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Proposed birth injury fund in Maryland draws support, criticism

Expectant Pennsylvania parents typically await the arrival of their children with great joy. The birth process itself is part of the anticipation with many mothers focused heavily on a beautiful experience when bringing their babies into the world. While many times these dreams are able to become realities, other times very different realities emerge. Birth injuries can and do happen and they have the power to render what would otherwise have been healthy babies seriously injured.

A birth injury case may involve any number of conditions such as a brain injury, Erb’s palsy or some other permanent disability. Families seeking compensation for the injuries and assistance in order to care for their children can pursue legal action. Three states in the nation—Virginia, New York and Florida—offer state-run funds to provide some help to families. A news article recently reported that a bill has now been proposed in Maryland to create a similar fund for families of babies who have suffered birth-related neurological damage.

Critics of the bill are concerned that, if passed, many families who would otherwise seek legal action would not, allowing medical personnel to essentially be left unaccountable for their errors. Proponents of the bill—including some large medical facilities—insist that relief is needed to abate the high damage awards that could prevent their ability to continue delivering care.

The road ahead for the Maryland bill is unknown. Similarly, whether or not such a fund would ever be created in Pennsylvania is also unknown. However, with or without such assistance, parents with a baby or child who has suffered injuries during the delivery process may want to talk with an attorney to learn how they can get help.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Maryland bill would create birth injury fund,” Andrea K. Walker, February 8, 2014

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