A northwest Florida mental hospital is under fire after staff failed to take action when a patient stated she was going into labor. Desperate for help, the patient called 911 twice, but a hospital supervisor told the 911 operator that the patient was not going into labor. When the woman’s baby was born, he suffered severe brain damage. The boy is not expected to be able to breathe, walk or talk on his own. He is now on life support.

A record detailing the incident shows several mistakes by hospital personnel that constitute hospital negligence and medical malpractice. Hospital staff failed to keep accurate pregnancy records. Because of that it appeared that the woman was expected to give birth to her baby months later than was actually the case. Hospital personnel also failed to consistently document the patient’s vital signs.

In addition, the hospital did not have plans in place to deal with pregnant women. The hospital was also not properly staffed. One report indicates that several staff members were forced to work double shifts.

When hospital staff members are negligent, terrible tragedies can occur, as evidenced by this case. Injuries sustained in a hospital can be minor and short-lived or quite serious. A person may require long-term care. The injuries may even result in death. Tragedies brought on by negligence can tear a person’s life apart, rendering financial stability unreachable. Fortunately, hospitals and their negligent staff can be held responsible.

When a medical malpractice lawsuit is filed, a victim may be able to recover damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and, in the worst cases, funeral costs. These awards can go a long way in easing financial stress and making life a little more enjoyable. After all, no one should have to face a life of hardship because of a hospital’s shortcomings.

Source: The Miami Herald, “Florida hospital ignores pregnant mental patient’s pleas, and tragedy ensues,” Carol Marbin Miller, June 2, 2012