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Avoidable birth injuries and medical malpractice

One of the highest rates of hospitalization is during childbirth. New Mexico parents rely on their doctors for a safe delivery and the opportunity to bring their new baby home. But childbirth is often a risky procedure. An infant or the new mother may suffer serious injuries due to the medical malpractice of the doctor or the hospital's medical staff. When this happens the parents may wish to consult with medical malpractice attorneys in order to determine whether there is a legal remedy for their tragic situation.

One study concluded that 157,700 birth injuries had occurred in a single year to new mothers and their infants. Injuries to the mother can include severe vaginal or perineum tears. Injuries to the newborn can include head injuries, shoulder injuries, cerebral palsy and Erb's palsy. Birth injuries were reported even in cases where no instruments or medical tools were used during childbirth. Many of these injuries were believed to be potentially avoidable.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality also found in their study that contrary to popular belief, those with higher incomes were not receiving better medical case. In fact, it was revealed that new mothers from high-income families were more susceptible to avoidable birth injuries than women from low income families and communities, irrespective of the method used to deliver the baby.

Medical malpractice occurs when a physician or other medical professional fails to meet the accepted standard of care in their area of specialty. When a mother or infant is injured during childbirth due to medical malpractice, the parents have the right to bring a lawsuit and recover compensation for their injuries.

Source: AHRQ.gov, "Potentially avoidable injuries to mothers and newborns during childbirth, 2006," June 2009

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