The Difficulties For Parents when They Pursue A Negligence Case Against A Trusted Professional.

Sometimes when there is a bad outcome to childbirth, the parents are reluctant to pursue a negligence case against a doctor with whom they may have a long-standing relationship.

But there are other issues involved in the situation, and these issues pertain to the child.

An infant could be severely disabled by reason of the negligence of a treating doctor. This doctor might be the obstetrician who was caring for the mother through all her other births and through all her care leading up to this birth as well. But things went wrong. The child might need specialized care or treatment. The resources of the family may not be sufficient to deal with the needs of the child. In a way, the child’s rights have to be considered paramount above the parent’s right. It’s the child who technically would have that right to make a claim, for her own injuries and damages and loss even though she may still be just an infant. She is still a person and has a right to make a claim at law. So it may not just be the decision of the parents.

There may be greater factors at work, and that’s why there are government offices, which are really the children’s lawyer, which used to be called the Office of the Official Guardian. They are there to make sure that the rights of individuals are protected and pursued appropriately. Obviously the greatest guardian is the parent.

If the doctor has done something clearly substandard which resulted in injury, the doctor will probably speak to the family. He may not admit anything, but he might explain to them what happened. More and more we see a move within hospitals, and I believe with the doctors also, to be more open and less adversarial when dealing with people who have suffered damages or loss by a reason of an injury in a hospital or by reason of negligence.

Each case has to be assessed on several levels, and obviously a factor of trust between doctor and patient is one that does have to be overcome, but I don’t think that represents a substantial barrier. Parents have a duty to their child to determine what happened in cases involving serious deficits as a result of child birth. So I think the relationship is one that only goes so far and may be one that is given more weight in less serious cases. When something serious has happened, I think parents do want to know what happened. It may mean consulting other doctors for a second opinion or it may mean obtaining that second opinion by going through a lawyer.


If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with Personal injury law issues in the Toronto, Ontario Region, contact Tkatch & Associates

This article is taken from a May 27, 2008 interview with Murray Tkatch, LL.B., Personal Injury Lawyer with Toronto Personal Injury Lawyer in Toronto, a Personal Injury Law Firm.

Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.