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Texas Supreme Court weighs in on birth injury case

The birth of a child is an exciting time in the lives of parents. While many prospective mothers and fathers may exert a great amount of effort to prepare for their child's arrival, they cannot always anticipate the needs that their children will have once they enter the world. Particularly when a child is born with an illness or injury, parents may need to scramble to understand their conditions and related care.

In 2011, a pregnant mother was admitted to a Texas hospital in order to be induced into labor. Once the procedure began her labor progressed until her doctor discovered that the baby had become stuck inside of her. The doctor and a nurse attempted to move the baby's arm so that it could pass through the birthing canal, but during the process the baby's shoulder was injured.

After the parents of the child sued the doctor and nurse for medical malpractice and lost in the trial court, they appealed their case. That court agreed with the parents' interpretation of the law, which allowed them to collect damages for their son's birth injuries. However, the matter made its way to the Texas Supreme Court, which held that under the law a plaintiff must show willful and wanton negligence when emergency services are rendered in an obstetrics ward in order to prove medical malpractice for a birthing injury.

Decisions of the state's high court can have repercussions on how injured parties apply the law to their own medical malpractice cases. Because the law is open to the interpretation of the courts, it is important that individuals get the right information to fully grasp the legal standards they will be held to prove when their claims arrive in court.

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