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Neonatal & NICU Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Washington, D.C.

Newborn baby in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Providing quality medical care can be a challenge when treating vulnerable patients, and there are few patients in a hospital more vulnerable than newborn babies. Due to their size and early stage of development, newborns’ bodies are more susceptible to injuries. Any injuries they sustain often result in long-term health issues.

That is partly why many hospitals have a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) staffed with providers specializing in caring for newborns.

If your newborn child was injured while receiving neonatal care, the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D., & Associates can help you pursue compensation. Dr. Michael M. Wilson is a Washington, D.C., neonatal and NICU medical malpractice lawyer with more than 30 years of experience. Dr. Wilson and his team have recovered more than $100 million in total compensation for our clients.

Contact our office to learn more about how we can help you with a neonatal or NICU medical malpractice claim.

Washington, D.C. NICU Errors and Malpractice Claims

Because newborns are particularly vulnerable to injury and illness, they frequently receive treatment in the NICU if they have health problems once the birthing process is complete. Premature babies are also usually treated in a NICU. The idea is that by placing newborns in an environment specifically designed for treating them, they’ll receive better care.

Medical professionals must carefully monitor newborns and premature infants receiving treatment in the NICU to minimize the chances of any additional injuries or illnesses. Negligence in a NICU frequently leads to severe complications for newborns. In worst-case scenarios, medical errors could prove fatal.

Types of Medical Negligence in the NICU

Some of the most common types of negligence that occur during neonatal care or in a NICU include:

  • Medication errorsBecause of their small size, even minor dosage errors can end up having severe health consequences for newborns. Providers should always double-check the dosage of any medications they order for newborns, and they should also make sure the newborn receives the proper dosage.
  • Ventilator errors — Premature babies and newborns suffering from respiratory issues are sometimes put on ventilators to keep their breathing steady. These machines can cause additional injuries if they aren’t set correctly, as an improper breathing rhythm can disrupt the baby’s oxygen flow.
  • Intubation errors — Intubation is when a breathing tube is inserted directly into a newborn’s airway, bypassing their mouth and nose so they can breathe more easily. If this insertion is done incorrectly, such as inserting the tube into the baby’s esophagus instead of their trachea, the baby can suffer serious injuries.
  • Feeding tube errors — Sick or injured newborns sometimes have a feeding tube inserted along with a breathing tube to make sure they get the nutrients they need. If this tube is inserted incorrectly or something else goes wrong, the child may suffer malnutrition and other harmful effects.
  • Patients receiving incorrect treatment due to misidentification or chart problems — A lot of babies look similar, so providers must make sure they’re giving the correct treatment to the right child. But misidentification errors and issues with patients’ charts frequently lead to harmful mistakes.
  • Failure to properly treat infections — A baby’s immune system isn’t fully developed at birth. Premature babies are particularly prone to infection. Doctors should take care to monitor babies for signs of infection so they can be treated quickly.
  • Failure to diagnose and treat newborn illnesses, such as jaundice, correctly — Many infections and other common diseases such as jaundice affect newborns. These conditions are generally easy to treat, but they need a correct diagnosis before that can happen. If a doctor isn’t watching for these common conditions, a newborn can suffer serious injuries.

Can You Sue the Washington, D.C. NICU?

If your child was injured due to negligence in a NICU, it’s logical to assume you can sue the facility over the harm they’ve caused. However, suing a hospital or other medical facility is difficult for one big reason: Hospitals are usually only liable for injuries committed by their employees. While nurses, lab techs, and other staff are often direct hospital employees, many doctors are classified as independent contractors. That is done partly to insulate facilities from possible negligence claims.

That said, some doctors are hospital employees, which means you can file a lawsuit against them. And in some cases, a doctor can be considered an employee for a medical malpractice claim if the facility controls the doctor’s schedule, sets their compensation rates, or manages them in other ways. A medical malpractice attorney can tell you more about whether you may have a viable claim against a NICU doctor.

Who Can You Sue for Neonatal Medical Malpractice in Washington, D.C.?

While suing a hospital for neonatal medical malpractice is sometimes a challenge, other potentially liable parties could include:

  • NICU doctors
  • Nurses
  • Lab technicians
  • Device manufacturers
  • Pharmaceutical companies

What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Neonatal Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Washington, D.C.?

Should you have a valid claim for neonatal medical malpractice, you should know there is a time limit for filing a malpractice lawsuit. The Washington, D.C. Statute of Limitations for medical malpractice is three years. While three years may seem like a long time, remember that to file a lawsuit such as this, much preparation will be needed. So, time is of the essence. Contact the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, MD, JD & Associates as soon as possible.

Compensation in Washington, D.C. Neonatal and NICU Malpractice Cases

The families of newborns who’ve experienced neonatal malpractice often end up with expensive medical bills, and the baby may be disabled for life. A medical malpractice claim allows you to recover compensation for some of the losses you and your injured baby have suffered, such as:

  • The child’s medical bills
  • The cost of traveling to and from medical appointments, including lost wages if you needed to take time off work
  • The child’s pain and suffering

A neonatal medical malpractice lawyer can tell you more about what compensation you could recover through a personal injury claim.

Contact Our Washington, D.C. NICU Medical Malpractice Attorney for Help Today

Negligent doctors and other medical providers should be held accountable when newborns suffer injuries or illness due to medical malpractice in a NICU or another clinical setting. Contact the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, MD, JD & Associates today for a free initial consultation.

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