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When is a Montana doctor/hospital liable for birth injuries?

It has been estimated that one in 200 infants suffers some form of injury during birth. For new Montana parents, learning that their child has suffered a serious birth injury is extremely distressing. The knowledge that their baby may have lifelong medical complications, and may never be able to fully participate in life's activities, can be emotionally traumatizing. When parents suspect the birth injury may have been caused by medical malpractice, they have a right to seek answers.

Birth injuries can be caused in numerous ways. A physician may fail to recognize a serious condition in the mother, such as hypertension. Similarly, a doctor may fail to properly assess the baby's condition before or during delivery. As we discussed in last week's post, a doctor's failure to recognize a lack of oxygen flowing to the baby's brain can lead to cerebral palsy. Failure to properly use medical instruments, like vacuums and forceps during delivery, can result in head injuries to the baby.

To prove malpractice in a birth injury case, the parents must show that the doctor failed to meet the acceptable standard of care in his or her field/specialty, and that this failure was the cause of the birth injury. Expert testimony by a physician is necessary to establish the applicable standard of care, and demonstrate the doctor failed to adhere to it. Expert testimony is also necessary to prove the baby's condition was the result of an injury during birth and not some other cause, such as a prenatal injury or a congenital birth defect.

Parents of children who have suffered a birth injury may wish to consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney to find out if they have a viable claim for damages. If medical professional negligence was the cause, the parents may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses and long-term care for their child.

Source:, "Birth Injury Overview," accessed on July 26, 2015

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