Maryland hospitals are asking lawmakers to create a birth injury fund to compensate families of children injured by doctors at birth. Johns Hospital Medical Center he the University of Maryland are two of the big sponsors of this proposed bill, stating that they believe it will ease the pressure off hospitals and doctors from high-value malpractice cases. This is after a $229 million verdict against Johns Hopkins last year.
About Birth Injuries
A birth injury is not a birth defect. A birth defect is a health problem that usually is DNA related. Some examples are Down Syndrome, a cleft palate, or even a heart murmur. Sometimes birth defects derive from outside factors like taking SSRIs during pregnancy. A birth injury is one suffered by a child during labor or delivery or soon after birth. Birth injuries may range from minor problems such as lacerations or bruising to severe injuries that could prove fatal. These injuries can derive from medical staff making mistakes that harm your child. These mistakes could hurt him or her for their entire life. These mistakes could happen for a variety of reasons, including inattentiveness, exhaustion, or inexperience. Researchers have pinpointed other causes of increased birth injuries.
Birth Injury Fund
The proposed birth injury fund would mean hospitals and malpractice insurers would pay annual fees into a fund. Then, families can use the money to help cover costs such as medical fees to treat their baby, lost potential earnings, and other costs. However, this could reduce accountability. Who would decide the amount of compensation and if an injury warranted it? With a typical birth injury suit, an independent jury would decide blame and compensation. A claim for damages must be clear, defined, and supported by experts in multiple specialties.
In Maryland, a health care provider who is supportive of the alleged malpractice claim must sign off on the case. Then, the claim goes to the Maryland Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office. Strict evidentiary and procedural rules must apply during the litigation process. If the state starts a birth injury fund, then injured children give up the option of using the legal system to gain rightful compensation.
These are other potential problems with this fund. Those doling out the money from the fund would be only representatives of the health care industry. There aren’t any patient advocates or families with birth injuries to recommend compensation. However, hospitals wouldn’t have to spend as much to help compensate injured children. This is the underlying motivation to great the birth injury fund.
In almost all birth injury cases, the injured child is entitled to recover damages for past and future medical expenses, attendant care, lost future income, and pain and suffering among other things. The fund will undoubtedly place limits on the amount of compensation and the type of compensation permitted.
Also, the fund will not attribute fault as a typical birth injury lawsuit would. The child would receive compensation regardless if the injury happened due to malpractice. Peer reviews and holding bad care accountable will disappear. A bad doctor’s actions will only be reviewed by the employer, who will do anything to protect the integrity of the hospital. In a jury system, a verdict is recorded in court records for all to see.
This fund is a mascarade of protection for hospitals and not children with birth injuries.
Costs Associated with Birth Injuries
Birth injuries are often lifelong complications that require consistent medical treatment and rehabilitation. Depending upon the severity of the injuries, the financial costs associated with birth injuries can range from several thousand to over a million during the lifespan of a child with birth injuries.
For instance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the lifetime costs associated with a child who has cerebral palsy (CP) is around $1 million. The costs associated with a child who suffers hearing loss after a birth injury typically ranges around $400,00.
It is important to remember that if your child’s birth injuries are a result of medical negligence and carelessness, the medical staff, hospital, and/or physician may be liable for damages. A complex litigation attorney can help. At The Michael Brady Lynch Firm, our lawyers have decades of experience helping injured people get justice and full compensation for injuries caused negligence. The Michel Brady Lynch Firm regularly takes on the largest corporations in the world with a track record of proven success and results. Contact The Michael Brady Lynch Firm today, and our attorneys will review your case for free and help you protect your rights. For your complimentary consultation, call our office now.