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Maryland senator proposes birth injury fund

When a child suffers a birth injury, one of the most important rights that child's parents have is to pursue a lawsuit against the negligent doctor and hospital. However, the Maryland legislature is considering a measure that would provide patients with a different avenue for recovery.

A Maryland senator is sponsoring a bill that would lead to the creation of a birth injury fund. The fund would be used to compensate families who suffer a birth injury without having to go through a lawsuit, although they would retain that right in the case of blatant negligence. Physicians would pay $7,500 annually into the fund if they perform five births or more, and hospitals would also contribute $175 for each birth that takes place in their facilities.

Supporters of the bill say that it would help victims receive compensation in a timely manner and would even prevent the possibility that doctors and hospitals would shut their doors due to the rising cost of malpractice insurance. However, opponents of the bill claim it would lead to a reduction in physician accountability and it would cap the amount of compensation victims of birth injuries would be able to recover.

All that being said, this legislation is only a proposal. It is not law. Under the current law, victims of birth injuries have the right to sue doctors and hospitals for medical malpractice. In general, doctors and hospitals are tasked with the duty of performing their job in a manner that is taken by reasonable physicians in the given circumstances. These circumstances include not only the type of treatment being given and the doctor's area of expertise, but also the geographical area where the physician is located. If a doctor fails to exercise due care, they could be held liable for the injuries they caused.

Many birth injuries, such as cerebral palsy, can be quite serious and take a lifetime of care. The expenses involved in such care can be utterly overwhelming. Fortunately, victims of birth injuries have options available to them to recover for such expenses so they can move forward with their lives.

Source: WBALTV, "Legislators push Maryland birth injury fund," David Collins, Feb. 28, 2014

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