Medical Malpractice

Despite improvements in medical and technological knowledge, there are still many instances that can go wrong during childbirth. One of those is Erb’s palsy. It is an injury sustained only during actual delivery and entails stress to the nerves located close to the neck known as the brachial plexus. The trauma occurs when the neck of the baby is stretched throughout a difficult delivery including a breech presentation (feet first), prolonged labor, or expulsion of a large baby. It may likewise be caused by the poor use of some instrument to ease delivery or improper technique, in which case the doctor might be responsible.

There are varying levels of trauma, from light (neurapraxia) to (avulsion). In neurapraxia, the nerves are injured but maybe not split, so the nerve should mind within 3 months. Avulsion, nevertheless, is the complete detachment of the nerves in the spinal cord, which can’t be fixed.

The brachial plexus controls the movement of palms and the arms. Infants who suffer Erb’s palsy might have partial, or numbness and weakness in a single arm or complete paralysis. The permanence of these results will depend on the degree of the injury as well as the accessibility to treatment.

It must be noted that it can be tough to prove neglect as this form of trauma might be attributed to factors such as poor maternal health, beyond the attending physician’s control. Nonetheless, when the circumstances clearly indicate negligence, which includes the refusal of the physician when mom requested a caesarean section to do it also, then that is a different matter.

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People who have no business to be in a hospital are actively discouraged from going there mostly because there is always the risk of contracting a disease, especially airborne ones. In the US alone, it is estimated that every year 2.4 million people acquire one of the common types of hospital-acquired infections a year and more than 30,000 die as a result, making it one of the leading causes of death in the nation. However, contracting a disease or infection in a hospital does not mean the hospital is liable for any costs associated with hospital-acquired infections.

A plaintiff for a personal injury lawsuit against a hospital for an infection can only be upheld if the plaintiff had been a patient of the institution at the time that the infection was acquired and that acquisition was caused by a negligent act of the hospital or its staff. Getting nosocomial (originating in a hospital) infections are therefore not actionable per se; the plaintiff must prove that the hospital or its staff failed to implement or follow best measures for infection control.

Infection control best measures pertain to the sterility of instruments, materials and any surface that may make contact with the patient, especially during an invasive surgical procedure. Hand washing was the first measure adopted to stop the spread of infections in the hospital setting, and it continues to hold to this day. Proper sterilization of instruments prior to use is also standard practice, but even to this day failure to do these two basic practices is most often identified as the cause of the infection.

The hospital itself may have regulations in place but this is not enough to avoid liability for medical negligence. It is the responsibility of the hospital to ensure that employees observe and execute these preventive measures consistently. Failure to effectively enforce these regulations can render the responsible individual as well as the hospital liable for personal injury lawsuits.

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