Types of Child Birth Injuries and Establishing Malpractice
The birth of a child is supposed to be one of the greatest moments of a couple’s life, but this is not always true. Birth injuries are devastating on so many fronts and while legal action may not be on your mind at that moment, it may be necessary due to the financial strain that can be placed on a family when they have to care for a child that was injured at birth.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, birth defects alone cost more than $2.6 billion every year. Costs associated with these defects and injuries are physical therapy, special care, and special schooling, to name only a few. For some injuries and/or defects, there will be costs for additional transportation equipment, such as a specially fitted van for a wheelchair. These costs can add up quickly and if the defect and/or injury are the direct result of the medical professionals tasked with delivering your baby, you are entitled to compensation.
Examples of Negligence Causing Birth Injury
While there are obviously children born with defects that are not the fault of anyone, including the doctor, there are an alarming amount of cases when medical professionals are directly to blame. Some examples of these instances are:
- Improper use of forceps
- Improper use of vacuum
- Delay ordering Caesarian section
Improver Use of Forceps
Forceps are sometimes used when the child is not positioned properly or the mother is having difficulty delivering. When used properly, this could reduce the oxygen deprivation in the child as well as fetal distress, both conditions that are linked to cerebral palsy. However, when used improperly, there can be damage to the child’s head, neck, and/or chest.
Improper Use of Vacuum
Vacuums are used when the mother is unable to dispel the child from the birth canal. However, if the vacuum is not properly placed, it can cause an injury to both the mother and/or child.
When there are problems with delivery and fetal distress is obvious, doctors will generally order an emergency C-section. There are also a variety of other reasons this could be ordered, such as slowed labor, placenta previa, cord prolapses, or a ruptured uterine. If the medical team fails to recognize any of these conditions in the proper time frame, there could be unnecessary injury to the mother and/or child.
This is a condition that occurs when the child is not getting enough oxygen to his or her brain. This can be caused by damage to the placenta, an infection, or a tangled umbilical cord. Doctors and medical professionals in this niche of the health care industry are trained to spot these problems, as any delay could result in both mental and physical disabilities.
In addition to the reasons above, there are numerous other reasons a birth injury could take place, such as:
- Not performing specialized tests
- Not referring high-risk patients to the proper doctors
- Not properly communicating problems to doctors in a timely manner
- Failure to perform prenatal testing
- Failing to properly diagnose various conditions, such as infections, premature ruptures of membranes, and placental abruption or previa
- Improperly or failing to use Pitocin, a labor-inducing drug
Examples of Injuries in Newborns
Some of the most common injuries for newborn babies that could result in a medical malpractice suit are:
- Brain damage
- Brachial plexus palsy
- Cerebral palsy
- Clavicle fracture
- Erb’s palsy
- Facial paralysis
- Head trauma
- Klumpke’s palsy
- Shoulder dystocia
What Can I Recover in a Birth Injury Claim?
Like most personal injury cases, you can recover:
- Healthcare costs related to injury (i.e. therapy, in-home care, home modifications, special equipment or vehicles, etc.)
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Lost wagers
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering
- Past and future medical expenses
Distinguishing Medical Malpractice During Childbirth
As mentioned above, having a child delivered with an injury or defect is both emotionally and mentally draining, so your first thought will probably not be medical malpractice. However, if the child or mother were injured during childbirth or the child has some sort of birth defect, you will want to have an attorney experienced in this field look at the case.
Due to the specific nature of this legal niche, you are going to need an attorney experienced in childbirth injury laws. Our team of legal experts is here to help, all you need to do is call. Your consultation is free and you are under no obligation to use our services. To discuss your case, please call us at 855.633.0888. If you would like to learn more about our legal services before contacting us, please click here.