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Mother Wins $16 Million Award in Child Delivery Malpractice Suit

Mother Went to Birmingham Hospital Seeking Natural Childbirth

A jury awarded a patient with a $16 million award in a medical malpractice lawsuit against Brookwood Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama on Friday, August 5, according to Mississippi News Now Jackson. The verdict held the hospital liable for medical negligence in the handling of the delivery of Caroline Malatesta’s child. She also sued Brookwood Baptist for reckless fraud regarding a series of advertisements for their natural delivery program. The case began over two years ago.

Brookwood Baptist Violated Natural Childbirth Practices

After seeing one of Brookwood Baptist’s advertisements for natural childbirth services, Malatesta came to the hospital to give birth to her third child. She was particularly interested in the option of having a water birth. Fox 6 News Birmingham reports that there were several abnormalities about the delivery procedure that led to the medical malpractice claim. Instead of resting on her hands and knees, the hospital staff forced her to lay on her back. When the child’s head began to emerge, a nurse applied force to the head to delay delivery. Malatesta suffered afterward from nerve damage that resulted in a condition called pudendal neuralgia, which means she suffers from extreme pain in the genitals or anal-rectal region. The award included $10 million in compensatory damages and $6 million in punitive damages.

Medical Malpractice Holds Doctors to Professional Standards

Most negligence lawsuits hold the defendant responsible for acting a way that another reasonable person would not. For example, if we sue someone for negligence after a car accident, we have to prove that the driver didn’t behave as another reasonable driver would have.

Medical malpractice lawsuits, on the other hand, hold doctors to a special standard. Because doctors have specialized knowledge and skills, they must behave according to the standards of their profession. A medical malpractice lawsuit seeks to prove that the doctor failed to follow standard medical practice, and that this failure led to injuries to the patient. In Mississippi, there is a statute of limitations for medical malpractice: according to section 15-1-36 of the Mississippi Code, the victim must begin any lawsuit for medical malpractice within two years of when they first should have noticed the malpractice.

Doctors May Be Liable for Failing to Follow Natural Delivery Practices

In the case of the Brookwood Baptist natural delivery program, the standard of behavior for the doctors and medical staff may be even more specific. It’s common practice for mothers to give birth on their back in hospitals, although many natural birth proponents believe that other positions are healthier for the mother, because they reduce the amount of force she must use to push the child. If a mother has elected for natural childbirth, a court might compare the doctor’s behavior to that of other doctors practicing that specialization. If the doctor does not deliver the child in the way that is common practice for other natural childbirth deliveries, and this failure results in injuries to the patient, then the doctor can be liable for medical malpractice.

Get Legal Help

If you or someone you know has been the victim of negligent medical care, you need legal help. Get in touch with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer at the office of Derek L. Hall, PLLC in Jackson today to get the compensation you deserve.

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