When an expecting mother seeks prenatal care, she is expected to receive that of the standard level. The standard level of care is “the degree of care (watchfulness, attention, caution, and prudence) that a reasonable person should exercise under the circumstances.” Basically, what this means is that a pregnant woman should receive the same type of care she would regardless of which medical professional she has rendering it. Of course, there are some physicians who provide a higher quality of care to their patients, but as long as a patient receives the standard level, the treating physician is generally free from any liability if something were to go wrong.
In the event something did, for example, the expecting mother suffered an illness that could have been detected by the doctor but wasn’t and it directly harmed the fetus, then she may have viable grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against him or her.
What types of medical professionals can be held liable for their errors?
The following types of medical professionals are all known to provide prenatal care to an expecting mother and all would be liable if they made a mistake or engaged in negligent behavior that directly caused harm to the mother and/or her baby.
- Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OB/GYN). This type of doctor has “specialized training in the care of women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery,” and can treat other gynecological health issues.
- Family Physician (FP). This would be a doctor who has obtained “specialized training in primary care, including obstetrics.”
- Nurse Practitioner. A nurse practitioner has received the necessary training in order to provide women’s health care. A nurse practitioner is certified by either the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
- Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). This is a nurse who has received “additional training to care for women with low-risk pregnancies.” There are some midwives who partner with physicians while others are known to work on an independent basis. CNM’s receive their certification through the American College of Nurse Midwives.
- Perinatologist. A perinatologist is “an obstetrician who specializes in the care of women with high-risk pregnancies.”
[Source: Sandford Children’s Health].
In the event any of the following medical providers make a mistake, provide substandard care, or engage in negligent behavior that causes a mother and/or her growing baby to suffer, whether it is from a minor injury or a fatal one, the mother or surviving family is permitted to file suit. Some of the common reasons medical professionals who provide prenatal care are recognized in a lawsuit include:
- The physical failed to diagnose a medical condition. Some common conditions that expecting mothers develop which to need to be monitored or treated by a physician include:
- Gestational diabetes
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Fetal problems
- High blood pressure
- Placental disruption
Pregnant women are expected to undergo certain tests and their physicians should listen to and address their concerns accordingly to reduce the chances of the mother or her baby suffering in any way.
- The medical professional failed to perform the necessary tests to determine if the mother suffered from any type of contagious disease that could directly harm her baby.
- The physician failed to take the proper steps to identify any birth defects or conditions that could have been potentially mended by having the mother deliver her baby before her scheduled due date.
If you believe you received poor quality prenatal care and the physician providing it has caused you or your baby to suffer, contact Ballard Law, PLLC to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Jackson, MS. Attorney William E. Ballard can help you better understand what your rights are and seek justice for any sort of pain or suffering the medical professional has caused you to experience. Pregnancies are some of the most enjoyable times in a woman’s life and never should this time be compromised by a physician who chooses not to provide her with the care she is entitled to and deserves.
To find out what our firm can do for you and your family, contact us now to schedule an initial consultation.
You can reach Ballard Law, PLLC. at:
108 S. President Street
Jackson, MS 39201