You spent a lot of time developing your birth plan. You had an idea of how you wanted things to go and you shared the plan with your obstetrician or midwife. The plan provided your express written consent to certain medical procedures as well as your preference for certain things to happen. This plan, however, was likely based on an uncomplicated birth where risk of injury to your child was not an issue.

Unfortunately, your labor and delivery may not have gone according to your plan. When this happens, birth injuries are a real risk, and doctors, nurses, and hospitals have legal, professional, and moral obligations to prevent injuries.

Medical Interventions Should Happen With Your Informed Consent

Despite the time and effort you put into your birth plan, unforeseen circumstances may arise. In these cases, doctors, nurses, and hospitals should not continue to follow your birth plan without consideration for what it could do to you or your baby.

Instead, medical professionals should evaluate the situation and make recommendations to you. For example, while a drug-free vaginal birth may have been your birth plan, that may not work out if the baby is exhibiting signs of fetal distress. Once the baby’s heart rate decreases or other symptom of fetal distress are noted, your medical provider should discuss alternatives, such as an emergency C-section, with you. The medical provider should explain your options and the consequences of your decisions to you so that you can make an informed decision about what to do given the reality of your birthing experience.

A Birth Plan Can Be a Useful Tool

Creating a birth plan can result in meaningful conversations between you, your partner, and your medical provider and it may make you feel like you will be in control during labor and delivery. Some hospitals, such as Norton Healthcare, even have birth plan forms that you can print and complete.

However, birth plans should not be seen as binding contracts with your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider still has a duty of care to you and to your child and should exercise reasonable care to avoid a birth injury whether or not you have a birth plan.

If the healthcare provider fails to provide that care and your child is hurt, you may have a birth injury claim and your child may be entitled to legal damages. Please contact an experienced birth injury lawyer today via this website or by phone to learn more about your child’s rights if your child was hurt during labor or delivery in Kentucky.

Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law
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