What Happens If Your Child Has an Injury During a Home Birth?

According to information available from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, approximately 700 to 800 children are born in this state each year in locations other than regular hospitals. This includes births that occur at home.

However, what happens if a child sustains an injury during a delivery at home? Who, if anybody, could be held liable for the child’s injuries? Here, we want to discuss home birth child injury liability. We strongly encourage you to reach out to an attorney if you have any questions or concerns about a home birth you have been involved in.

Are Home Births Legal in Kentucky?

Home birth is legal in Kentucky. Certified nurse midwives (CNMs) and certified professional midwives (CPMs) are both licensed professionals allowed to attend home births in this state. There are various agencies throughout Kentucky that assist individuals wishing to have a home birth, and we suggest that you do research when determining who to work with for your particular situation.

Home Births Carry More Risks of Injury and Death

Home births are not overly common in Kentucky or throughout the US. However, the number of home births has risen, and there are various reasons why women choose to give birth at home as opposed to in a hospital or clinical setting. Often, this includes cultural or religious reasons.

Unfortunately, home births also carry significant risks of injury or death to a mother and child. Medical professionals generally take the position that births inside accredited birthing centers are the safest settings for labor and delivery. According to the Mayo Clinic, research suggests that home births are associated with a higher risk of infant seizures, nervous system disorders, and death than those born in hospitals.

Liability Issues When an Injury Occurs

There is a risk of injury anytime a woman gives birth to a child. These risks are present no matter the setting, including in a hospital or during a home birth. However, as we mentioned, the risks increase with home births. However, could somebody be held liable for injuries or a death that occurs as a result of a home birth?

Determining liability for a situation like this can be challenging, and in most cases, any medical professionals present will not be held responsible for an injury or death unless their actions rose to the level of negligence. Negligence, when concerning medical malpractice cases, has a very specific meaning. In general, the medical standard of care must be examined. The medical standard of care is determined by examining a scenario of how a similarly trained theoretical medical provider would have responded to a similar situation.

In other words, if a medical professional assisting with a birth responded in a way that is not typical, and if other medical providers likely would have chosen a different course of action, it may be possible to hold the medical professional responsible for their actions if an injury or death occurs.

Home birth malpractice cases can be incredibly challenging. If you have any questions about your particular situation, we encourage you to reach out to a Louisville birth injury attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can investigate your case and help determine whether or not you have a viable claim to move forward with.