Not all doctors are held to the same standard of care. For example, it would probably be difficult to hold a podiatrist liable for failing to diagnose an abscessed tooth in a Syracuse medical malpractice case, even if the podiatrist was the only medical professional that the patient had seen recently. Rather, care and treatment by doctors who specialize in a particular field is measured according to others in that field. Would a reasonable podiatrist have diagnosed a problem tooth under the circumstances? Probably not (although he or she might have recommended follow-up with a dentist). In contrast, a podiatrist’s failure to recognize and treat a life-threatening infection in a foot wound might result in a finding of liability for negligence, as well as substantial damages at trial.
Likewise, certain knowledge and skill is expected of doctors who specialize in the care and treatment of expectant and laboring mothers. When this duty of care is breached, a family injured by this act of malpractice should have their day in court.
Facts of the Case
In a case originally filed in the Supreme Court for Putnam County, the plaintiff was a man who filed a medical malpractice lawsuit seeking compensation for the death of a woman who died from a uterine rupture and hemorrhage during a home birth assisted by a certified nurse midwife. According to the plaintiff, the decedent had previously given birth via cesarean section but was, at the time of her death, attempting to deliver a child vaginally. The plaintiff further alleged that the decedent’s uterus had ruptured during the attempted vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC) and that she had suffered a fatal hemorrhage as a result. Several different medical providers were named in the plaintiff’s lawsuit, including an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB-GYN) and his medical practice.