Birth injuries cases in Washington State

Understanding Washington State’s laws on medical malpractice can help families who have been affected by birth injuries know how to get help.

Expectant parents in Seattle, Tacoma and the surrounding cities generally await the birth of their babies with much joy and positive anticipation. Sadly, this joy can be lost when tragedy strikes in the form of unnecessary birth injuries. Birth injuries can be caused by lack of proper treatment during pregnancy as well as during labor and delivery. Knowing what to do if this happens is important for all parents.

What does the state require for medical malpractice claims?

For any medical malpractice claim in Washington State, the state legislature outlines that plaintiffs must provide one of the following three things:

  • One or more medical professionals or facilities failed to provide what is known as the accepted standard of care and that the injury that resulted was caused by this lack of proper care.
  • A health care provider made a promise that the specific injury that occurred would not occur.
  • An injury that was sustained happened after a treatment was provided that was not authorized by either the patient or the patient's representative.

These requirements are for any medical malpractice claim that resulted in injury or death to a patient.

What conditions should parents be aware of?

During pregnancy, it is important for physicians to respond promptly to complications that can compromise babies' health. WebMD.com notes that pre-eclampsia is one such complication that can lead to high urine protein levels, swelling in extremities and high blood pressure.

If not treated properly, the condition can lead to the placenta detaching from the uterus and ultimate death of the fetus due to a prolonged lack of oxygen and nutrition to the baby. According to the American Pregnancy Association, 15 percent of babies can die if the right action is not taken in these cases.

During labor and delivery, delays in responding to critical situations can also compromise oxygen flow to the brain and result in cerebral palsy or other disabilities. WebMD.com notes that as many as 20 percent of all cerebral palsy cases have developed because of improper medical attention during the labor and delivery process. Children with cerebral palsy can have motor skill difficulties or even paralysis, problems speaking and other developmental delays.

What should expectant or new parents do?

It can be difficult to know when a medical error has occurred. For this reason, it is always important to seek proper assistance as soon as an error is suspected. Talking to a lawyer is a good first step in this process.

Keywords: medical malpractice, birth, injury