The mother and father of a newborn who was fatally injured due to alleged medical negligence during birth involving the negligent acts and omissions of a federally-supported health care clinic and a Public Health Service physician have filed a medical malpractice case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland under the provisions of the Federal Tort Claims Act, alleging that the failure to timely provide the appropriate medical care during birth caused their baby to suffer severe and fatal injuries.
On January 23, 2013, when the plaintiff was 27-weeks pregnant, she went to the Labor and Delivery Department of Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, Maryland (which is on the Eastern Shore of Maryland), with complaints consistent with placental abruption (severe vaginal bleeding, rupture of the amniotic sac, and poor variability on fetal heart monitoring tracings), which is an obstetrical emergency that requires an immediate Cesarean section delivery. Nonetheless, the plaintiffs’ daughter was not delivered for more than three and a half hours. The delay in delivery allegedly resulted in the baby suffering severe and prolonged hypoxia and led to the baby’s death shortly after her birth.
The plaintiffs’ federal medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the attending physician failed to recognize and respond to the obstetrical emergency situation, failed to consult with neonatal specialists, and failed to order and arrange for an immediate, emergency Cesarean delivery. The parents allege in their federal medical malpractice lawsuit that had the physician complied with the applicable standards of care in caring for the pregnant woman and her baby, the baby would not have suffered her catastrophic and fatal injuries. The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages in excess of $1 million.
Why Was This Maryland Medical Malpractice Case Filed In Federal Court?
Most medical malpractice claims in the United States are subject to the laws of the state in which the medical negligence occurred. However, if the allegedly negligent medical provider was an employee of the Public Health Service (or certain other federally-related entities), a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed in federal court and the properly named defendant is the United States.
One of the allegedly negligent medical providers involved with the care of the Maryland woman states on its website, “Three Lower Counties Community Services is a Health Center Program grantee under 42 I.S.C. 254b, and a deemed Public Health Service employee under 42 U.S.C. 233 (g)-(n).” Source
Title 42 U.S.C. Section 233 provides that medical malpractice claims arising out of the medical negligence of Public Health Service employees must be filed against the United States exclusively: “The remedy against the United States provided by sections 1346(b) and 2672 of title 28, or by alternative benefits provided by the United States where the availability of such benefits precludes a remedy under section 1346(b) of title 28, for damage for personal injury, including death, resulting from the performance of medical, surgical, dental, or related functions, including the conduct of clinical studies or investigation, by any commissioned officer or employee of the Public Health Service while acting within the scope of his office or employment, shall be exclusive of any other civil action or proceeding by reason of the same subject-matter against the officer or employee (or his estate) whose act or omission gave rise to the claim.” Source
If you or a family member were seriously injured (or worse) due to medical malpractice in Maryland, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in Maryland who may investigate your Maryland medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a Maryland medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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