Can I Sue a Military Hospital for a Birth Injury?
Your baby’s birth is supposed to be a momentous and happy occasion. This is especially true when your child is born while you or the child’s other parent are serving the country. After all the sacrifices you have made as being part of a military family, you expect only joy after your birthing experience.
Unfortunately, many military families are left to grapple with tragedy when their newborn suffers a birth injury. Military hospitals are not immune to medical malpractice or being found legally responsible for the harm a child has suffered due to medical negligence in the birthing process. In fact, birth injuries are twice as likely to occur when giving birth in a military hospital when compared to a civilian hospital, according to a report by the New York Times.
If your child was injured during the labor and delivery process or in the hospital after birth, Bertram Law Group wants to help. We can guide you through the process of suing a military hospital for your child’s birth injury. We will stand by you every step of the way of your military birth injury lawsuit.
Call us or contact us online for a free discussion about your situation and your potential legal options.
Birth Injury Claims Involving United States Military Hospitals
As many military families come to learn, birth injuries in military hospitals are not uncommon. According to the New York Times, 5 of every 1,000 babies who were born at military hospitals suffered birth trauma in a single recent year. This resulted in 239 injured newborns born to military families.
These figures do not even include the mother’s injuries, which often included severe blood losses, loss of the uterus and other injuries that occurred during the pregnancy or labor.
Military families who are considering suing a military hospital for a birth injury will encounter the complex requirements under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). This law makes it possible to sue a military hospital or federally funded hospital, which takes it outside of the governmental immunity that often applies to such cases. However, to receive compensation for birth injuries, you must meet specific requirements. If your child was born at a military facility overseas you may be entitled to assert a claim under the Military Claims Act (MCA).
Usually, you only have two years from the date of the injury to sue so please contact an experienced birth injury lawyer as soon as possible if you have questions about your child’s injuries. There may be some exceptions, such as if you did not discover the injury until after the birth and could not have reasonably discovered it sooner. A birth injury lawyer can explain the time limit that will likely apply to your case.
An FTCA claim based on birth injuries in military hospitals is different from other claims. This is one reason why it is critical that you work with an experienced military malpractice birth injury lawyer who can ensure that you consider all potential harm you and your child may suffer because of the birth injuries.
Once you make your claim, the military hospital has six months to review your claim and make a decision on whether it will deny your claim or pay part or all of it.
Types of Birth Injuries in Military Hospitals
Birth injuries in military hospitals can be severe. A separate New York Times report revealed that military hospitals often see fewer complicated/high risk pregnancies than civilian hospitals – and that they are often smaller and less equipped to deal with high risk births.
The report revealed the following startling facts:
- Trauma to infants during childbirth was 95% higher at military hospitals, compared to the number that occurred at civilian facilities.
- Mothers suffered postpartum hemorrhage 43% more often at military hospitals than in civilian hospitals.
- Shoulder dystocia to the infant was 40% more prevalent at military hospitals than at civilian hospitals.
Shoulder dystocia, postpartum hemorrhage, oxygen deprivation, brain damage, and other traumatic birth injuries are often caused by:
- Failing to timely identify fetal distress
- Failing to timely identify oxygen deprivation during the birthing process
- Failing to timely order delivery by caesarean section
- Failing to diagnose medical conditions in the baby or the mother
- Misusing or failing to safely deliver the baby with forceps or vacuum extraction
- Failing to test for certain medical conditions before delivery
- Failing to recognize a potential danger involving the umbilical cord
- Failing to identify and treat preterm labor
Based on the investigation by the New York Times, problems with birth injuries in military hospitals are far too common. These problems may point to systemic issues that have long gone unaddressed, such as not having competent medical personnel available to treat complex maternity cases, not prioritizing patient safety, or underreporting of mother or child fatalities.
The New York Times investigative team interviewed military doctors and nurses, reviewed data from Pentagon files, and reviewed thousands of pages of data. This thorough research often revealed simple mistakes and potential forms of negligence that could have easily been avoided, such as:
- Failing to read medical files
- Putting the wrong patient’s information on a chart
- Not responding promptly to distress calls
- Lack of communication between health care providers
Compensation for Birth Injuries in Military Hospitals
Birth injuries in military hospitals can cause serious problems that affect you and your child for years to come. A doctor’s wrong decisions and delays may result in a completely altered future for your child.
Often birth injuries result in significant physical, emotional, and financial tolls on the child and their family. A military birth injury lawsuit may be the only way to pursue compensation to cover losses, such as:
- Emergency medical care to correct the injury
- Ongoing medical care and treatment for your child
- Medical specialist and consultant fees
- Physical and occupational therapy services
- Medical equipment
- Counseling costs
- Annual life care plan costs
- Specially equipped vehicles
- Travel expenses for treatment
- Lost wages you incur while taking your child to medical appointments
- Your child’s lost wages during their expected timeframe for working
- Replacement services
- Long-term assisted living center expenses
- Your child’s physical and mental pain and suffering
Because the costs of raising a child with disabilities can be so high, working with an experienced birth injury lawyer is important to ensure that you consider all of the short-term and long-term consequences. This careful analysis can help you better anticipate your needs for the future and whether any settlement offer is reasonable.
What to Do If Your Baby Suffers a Birth Injury at a Military Hospital or an Overseas Military Hospital
If your child suffers a negligent birth injury at a military hospital, you should keep all evidence of the birth injury and the hospital or staff’s potential liability, such as:
- Statements that doctors, nurses, or other health care providers made to you or each other regarding the birth injury (write them down and date them)
- Medical records that document the injury and what the medical staff did in response, including all doctor’s notes, surgery notes, surgical videos, delivery videos, pictures, imaging results, lab test results, and medications you or your child were prescribed
- Medical bills that show the additional expenses you incurred because of the birth injury
- Employment records that show time you missed from work or used your vacation or sick-day benefits to care for your child or take them to the doctor
Once you have received an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan, your next step should be to contact an experienced military malpractice birth injury lawyer. This type of lawyer has access to experts who can review the care provided and determine if the military health care staff provide care that was below the accepted national standards and caused injuries to the child and mother. We can also explain your rights. Our D.C. birth injury lawyers can help explain your legal options for pursuing compensation that can help maximize your child’s quality of life.
Legal Help for Families Impacted by Birth Injuries at Military Hospitals and Overseas Military Hospitals
If your child was injured during the birthing process at a military hospital, our birth injury lawyers want to help. We have the skill and experience necessary to guide you through a military birth injury lawsuit. We have sued negligent military hospitals that have harmed military families through medical malpractice. We are prepared to fight to hold the military hospital financially responsible for the birth injuries your child suffered.
Call the compassionate team at Bertram Law Group or contact us online to begin your process of recovery. The consultation is free and confidential. Talking with us can provide you with vital information and peace of mind while you focus on your child’s well-being.