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Court Allows Family to Sue Doctor for Birth Injury

Our Illinois birth injury attorneys found it interesting that a Florida court decided to allow the family of a baby injured during childbirth to sue the doctor and the hospital personally, since the state has a statewide fund set up to compensate families for birth related injuries instead of allowing the injured party to sue the doctors and hospital. According to the American Medical Association, the baby was born nearly ten years ago after the mother was in a car accident, and the baby had no oxygen when it was first born but responded positively to resuscitation. The newborn suffered respiratory distress shortly after birth and was sent to an area of the hospital where she was to receive special care. However, while in this special care area, the baby suffered more health problems and at that point experienced a hemorrhage and actually stopped breathing again. During this time the baby girl suffered both permanent and severe brain injuries. The family believed the hospital staff were responsible, but because of the program implemented by the state, the family was not able to sue the doctor or the hospital individually until very recently.

The reason that the family was unable to sue the doctor and hospital initially is because the state has a statute that requires that any birth injury involving oxygen deprivation during the birthing process be compensated through a fund set up through the state for these types of injuries specifically. This means that the doctors and hospitals are protected and that the families of the injured babies cannot sue them personally for injuries that are caused by a lack of oxygen during child birth. This is not something that has been adopted by all states and in Illinois the family of a newborn who is injured during childbirth may sue the doctor responsible and the hospital responsible for the injury to the newborn. This is an example of how different states may handle personal injury lawsuits and the type of compensation available to the victims of certain types of personal injuries. The reason that this statute was created in this particular state was to try to help with a growing medical liability problem in the state and to try to make the medical world more stable. However, many victims are upset by this law because it often shields the person actually responsible for the injury from any type of liability.

The court in this lawsuit found that the family was able to sue the doctor and the hospital because the injury did not occur during the actual birthing process but rather in the days following the birth. Given the timing of the injury, the court held that the statute was intended to apply to birth related oxygen deprivation injuries only and therefore was not to be used in this particular instance, because the injury to the baby that resulted in the brain damage occurred days after the birth.

If you are an Illinois resident and your baby was injured by a doctor during the baby’s birth or while at the hospital following the baby’s birth, please call our Chicago personal injury law firm today to find out what options you have available to your family as compensation for your family’s injuries, both physical and emotional. Since Illinois does not bar recovery against the negligent party responsible for the birthing injury, you may be able to recover damages from the doctor and hospital directly even if the injury was caused by a lack of oxygen during the baby’s birth.