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Would birth injury fund let physicians off the hook?

Every birth is different, which is why hospitals and obstetrics practices must remain vigilant to ensure every baby is delivered safely. An infant who suffers a lack of oxygen while still in the womb can incur devastating injuries that will forever alter a family’s life. In San Diego, parents whose child suffers a birth injury as a result of medical negligence should file a malpractice claim. These claims can provide the compensation a family needs to pay for medical expenses. However, they also have an interesting impact on the medical industry, as one state is currently reviewing.

The state of Maryland has seen several recent multimillion dollar birth injury cases in the last few years. One local hospital spokesperson said the litigation has caused malpractice insurance costs to double. This could threaten some practices to close, limiting access to care for some families.

As a solution, lawmakers have proposed putting together a birth injury fund that would compensate families who apply and have proof of the incident. This, sponsors say, could ease the financial burden that malpractice insurance and settlements put on hospitals and practices. Opponents fear, however, that such a fund would end up letting doctors off the hook too easily. Instead, they argue that the focus should be put on improving their care to prevent such devastating injuries.

Three states – Virginia, Florida and New York – already have such a system in place. Maryland may follow suit. Regardless of if your state has a fund or not, pursuing compensation as a result of medical negligence is always important. Families should leave the legalese to an attorney so they can focus on healing.

 

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Maryland bill would create birth injury fund,” Andrea K. Walker, Feb. 10, 2014

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