Approximately one out of every 200 infants born in the U.S. suffers injuries during the birth process. Most of these injuries are minor, and many of them are unavoidable due to the baby’s size, position, or prematurity. In some cases, however, birth injuries or trauma is the direct result of negligence on the part of the healthcare professionals responsible for providing care for the expecting mother and her baby.
In some instances, especially when brain trauma is involved, birth injuries can be very serious, with long-term effects on the child’s physical, mental and social development. In these cases, it is important to obtain the best possible medical care as soon as possible. It’s also very important to obtain legal advice from an experienced birth injury lawyer who can answer your questions about possible medical negligence or malpractice and help you decide what course of action is in the best interests of your family.
Birth Injuries and Medical Malpractice
Birth injuries can be caused by a number of issues, including the mother’s preexisting medical conditions, abnormal positioning of the baby, premature separation of the placenta and the uterine wall, and medical malpractice or negligence that leads to fetal trauma or lack of oxygen.
In cases of medical malpractice or negligence, birth injuries can occur when:
Medical professionals fail to react to critical issues in a timely manner.
If your baby experiences distress during labor, such as a decreased heart rate or problems with the umbilical cord or placenta, an emergency C-section could be necessary. If, for some reason, the doctor and labor and delivery team delay in considering and ordering a C-section when it is necessary, and, as a result, your child suffers injuries, they could be liable for those injuries.
Fetal monitoring is inadequate.
During labor and delivery, your baby’s vital signs should be closely monitored with the technology and equipment necessary for detecting problems such as a decreased heart rate or insufficient oxygen to the brain. When problems are discovered, medical professionals in the labor room should know when and how to intervene to prevent possible injury. If the doctor or another member of the labor room team doesn’t notice a problem or doesn’t intervene promptly to address it and your baby is injured as a result, they could be liable for medical malpractice damages.
Extraction methods are used improperly.
Doctors might use forceps or a vacuum extractor to help deliver your baby if a natural vaginal delivery becomes too difficult or impossible. When used properly, these methods can ensure a safe delivery and prevent oxygen deprivation for your baby. However, when used improperly in cases of medical malpractice, they can result in serious injury to your child.
Serious Birth Injuries Due to Medical Malpractice
Many types of serious injuries can occur as a result of medical negligence and malpractice during the labor and delivery process. Among these are cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and injuries from vacuum or forceps use.
Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders caused by damage to a baby’s brain that typically affects motor skills, coordination, and nerve function As a result, a child with cerebral palsy may require intensive treatment and care throughout his/her lifetime to help with physical and mental challenges. While specific health and delivery factors can lead to this serious condition, instances of medical malpractice or negligence could be the root cause.
Erb’s palsy occurs when the newborn’s shoulder nerves are injured, typically during labor and delivery. The infant may experience permanent, partial, or complete function loss in the affected nerves and exhibit symptoms such as limp arm, inability to move the hand or lower arm, and decreased grip. Sometimes, factors leading to this condition are unavoidable, but other times possible medical negligence occurs when risk factors are not identified and minimized with careful fetal monitoring and consideration of delivery options.
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) occurs when an infant’s brain doesn’t get sufficient oxygen and blood, and the brain is damaged. Effects of this damage may include developmental delays, epilepsy, cognitive issues, and motor skill development delays. In some cases, the condition that led to the oxygen deprivation could not have been foreseen. In other cases, however, a doctor could be negligent for not having diagnosed the condition and intervened to prevent complications and damage.
If the fetus is in an irregular position that prevents its being able to pass naturally through the vaginal canal, a medical professional may use forceps or a vacuum to gently pull the infant through the canal by its head. Since a newborn’s skull bones are not fully fused together, the head is extremely delicate and fragile, and severe injury, such as skull fractures, facial nerve damage, and brain damage can occur if the medical professional is negligent.
Orlando Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If your child suffers from a birth injury due to medical negligence or malpractice, the Orlando birth injury lawyers at Paul Knopf Bigger can help you obtain the justice you want and the financial compensation you need. Our experienced legal team will put our resources, knowledge, and skills to work for you to achieve the results you want and hold the negligent parties accountable for their actions.
We are committed to providing the highest quality legal services, giving you excellent personal attention, and passionately pursuing justice. Please contact us at 855-292-2111 (24 hours a day/7 days a week) for a free legal review or your birth injury medical malpractice case.