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Suing a federal facility following a birth injury

Arizona victims of medical malpractice at a federally-funded facility may still be able to file a lawsuit even though in many cases, the federal government is protected from being sued. However, the Federal Tort Claims Act waives that immunity for medical malpractice.

In Pennsylvania, a facility funded by the U.S. government was order to pay $41.6 million in a lawsuit that involved a baby who had severe brain damage after a forceps delivery. The lawsuit claimed that the forceps were misapplied and too much force was used. According to one expert witness, the forceps caused bleeding in the brain, skull fractures, and damage to the brain stem and cerebellum. Another testified that a mid-level forceps delivery is supposed to only be used in severe emergencies.

There are several differences in filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against a federal government agency compared to other entities, and procedures must be followed carefully so the case is not thrown out. Within two years from the time of discovering the injury or within a reasonable amount of time needed to notice the injury, the person must send a notice of claim that describes the case to the federal agency. The agency must respond within six months, and the lawsuit must be filed within the next six months.

Whatever type of facility they occur at, birth injuries might happen for a variety of reasons. Medical professionals might fail to monitor the progress of labor accurately and might miss signs that the mother or child are in distress, or they might have the wrong response to a medical emergency. If a birth injury cases temporary or permanent damage, the parents might want to file a medical malpractice suit. A court will consider whether the mother and child received a reasonable standard of care in determining whether medical malpractice occurred.

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