Birth injuries not only have physical and emotional consequences, but also place a financial strain on the child’s family. When a birth injury is caused by the negligence of a doctor or another healthcare provider, the family may be able to recover compensation for these costs through a birth injury lawsuit.The birth injury lawyers at Bailey Reyes have seen families struggle with the costs of providing physical therapy, special schooling and other care needed for their children. Our birth injury lawyers can examine your unique situation carefully and deduce whether your doctor took proper care during delivery and the amount of damages that may be owed for your losses.When an infant suffers a birth injury, the child’s parents may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor or medical professional(s) who delivered the baby. To have a valid claim, negligence must have led directly to the birth injury.Medical negligence occurs when a healthcare professional’s performance falls below the standard of care expected in the medical community. Birth injuries that are caused by medical negligence may be caused by:
- Improper Forceps Use: When a mother is having difficulty delivering her child or if the infant is improperly positioned in the womb, the attending physician may use forceps to help the child along. Proper use of forceps could reduce the child’s risk of oxygen deprivation and fetal distress, conditions that have been linked to cerebral palsy and other birth injuries. However, doctors have to be extremely careful as forceps can cause nerve damage in the child’s neck or chest, and other less severe injuries to the head.
- Improper Vacuum Use: When the mother is having difficulties expelling the fetus from the birth canal, a vacuum may be needed to assist her. Vacuums can be latched onto a baby’s shoulder or skull and guide the child through the birth canal. Doctors and nurses are responsible for properly placing the vacuum on the infant. When the vacuum is improperly used, severe injuries to both the mother and newborn can result.
- Delay in Ordering a Caesarian Section: Emergency C-sections are ordered if the child is suffering from fetal distress. This often occurs when the child’s heart rate slows as a result of a sudden drop in the mother’s blood pressure, bleeding from placental abruption or other problems in delivery. Other conditions that may also require an immediate C-section include uterine ruptures, cord prolapses, slowed labor, and placenta previa (placenta covering the cervix). If the delivery team fails to recognize that the mother needs to have a C-section delivery, they may be liable if their lack of perception causes injuries for the mother and child.
- Hypoxia: Hypoxia is a condition that takes place when the child’s brain is not receiving enough oxygen. During childbirth, hypoxia can be caused by a tangled umbilical cord, infection or damage to the placenta. Medical practitioners are trained to detect hypoxia well in advance and to take steps to eliminate the chance of either the mother or child facing harm. If the doctor fails to notice the hypoxic event and take quick, necessary action to avoid injury, he or she may be liable for any resulting damages. If hypoxia is not quickly addressed, the child can develop chronic mental and physical disabilities.
Birth injuries may also stem from the following, which may indicate medical negligence:
- Failing to properly use the labor-inducing drug Pitocin;
- Neglecting to perform specialized tests during pregnancy;
- Failing to diagnose or treat infections, placental abruption or previa, umbilical cord entrapment or premature rupture of the membranes;
- Neglecting to refer high-risk patients to doctors specialized in this area;
- Failing to note and address changes in the fetus’ condition;
- Failing to perform sufficient prenatal testing; or
- Neglecting to communicate problems to doctors.
Birth Injuries in NewbornsOur attorneys are available to review claims involving the following types of birth injuries:
- Clavicle fracture;
- Brain damage or head trauma;
- Brachial plexus palsy;
- Cerebral palsy;
- Erb's palsy;
- Klumpke’s palsy;
- Shoulder dystocia;
- Facial paralysis;
- Torticollis (wry neck); and
- Injuries Resulting from Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE).
What Can I Recover in a Birth Injury Claim?When a child suffers a severe birth injury as a result of medical negligence, the family may be entitled to monetary damages. Damages provide compensation for losses suffered as a result of the medical provider’s negligence. Damages can cover both monetary losses and intangible losses, such as a decreased quality of life. Compensation for the following may be available in a birth injury lawsuit:
- Past and future medical expenses;
- Additional healthcare costs (e.g., occupational therapy, counseling, in-home care, special vehicles or equipment, home modifications);
- Lost wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of society and companionship; and
- Loss of life’s enjoyment.
If your child was injured at birth because of your doctor’s negligence, you may be able to file a birth injury claim. The birth injury lawyers at Bailey Reyes may be able to file a claim against the medical professional who delivered your child. To find out if you could be owed compensation, fill out our free case review form to contact us today.