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Doulas have a long history in the childbirth experience, dating as far back in the human record as we can peer, with the word “doula” stemming from the ancient Greek word for handmaiden. Women offering aid, wisdom, and comfort to another woman during labor and delivery can be a critical means of physical and emotional support.
Doulas are not professionals and Arizona and other states do not place state or federal requirements on this practice. Though a doula is NOT a medical provider, there are specific circumstances under which a doula may be liable under a medical malpractice lawsuit.
While women have been supporting each other through childbirth since human history began, Doulas, as we know them today, became recognized in the 1960s, as modern times led many women away from closeness with their mothers and grandmothers who historically filled the role of emotional support-giver during childbirth.
Today’s doulas undergo a training program and certification before going on to provide a pregnant and laboring woman with information and emotional support during the last trimester of pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. During labor, a doula helps to reassure the laboring mother by providing information about the process and facilitating communication between the mother and the medical staff as well as providing encouragement and information to the expectant father. In some cases, a doula may go on to provide information, support, and assistance with newborn care after parents bring a newborn home.
Doulas are not professional clinicians, but a doula may be liable for a medical malpractice claim if she performs outside of the limits of her supportive role and causes an injury. The parents must have evidence showing that a doula performed outside of the limits of her role. Some common causes of medical liability lawsuits against doulas include:
If a doula’s actions exceeded the limits of her duty, she may be held liable if any harm results to the infant or the mother since she did not fulfill a doula’s purpose, which is to supply emotional support, encouragement, and information and not provide medical advise or medical care.
As with other liability claims, proving a doula liable for an injury requires showing the following:
For a successful claim, a birthing mother would have to have clear evidence that the doula’s action or inaction directly caused the harm and that the harm led to economic and non-economic damages.
Most doulas carry malpractice insurance. A successful malpractice claim against a doula can help you gain compensation for the following:
A Phoenix medical malpractice attorney can help you understand your rights and determine if you have a case for medical malpractice against a doula.
The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.
Bob L. - "Mr. Knapp helped me with decisions I did not know how to deal with until he gave me excellent legal and medical consultation."