On behalf of Hastings Law Firm posted in Birth Injuries on Tuesday, July 8, 2014.

We recently discussed serious failings of the Veterans Affairs Healthcare system in “Long wait times, failure to follow accepted standards of care,” on June 10, 2014. Since that time, it has come to light that it is not only long wait times that some Texas soldiers have to battle once they return home. Along with a high rate of surgical errors, many young military families are facing the trauma of birth injuries.

Staff at a military hospital in another state apparently failed to diagnose sepsis in a five-month pregnant woman. A young woman and wife of an army solider, she reportedly went to the hospital a total of four times with symptoms of a fever and the inability to swallow. Her concerns were dismissed and she was sent away every time until, eventually, an ambulance brought her back to the hospital for a fifth and final time. After being transported to a civilian hospital, the woman suffered a miscarriage and ultimately died at the age of only 21 years old.

Although military hospitals boast an infant mortality rate that is roughly equal to their civilian hospital counterparts, certain data paints a more sobering picture. Women who gave birth in a little less than half of military hospitals were far more likely to hemorrhage following giving birth. For those who delivered vaginally but with help — such as with forceps — the rate of injury rose 15 percent.

In another instance, after failing to read her record and admit her in a timely manner, a woman who required vital antibiotics during labor gave birth to a son who contracted her Strep B infection. The medication required to treat the infection ultimately caused him to go deaf. While he received a successful cochlear implant when he was one year old, three years later the family settled a medical malpractice claim for $300,000.

Despite an acceptable mortality rate for infants, in the time between 2009 and 2011, infant birth injuries occurred at double the national average in military hospitals. Texas military members and their families who have suffered a serious injury at a military hospital retain the legal right to pursue a medical malpractice claim. When such an injury occurs to a child the heartbreak can be exceptionally traumatizing, and legal recourse from a malpractice claim can be applied to any relevant medical bills or may also aptly compensate a victim for long lasting pain and suffering.

Source: The New York Times, “In Military Care, a Pattern of Errors but Not Scrutiny”, Sharon LaFraniere and Andrew W. Lehren, June 28, 2014