Can I make a claim for a baby breaking a bone during birth for a fractured collarbone after an assisted delivery?
If your baby suffered a broken collarbone during birth and it can be established and proven ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that the injury was caused by the actions of the midwife or the attending obstetrician, you should be entitled to make a claim for a baby breaking a bone during birth against the HSE or the hospital’s insurance company (if you were in a private hospital).
While an injury to a baby during an assisted delivery may appear to be a clear case of hospital negligence, this is not necessarily the case, as babies can be born with broken bones during a normal delivery. A baby’s collarbone can break if the mother’s pelvis is flat or narrow, and a difficult delivery can see enough pressure exerted on the baby’s shoulders to cause a broken collarbone during birth. Even with an assisted delivery, the injury may not have been preventable, and the fracture may have occurred prior to receiving assistance from the midwife.
In order to find out if the injury was caused by the actions of the delivery room staff, an investigation will need to be conducted by the HSE (or an internal investigation conducted by the administrators of a private hospital). To ensure an investigation is arranged, you must write a written letter of complaint, detailing the injury that was caused and why you believe the midwife or obstetrician was to blame.
It is also important that you consult a personal injury* solicitor for legal advice about claiming compensation for broken bone during birth. The letter of complaint is unlikely to result in an offer of compensation for broken bone during birth being made by the HSE (or the hospital’s insurance company), even if it is established that the midwife or obstetrician made an error which caused the broken bone. In order to receive broken bone at birth compensation it is usually necessary for broken bone at birth claims to be made, and assistance from a personal injury* solicitor will be required in this regard.
Before broken bone at birth compensation can be claimed – and even before the right to recover compensation can be established – a solicitor will need to write to all parties present during the delivery to obtain their account of how your baby suffered a broken collarbone.
Once your medical notes have been obtained, and responses have been received from the hospital staff, your solicitor will arrange to have the case assessed by a medical expert to confirm if your baby’s injury resulted from medical negligence* or was simply caused by a the birth process. The right to make broken bone at birth claims will then be confirmed.
If a case can be made against the hospital staff, you will be informed about the procedures which must be followed in order to make a claim for a baby breaking a bone during birth and, after finding out how much compensation can be recovered, you can then decide if you want to proceed with the claim.