Neonatologists are trained to be able to respond to complicated and high risk situations involving newborns. Most issues are the domain of a pediatrician, but there are situations that are risky, such as when a newborn is born very prematurely, has an injury, or has a serious illness. When a problem is identified while the baby is in utero, a neonatologist can also become involved with taking care of the fetus during the pregnancy. If your baby suffered harm that you suspect was caused by neonatology malpractice, the Syracuse birth injuries lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano can help you assess your legal options.Neonatology
Neonatologists are doctors who, after medical school, can train for three years in pediatrics and may undergo three years of further training in a NICU. They are certified by the sub-board of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and the American Board of Pediatrics.
Neonatologists usually diagnose and treat fetuses with identifiable problems, as well as newborns who have birth defects, infections, or breathing difficulties. They also coordinate the care of any newborns that are born critically sick, very prematurely or who need surgery after being born. They also care for newborns during C-sections or other deliveries in which there are medical problems in the baby or mother that could necessitate a medical intervention during or just after delivery. Once a baby is born, they may stabilize and treat those newborns with serious medical issues. They will also consult with pediatricians, obstetricians and family doctors about conditions impacting newborns. They mostly work in a newborn intensive care unit or special care nursery. They may give brief follow-up care to babies once they become outpatients, and often they must coordinate care with a regular pediatrician.Proving Medical Malpractice
Not every mistake made while a baby is in utero will result in birth injuries. Moreover, not every error is medical malpractice. You can only recover damages for neonatology malpractice where you can show it is more likely than not: (1) there was a doctor-patient relationship giving rise to a professional standard of care, (2) deviation from the professional standard of care, (3) causation, and (4) actual damages. For example, if a neonatologist was supposed to diagnose and treat a newborn’s breathing difficulties and failed to conduct a proper differential diagnosis, and as a result the baby died, this may be a deviation from the professional standard of care. Similarly, if a neonatologist ordered the wrong imaging for a baby in utero with problems and therefore didn’t catch a heart defect that resulted in difficulties during labor, this may also be a deviation from the professional standard of care.
Neonatologists defending themselves against a claim of medical malpractice may argue that the baby would have experienced the same outcome even if there had been no breach of the professional duty of care. It is important for you to be able to show that it was the neonatologist’s breach of the professional standard of care and not the normal progression of a baby’s medical problems that caused harm. A seasoned medical malpractice lawyer can assess whether you will be able to make this showing on the facts of your case.Experts
Even before you file suit, you will need to have an expert review your medical records and the facts of your situation. In a neonatology malpractice lawsuit, you would likely consult with a neonatologist expert to determine what the professional standard of care was, whether there was a breach of the professional duty of care, and whether there was causation. Under the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules Section 3012-a, a certificate of merit must be filed in order for your case to proceed.Damages
Damages you may be able to recover if you can establish liability for medical malpractice are usually compensatory damages. These are damages designed to make a plaintiff whole or put him or her back in the position he or she would have been had there been no malpractice. In the context of birth injuries caused by a neonatologist, these damages can include economic losses such as medical bills, rehabilitation, therapy, out-of-pocket costs, in-home care, and other services. Noneconomic losses are subjective and may include pain and suffering.Experienced Birth Injury Lawyers Serving Syracuse
The attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represent mothers and babies harmed by neonatology malpractice in and around Syracuse. We also provide legal representation in Rochester, Elmira, Auburn, Binghamton, Ithaca, Norwich, Herkimer, Delhi, Oneida, Lowville, Watertown, Oswego, Utica, Wampsville, Canandaigua, Cooperstown, and Lyons. Please call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.