Obtaining treatment for a health problem isn’t always as easy as going to the family doctor. While this may have been a common practice in the past, most patients who suffer from serious conditions are now expected to see a specialist, visit a lab or testing facility, or receive treatment at more than one facility. This is especially common among expectant mothers, who could encounter serious problems during the birth and may require more specialized care.
Unfortunately, hospitals and care centers often fail to take the steps that they should to ensure that patients are transferred safely and quickly. When this happens, and failure to transfer a pregnant patient to a better-qualified facility results in a patient’s worsening condition or birth injury, the facility or physician in question can often be held liable. To learn more about filing your own birth injury claim, please reach out to our experienced Florida birth injury lawyers today.
Obtaining Specialist Care
While all hospitals have certain types of medical equipment, not all facilities have the resources to address specific emergency situations. Some facilities, for example, are equipped with unique devices that are designed to address certain emergencies, like preterm birth. This means that when a patient is admitted to a local clinic, doctor’s office, or a hospital, he or she may need to be transferred to a more specialized facility if unexpected problems arise. It is not uncommon for this situation to occur during pregnancy or childbirth, when a variety of complications are possible. Failing to initiate this transfer process can have devastating consequences for the mother or the child, who may suffer from a permanent birth injury.
The Consequences of Failing to Transfer a Patient
While a failure to transfer a patient to another facility could be the result of a lack of ambulances to transport a patient, or being simply too far away, wrong or delayed transfers in birth injury cases are often the result of a healthcare professional’s negligence. For example, one mother was recently awarded $23 million in damages because she wasn’t transferred to a facility with specialized equipment, even though she was suffering from preeclampsia. In that case, the court found the obstetrician liable for referring the patient to a hospital that wasn’t qualified to provide care for a preterm birth, which resulted in the child suffering permanent brain damage during delivery.
Failure to Diagnose/Properly Transport the Patient
Alternatively, failing to transfer a patient could be the result of a doctor’s failure to diagnose a patient because he or she:
- Didn’t recognize certain symptoms;
- Failed to take a proper patient history; or
- Didn’t order adequate tests.
Whatever the reasons for the misdiagnosis, if failing to identify a medical problem led to a failure to transfer a patient for additional treatment, the physician could be held liable for any resulting birth injuries. In other cases, while a transfer may have been initiated, the actual transporting of the patient could have been done improperly. Pregnant women, for instance, often cannot tolerate customary supine positioning on backboards, as this can compress the uterus. To avoid this, patients should be tilted in a certain way during transport. Failing to take this step could have devastating consequences.
Call Our Office Today for Legal Assistance
If you or a loved one suffered an injury during pregnancy or delivery because of a physician or hospital’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation. Please call Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP at 305-371-2692 today to speak with one of our dedicated Florida birth injury lawyers about your legal options.