While advances in medical technology have made labor and delivery less risky than 100 years ago, there are still risks involved. Indeed, no one’s birth story is the same. At the very minimum, however, expectant parents in Massachusetts deserve an attentive physician who is focused on their experience, rather than a personal matter. A mother and father from out-of-state claim that their doctor’s concern over the fate of his disabled vehicle left their son at risk. They are now fighting to prove their medical malpractice claims in court.
According reports, the mother arrived at the hospital just after midnight one day in March 1998. Both she and her husband claim that her doctor was on the phone making inquiries about his vehicle instead of checking on her. They argue that he used a vacuum to hasten the delivery of the baby instead of allowing the birth to occur naturally because of his concern over the vehicle. This intervention, they say, was both unnecessary and ultimately led to their son’s cerebral palsy; he is now 16 years old. He is unable to walk by himself and has the intellectual development of a 2-year-old.
The defendant, the doctor who delivered the baby, denies these claims. Although he says he was on the phone prior to the delivery, he argues it did not reduce his focus. According to him, he felt the woman was exhausted and would be unable to deliver the baby on her own, prompting his use of a vacuum.
Caring for a child with such severe disabilities is likely costly and may have required one or both parents to lose wages as care is provided. In many cases in Massachusetts where it can be proved that a doctor did not provide an accepted standard of care, a court has ordered damages to be paid to address the financial losses created by the medical malpractice. In addition to helping the family cope with medical bills and lost wages, an award could potentially help future patients by preventing similar negligence in the future.
Source: palmbeachpost.com, “Lawyer claims doctor’s worry over BMW led to boy’s cerebral palsy“, Jane Musgrave, March 4, 2015