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Will troubling statistics back up creation of birth injury fund?

The birth of a child is one of the most momentous occasions that parents can experience. Unfortunately, the delivery process, despite being common, is also a very sensitive medical procedure, which is not without risks. Delivery errors can cause a birth injury that can haunt a child and a child's family forever. For this reason, legislators in Maryland have been pushing for what is referred to as a "birth injury fund," to help infants and their families. Although the legislation has not been approved, it may get a push after recent statistics have shown that infant mortality is increasing.

Last September 26, the state of Maryland reported that infant deaths increased in 2013. A week later, the health department announced that alcohol or drug overdose was instrumental in one-third of the deaths of pregnant women and new mothers. In Baltimore, hospitals and doctors voiced their concern about the state of birthing services because they fear litigation when medical errors occur. The apprehension coincided with the closing of the gynecology and obstetrics department at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Another reputable medical center also severed its ties with a midwifery practice.

While correlating the rising infant mortality with the closing of the birthing services may be a reach, policy experts and doctors think it is a sufficient argument for their push for a birth injury fund. The legislation was unable to get past the General Assembly in 2013 as its opponents criticized the proposal for not appropriately holding medical practitioners liable for their delivery errors.

While the debate continues on whether the birth injury fund should see the light of day as a law or not, Maryland parents who are concerned about the injuries their child has suffered may wish to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against an alleged negligent doctor or hospital. A birth injury can limit the development of a child. Worse, it can drastically shorten the lifespan of a child.

Source: Baltimore Business Journal, "Troubling health statistics for Maryland's infants, mothers could fuel renewed push for birth injury fund," Sarah Gantz, Oct. 7, 2014

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