A recent investigation by the New York Times revealed Pentagon statistics indicating that compared to civilian hospitals, military hospitals have unexpectedly high rates of injury or other complications related to maternity care and surgery.
The numbers are quite startling. Consider the following:
- According to the investigation, more than 50,000 babies are born at military hospitals annually.
- Statistically, these infants are twice as likely to be injured during delivery as babies who are born at civilian hospitals.
- Expectant mothers were also found to be in greater danger - a 2012 Pentagon analysis showed that mothers delivering in military hospitals were at a higher risk of hemorrhaging after birth than mothers delivering in civilian hospitals.
The Times investigation also exposed incidents of malpractice in military hospitals, including one instance in which a surgeon operated on the wrong part of a mother's body, leading to the death of the fetus. Repeated occurrences of malpractice in military hospitals led the federal government to pay, on average, $100 million in malpractice claims annually between 2006 and 2010 - and many of the claims were related to maternity, neonatal care and surgery.
Active duty service members using military hospitals aren't permitted to sue for malpractice, but the Congressional Office Budget estimates that the government's annual malpractice payouts would likely triple if these service members were allowed to take legal action.
In military hospitals and other medical care facilities, when birth injuries result from negligence, victims are entitled to appropriate compensation. Consult a Chicago birth injury attorney at Jeffrey M. Goldberg Law Offices for more information on this issue and your possible options.