On Dec. 21, the Texas Supreme Court reversed the decision of a lower court to award damages to the parents of an infant who suffered injuries while receiving emergency medical care from a hospital. The reason for this decision, according to the court opinion, was that the parents were unable to prove “willful and wanton negligence” by the hospital staff. The parents originally sued the hospital under provisions established by the Texas Medical Liability Act.
In the court’s decision, one of the justices stated that the only reasonable interpretation of Texas law required evidence of willful negligence. They also stated that the litigants’ interpretation of the law was irrelevant. The baby in this case, who was born in 2011, was hurt during the birthing process. The injury occurred when a doctor and nurse re-positioned the baby after discovering there was difficulty moving through the birth canal.
The parents of the injured baby claimed that the procedure performed by the doctor and nurse was negligent. Both the nurse and doctor claimed otherwise by stating that the injuries were an inevitable result of how the baby was originally positioned in the birth canal. Because the incident occurred in the hospital’s obstetrics ward, the court said that wanton and willful negligence must be proved in order to get damages.
The family of an infant who experiences birth-related injuries may seek compensation if they believe negligence was involved. Since such a case could be complex, it’s important to obtain legal guidance. In some cases, a doctor or hospital will decide to settle out of court, but they may also fight the charges and force the issue to go to trial. Some lawyers on these cases will not require a fee unless damages are recovered.