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Hospital liability in newborn falls cases

If you were asked to imagine the worst possible scenario you could face shortly after having had your baby delivered in a Queens hospital, seeing your baby dropped would likely be at the top of the list. Yet with all of the care and delicacy you, your spouse and hospital staff members know that babies require, how could something like this happen? We at Futterman, Sirotkin & Seinfeld, LLP are here to tell you that such accidents are more common than you may think. The question of liability in such an accident may come down to the nature in which it occurred. 

When you picture cases of babies being dropped (termed "newborn falls" in the medical community), you probably conjure up images of someone mishandling a baby and dropping it. Such accidents do indeed happen, and when committed by a hospital staff member after your child has been born, there may be little question about who should be held responsible. However, many newborn falls cases (more than 55 percent according to Becker's Hospital Review) happen when mothers (who are often understandably exhausted after having gone through delivery), fall asleep and allow the newborns that they are holding to slip from their arms. Should hospital staff members share liability in such a scenario? 

You could make a strong argument that given their understanding of the unique nature of many newborn falls cases, hospital staff members should take measures to avoid them (even if it means recommending that newborns be separated from their mothers). Becker's Hospital Review even goes so far as placing the responsibility on hospitals to find a balance between newborn safety and allowing new parents to spend as much in-room time as possible with their babies. More information on newborn fall liability can be found here on our site. 

 

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