Chapter

Elements of a Negligence Action in Obstetrics and Midwifery

John Seymour

in Childbirth and the Law

Published in print July 2000 | ISBN: 9780198264682
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682759 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198264682.003.0003
Elements of a Negligence Action in Obstetrics and Midwifery

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This chapter focuses on the role of the law when antenatal or perinatal negligence has caused harm. This may occur in a number of situations. A woman may have suffered direct harm as a result of unsatisfactory care during pregnancy or at the time of delivery. In addition, she and her partner might be adversely affected by harm caused to the fetus. This harm might take the form of a stillbirth or the baby’s death soon after birth. A baby who survives might be in some way impaired. The impairment might be an injury (something from which it is possible to make a recovery) or a disability (involving long-term incapacitation). In any of these circumstances, the parents or child might claim damages from a doctor or midwife on the ground that the harm has been caused by a failure to meet the required standard of care. Before dealing specifically with claims arising from antenatal or perinatal negligence, the relevant principles that govern medical malpractice actions are outlined.

Keywords: negligence; medical malpractice; fetus; antenatal negligence; perinatal negligence

Chapter.  11419 words. 

Subjects: Medical and Healthcare Law

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