In some ways, pregnancy, labor and delivery are one of the most basic and natural biological processes. There is no one alive on this planet yet who was not been brought into existence through the human reproductive cycle. Despite being a common, natural process, there is significant risk to both mother and child.
This is due, in no small part, to the large and advanced brains of humans. Large brains require large skulls, which can make the birthing process substantially more complicated. Labor for humans lasts longer and is far more dangerous than it is for most any other mammal.
Risks to the mother during labor, delivery and birth include the potential for extreme bleeding, as well as infections that could later endanger her life. For the infant, complications during delivery could result in permanent disability or death. Expectant mothers depend on the doctor at their birth to make the right decisions.
Doctors can make any number of catastrophic mistakes during labor
Despite the trust that women place in doctors, they can make mistakes. For example, a doctor may choose not to monitor a fetus during early labor. This could result in a failure on the part of the doctor and other medical staff to realize when a baby goes into distress.
Alternatively, the doctor could attempt to intervene in ways that are actually unnecessary. These decisions are often based in personal desires, such as wanting to go home or feeling burned out. The use of vacuum, forceps or even unnecessary surgery during delivery, could increase the risk of complications.
Finally, administering medications during labor can cause a host of issues. Some doctors even use medications in a way contrary to what they have received approval for from the Food and Drug Administration.
Examining the long-term effects of birth injury
Birth injuries can have a life-long impact on both mother and child. Children may have any number of issues, such as cerebral palsy, that result from a birth injury. These can limit a child's potential for independent living in the future.
Parents will have to provide care for children who suffer birth injuries. This will not only have a financial impact, but also a social and emotional one. One parent may need to stay home with the child indefinitely to provide care. The financial expense and emotional strain of leaving a career to care for a child injured during birth can drastically alter the quality and course of someone's life.
Parents whose child suffered a birth injury caused by a doctor's mistake or negligence may have grounds to bring a medical malpractice claim. Learning more about your rights is an important first step when you believe a doctor caused irreparable harm to your child.