Midwife Medical Negligence Solicitors - Personal Injury Compensation Claims
A midwife is a professional who has a duty of care to provide competent support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period. This care includes taking preventative measures and competently detecting possible complications in mother and child, ensuring access to medical care or other appropriate assistance, and the carrying out of emergency measures.
Whilst the majority of Australian midwives are professional and act responsibly with the highest standards of care, a small proportion of midwives fail to act competently, resulting in damage to mother and/or baby. The consequences for the child can be devastating when injuries occur such as such brain damage, brachial plexus injuries, nerve damage, erb’s palsy, cerebral palsy. The mother may also suffer injuries relating to gynaecological damage, loss of fertility and psychological trauma such as depression and anxiety.
Not every thing that goes wrong during the course of pregnancy and labour can be said to be the result of medical negligence. Problems can occur despite the best of care. However where injuries and disabilities occur because of professional misconduct or neglect, the patient has legal rights to pursue a solicitors compensation claim.
This is where we can help. Our medical negligence solicitors are experienced in handling claims for compensation based on medical negligence on the part of midwives. If you are unsure whether there was negligence involved in your pregnancy and/or labour you should seek legal advice. Contact our medical negligence solicitors today to find out whether you are entitled to compensation. Our midwife negligence solicitors use the no win no fee scheme.
Duty of Care
Examples where midwives have failed in their duty of care include :-
- provision of improper or inadequate care
- failure to protect the woman and/or infant against risk of foreseeable harm
- improper use of forceps
- improper use of ventouse extraction pump
- failure to consult with experienced midwives and other medical professionals when practice situation outside level of own knowledge and skills
- failure to refer to other medical professionals (such as doctors and specialist obstetricians) when complications or deviations from the normal arise
- failure to follow a shared care plan
- failure to obtain informed consent
- medication errors
- keeping inadequate records of observations, care given and medication administered
- practicing outside the parameters of accepted midwifery practice and relevant legislation
- engaging in exploitation, misinformation or misrepresentation with regard to health care products and midwifery care
Midwifery negligence may result in injuries to the newborn such as :-
- cerebral palsy
- brain damage
- skull fracture
- intracranial brain haemorrhage & cephalohaematoma
- facial bruising and lacerations - can cause permanent disfigurement
- facial nerve palsy
- shoulder dystocia / brachial plexus injury / Erbs palsy / Klumpke's palsy
The mother of the newborn may also suffer injury as a result of negligence, including :-
- injury to labia, vagina or perineum
- perineal and/or pudendal nerve injury
- faecal incontinence
- bladder problems
- impaired sexual function / dyspareunia
- drug-related injuries due to medication errors
- psychological trauma, depression and anxiety
Birth injuries can result in long-term disabilities, requiring ongoing medical treatment, surgical intervention, and psychological support. A disabled child may need constant supervision, nursing and attendant care. If their injuries and disabilities are the result of medical negligence, then the child could be awarded a significant amount of compensatory damages to cover the cost of these expenses over their lifetime.
Your child may be eligible for compensation covering :-
- medical expenses (doctor’s fees)
- cost of surgery (surgeon’s and anaesthetist’s fees, hospital accommodation and theatre fees)
- pharmaceutical expenses
- cost of allied care (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy)
- equipment aids (e.g. wheelchair)
- housing modifications
- general damages for pain and suffering, loss of life expectancy
If the mother has suffered gynaecological injury she may also be entitled to make a separate claim for compensation as a result of the damage she has suffered. She would also be able to claim the cost of out-of-pocket expenses such as medical and pharmaceutical expenses, compensation for loss of income and general damages for pain and suffering.
The parents of a disabled child may also qualify for compensation for “nervous shock” if they have suffered a recognisable psychiatric illness due to negligence. Examples of psychiatric illness include major depression, panic disorder, adjustment disorder, post traumatic stress disorder.
From 1 July 2010, midwifery will be regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. There will continue to be an office handling nursing and midwifery registration in each State. The new national scheme will pave the way for a single set of agreed standards to apply to midwifery Australia wide.
Midwives will be required to have adequate professional indemnity insurance. Midwives employed by hospitals are usually covered by insurance through their employer. However, midwives in private practice will need separate indemnity insurance to cover areas of pregnancy care, postnatal care and labour care provided in a hospital. Currently it appears that the government is planning on excluding home births from indemnity insurance.
Midwives must practice competently in accordance with legislation, standards and professional practice. Failure to do so can give rise to an action under the common law for compensatory damages.
Midwife Medical Negligence Solicitor
Whilst there are many solicitors who practice in the area of personal injury law, there are only a handful of Australian solicitors who specialise in the area of medical negligence and have expertise in obstetric, gynaecological and midwifery compensation claims. It is most important that you seek legal advice from a solicitor who is not only an expert in this area of law, but is also a plaintiff lawyer, that is, a lawyer who is dedicated to representing the rights of injured patients and not promoting the rights of insurance companies.
Our midwife negligence solicitors have extensive experience in acting for patients and their families. They can provide legal advice over the phone or in person, advising you of whether you have a claim worth investigating. Should you wish to investigate your matter our solicitors will arrange to obtain the evidence needed to evaluate the strength of your claim (evidence such as your statement regarding what happened, copies of medical and hospital records, and independent expert reports).
In most cases our solicitors will act on a No Win No Fee basis. The majority of medical negligence claims settle out of court (through mediation or settlement conferences) without the need to resort to a civil trial.
If you are unsure as to whether you can claim compensation, then call us today or fill in the Contact Form and a member of our legal team will be in touch with you as soon as possible. There are strict time limits which apply to compensation claims, so you need to act as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected.
HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here