeclampsia, the doctor and the hospital that employs him or her could be held responsible for any subsequent birth injuries. Common prenatal negligence include:

  • Exposure to toxins
  • Failure to disclose genetic testing outcomes
  • Inappropriate medical tests or care
  • Failure to treat gestational diabetes
  • Failure to diagnose rubella (German measles)
  • Failure to diagnose or treat group B strep

The statute of limitations on birth injuries in Kentucky and Ohio is only one year, thus it is vital to seek legal counsel if your infant was injured through the neglect or misconduct of a medical professional prior to, during, or after birth. Contact the experienced Kentucky and Ohio birth injury lawyers at Crandall & Pera Law, who will meet with you to discuss your child’s unique situation and help to get your family the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call our Kentucky legal team at 877.651.7764, our Ohio legal team at 877.686.8879, or contact us today.

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