Bringing a child into the world is a time of incredible excitement, but one that is also colored with a degree of fear. No two birth experiences are the same, and all expectant parents in Tennessee are well aware that there are a number of things that could go wrong. This is why so much care goes into choosing the right physician to attend to the birth, as well as the best possible medical facility to support the birth. When that trust is misplaced, the result can be a serious birth injury and a shift in the course of the lives of both parent and child.
Such is the case with a family who choose to deliver their infant son by means of water birth. They selected a hospital that offered this form of delivery and went through the birthing process using the water birth method supported by the hospital. Unfortunately, their infant son experienced birth injuries during the process. He now lives with cerebral palsy and significant hearing loss.
The parents allege that the hospital they chose made an error in portraying a water birth as being just as safe as a traditional birthing process. Multiple organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have stated that water birth can ease the mother’s pain during labor. However, those same organizations assert that there is no science in place to support the safety of completing the second stage of labor in an underwater setting. In fact, it is stated that such practices should be considered experimental in nature.
Within their lawsuit, the parents allege that the hospital portrayed the water birthing option as equally as safe as a traditional birthing experience. They assert that water birth led to the birth injury that caused the child’s cerebral palsy and hearing loss. In total, they are asking for $36 million to compensate for the pain, hearing loss and to cover the cost of the boy’s current and future medical treatment. For parents in Tennessee and beyond, the case could lead to awareness of the risks of selecting a water birth over a more traditional approach.