The birth of a child is a joyous occasion. It most often comes after months of planning. Onesies have been purchased. Nursery themes have been researched and debated. Names have been selected. No one pictures the birth of a child as anything other than a blessing and a day of happiness.
Unfortunately, sometimes, a family in Rhode Island has a birth story that doesn't have a happy ending. Sometimes, due to an oversight, misstep, or deliberate choice by a medical professional, an infant is injured or even killed at or shortly after birth. For these families, the devastation is unimaginable. What was once thought of as a happy occasion is remembered with emergency technicians, unexpected removal of the infant, long nights in the NICU and long days talking to social workers and specialists.
Medical Malpractice and the Birthing Process in Rhode Island
There are many ways that an infant can be damaged by medical professionals, but typically these "ways" fall under two categories:
- while pregnant; or
- during the delivery and birth.
For example, a doctor may use forceps too aggressively that it results in scalp bruising, hemorrhaging, or even a skull fracture. An aggressive delivery can also result in other broken bones. Most commonly, the collar bones are broken, but there are also documented cases of broken arms and legs, dependent on the position of the infant. There are also unfortunately many documented cases of infants being dropped after birth, resulting in a birth injury.
Other medical professionals can also contribute to damage to the infant. Failure to recognize a mother's infection, providing too much anesthesia, providing the wrong drugs, or failing to take appropriate action can all contribute to infant birth injury.
Below are the most common birth injuries, however, in no way should parents consider this an exhaustive list:
- Broken bones
- Brain damage
- Nerve damage
- Physical delays
- Cognitive delays
Infants can die both before and after death due to medical malpractice.
One Family's Birth Injury Story
Rebecca Fielding and Enso Martinez enjoyed planning for the birth of their son in 2010. Their original birth plan included labor and delivery in the comfort of their own home, with the help of a knowledgeable and experienced midwife.
However, things did not go according to plan. The midwife reasonably determined that Rebecca needed more medical care and advised the couple to go to the hospital. Rebecca and Enso did as recommended. When Rebecca arrived at Johns Hopkins, she was examined and it was determined that a cesarean section was warranted. However, despite obvious signs of fetal distress, the medical professionals at Johns Hopkins spent two hours doing things other than performing the emergency cesarean section Rebecca and, more importantly, Rebecca and Enso's son desperately needed. During these two hours, their son suffered irreversible brain damage.
Johns Hopkins refused to take responsibility for their error. Instead, they insisted the fault lay with Rebecca and Enso. They insisted the damage to Rebecca and Enso's son occurred before Rebecca arrived at the hospital. Rebecca and Enso wisely turned to the medical malpractice attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian, LLC. Gilman and Bedigian, LLC relies on medical professionals and a legal team experienced with medical malpractice to examine medical records to determine fault. In their assessment, the damage to Rebecca and Enso's son occurred due to the negligence of the professionals at Johns Hopkins.
When the medical professionals refused to take responsibility for their actions, the attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian, LLC prepared for trial. After litigating the case before a jury, the lawyers received a verdict of $55 million dollars against Johns Hopkins. This verdict ensures that Rebecca and Enso's son will have the long-term medical care he needs over the course of his lifetime. The money will not, of course, return their son to the person he could have become, save the medical malpractice of Johns Hopkins.
However, Rebecca and Enso – and parents everywhere – can be certain this verdict sent a message to Johns Hopkins. Verdicts like this often result in hospitals and medical professionals examining their practices to make sure other families don't suffer the way Rebecca, Enso, and their son have.
Understanding Rhode Island's Statute of Limitations
The “statute of limitations” refers to the amount of time one has to file a medical malpractice claim. Generally, in Rhode Island, the amount of time to file a medical malpractice claim is three years from the time of injury.
However, in Rhode Island, there are exceptions to this rule. If the injured party is a minor (under the age of 21), the suit must be filed before the minor turns 21. Further, in cases where the injury is not readily apparent, you may have additional time to file a suit.
Rhode Island's statute of limitations requirements can be complicated. There is absolutely no reason that a family facing a potential medical malpractice claim should have to figure out the complexities of Rhode Island's laws regarding when to file a claim. Instead, they should turn to an experienced medical malpractice attorney for advice and counsel.
Has Your Family Been Hurt Due to Medical Malpractice?
If you and your family are dealing with the consequences of medical malpractice, contact the attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian, LLC. Our legal teams are well prepared to evaluate your family's situation. We do not charge families to meet and discuss potential medical malpractice claims. In fact, if we think your case has merit, we will not charge you to take the case unless we win a verdict or settlement on your family's behalf. You have nothing to lose. Call us today at 800.529.6162.