Childhood vaccination can be tricky in the legal world. Parents have rights to refuse any treatment provided by a medical facility, but doctors are also responsible for providing a reasonable standard of medical care, which may include vaccinating. Most newborns receive immunizations for hepatitis B, a vitamin K supplement injection, and an eye ointment. You have the right to refuse one or all of these treatments.
You can sue a hospital for giving a vaccination or for not giving a vaccination, depending on the circumstances. If you do not want your baby vaccinated, the best course of action is to stipulate that when you develop your birth plan. You should sign a waiver of immunization and provide the hospital with that waiver well in advance of labor. You may want to have a copy of the waiver on hand to remind the hospital staff. If your doctor immunizes your child anyway and the immunizations harm the newborn, you have grounds to sue. However, if the vaccination doesn’t harm your child, you may not be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Conversely, if you do want your newborn vaccinated and the hospital does not do it, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. If your child later gets sick as a result of not being vaccinated, the hospital may be liable.
Laws Regarding Vaccinations in West Virginia
Although you have rights to refuse vaccinations in West Virginia, failing to vaccinate your children before they enter school can be a criminal violation. You must have your children vaccinated against certain illnesses before they are allowed to go to school unless you can provide sufficient reason why they cannot be vaccinated.
What to Do If Your Child Was Improperly Vaccinated
If you signed a waiver of immunization, but your child was vaccinated anyway and suffered harm as a result, you may have more than one form of recourse. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program provides financial compensation to people whose children have suffered harm as a result of childhood vaccines. As with a court case, individuals filing for compensation through this program must prove that a required vaccination caused the injury and that the injury was severe (i.e. lasted six months or longer, resulted in death, or required surgery or a hospital stay).
The moment you make a connection between a vaccination (or lack thereof) and a child’s injury or illness, we recommend speaking with a West Virginia medical malpractice lawyer. Depending on your actions at the time of the vaccination and the circumstances of the injury, you may be able to file legal action against the hospital or medical facility responsible for the error.
Finding a Medical Malpractice Attorney in West Virginia
Seeking legal action against the responsible parties may be the only way to cover the pain and suffering caused by malpractice. Some babies may have severe reactions to vaccinations or become seriously ill if they don’t receive requested vaccinations.
At Tiano O’Dell, PLLC, we understand medical malpractice in West Virginia and the laws that govern vaccinations here. The media recently put a spotlight on a parent’s right to refuse vaccination, which extends to our state. For more information about state laws and to learn more about taking legal action against a hospital for improper vaccination, contact us today. Our personal injury attorneys in Charleston will help you get the compensation you deserve.