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Holding a Midwife Responsible for Cerebral Palsy

March 25, 2021

Midwives may be held responsible for children’s cerebral palsy if their acts or omissions cause infant brain damage. When midwives fail to properly monitor the mother and/or fetus, fail to identify the need for medical intervention and properly respond, or act recklessly during the labor, they can be held liable for birth injuries.

Failure to Recognize a High-Risk Pregnancy

Midwives typically perform low-risk births. They should seek intervention from physicians when a pregnancy becomes high-risk. Conditions or factors that make pregnancies high-risk include:

  • The patient’s last birth needed a C-section
  • The previous delivery was high-risk
  • The pregnancy includes twins
  • The patient develops diabetes or high blood pressure during pregnancy

A midwife who does not refer a patient to a doctor when circumstances arise during a pregnancy that require knowledge or skill outside the midwife’s scope of practice can be at fault for a baby’s birth injury.

Poor Fetal Monitoring

Midwives can be held responsible for a child’s cerebral palsy if they failed to properly monitor and respond to the fetal heart rate during a woman’s labor. Fetal heartbeat monitoring is critical for ensuring a safe delivery as it can show if the baby is getting sufficient oxygen in utero or if the baby is in distress.

There have been several cases where signs of a baby being in distress are missed because of a midwife not monitoring the baby’s heart rate. When the baby is deprived of oxygen during pregnancy or delivery, he or she can suffer cerebral palsy.

Failure to Respond to Fetal Distress Signs

Midwives can spot signs of distress but fail to interpret them correctly or identify the need for medical intervention. They may recognize the baby’s abnormalities but fail or delay in calling for doctors or transfers from birth centers to a hospital. In all these cases, the midwives can be held liable if a child suffers brain damage that results in cerebral palsy.

Midwives and Malpractice

Children with cerebral palsy usually require a lifetime of expensive special care. Parents can bring a claim against midwives. Experienced Chicago medical negligence lawyers conduct thorough investigations to determine if and how midwives were liable for the birth injuries. When the negligence of the midwives is established, compensation can be claimed to help parents meet the needs of a child affected by cerebral palsy.

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