Florida Breech Birth Injury Malpractice Attorneys
The birth of a child can be an exciting event. That excitement can, however, quickly change to trauma when parents discover their newborn was injured during the birthing process. If the injury could have been prevented and was caused by the negligence of the healthcare providers, the trauma can be compounded by anger and uncertainty about what to do to.
If you have discovered that your child was injured due to medical negligence during the birthing process, the experienced Florida birth injury malpractice attorneys at Paul Knopf Bigger can help you and your child. We are dedicated to achieving justice for victims of birth injuries and have won multi-million-dollar settlements and jury awards to compensate parents for their child’s medical expenses, pain, suffering, and other damages that were caused by medical negligence during the birthing process.
What is a Breech Birth Injury?
A birth injury is defined as “an impairment of the neonate’s body function or structure due to an adverse event that occurred at birth.” Injuries can occur throughout the entire process, from labor to post-delivery.
In a normal vaginal birth, the baby’s head is the first part of the baby to enter the birth canal. When the head is in this position, the skull has been described as acting “like a spearhead,” since it is what pushes the baby through the birth canal. The bones in the head are soft and form into a shape that lets the head travel safely through the canal. This is why some babies have “pointy” heads that appear normal just a few days later.
In a breech birth, the baby’s position is reversed. The buttocks, feet, or one leg, are the first to come out of the birth canal, and the head comes out last. A vaginal delivery is dangerous to a baby in the breech position, and obstetricians typically plan to deliver the baby by way of a cesarean section (C-section). If a vaginal birth is mistakenly allowed, there are serious risks to the baby. The primary ones are:
Oxygen Deprivation. This is one of the most dangerous events that can occur during the birthing process. In a breech delivery, the umbilical cord, which is the baby’s lifeline to oxygen through its mother, drops into the birth canal in front of the baby’s head. It then gets squeezed by the buttocks, legs, and body as they travel through the birth canal before the head. This cuts off the oxygen supply from the mother, but the baby’s head is still stuck in the birth canal so it cannot start breathing on its own.
A fetus that has been deprived of oxygen for only a few minutes may die. A child who lives may suffer from:
- Cerebral palsy
- Impaired vision
- Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
- Delayed development
Some symptoms parents should watch for if their child’s birth was a breech birth and the baby suffered a deprivation of oxygen are:
- Eyes that do not focus on people or objects
- Constantly fussiness
- High-pitched crying accompanied by a fever
- Lack of crying at times it is expected a baby would cry
- Refusing the breast and the bottle
Some developmental delays do not show up for months or even years. The baby may not sit up, crawl, or walk at the ages expected for normal development. The child may also exhibit signs of autism. When the child starts school, more problems may become apparent. The child may be unable to pay attention, have learning disabilities and may be diagnosed with ADD.
Brain and spinal cord injuries. In a breech birth, the baby’s head does not mold to the birth canal and may be too large to make it through safely. Force, including twisting and pulling on the head and/or the improper use of birthing tools like forceps and vacuum extractors, injure the head. This causes brain injury and can also damage the spinal cord. Signs of brain injury are the same as those for oxygen deprivation.
Signs the newborn is suffering from a spinal cord injury include:
- Lack of muscle function in some or all its limbs, making the baby seem “floppy” when it is picked up
- Apparent loss of sensation in one or more limbs and even in its trunk
- Breathing problems
- Frequent muscle spasms
- Inability to learn how to control bowels and bladder
Some of these symptoms may be signs of cerebral palsy, which may be caused by brain damage. Others are indications of spinal cord injury. It is important to have a diagnosis as soon as possible so treatment can begin.
Can Parents Take Legal Action If Their Child Suffered a Breech Birth Injury Due to Medical Malpractice in Florida?
Not all birth injuries are the result of someone’s negligence, but if you can demonstrate that your child’s injury was caused by negligence on the part of a doctor or other health care provider, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages related to the breech birth injury.
To demonstrate that the birth injury was due to medical negligence, you must show:
- Duty –The negligent obstetrician or other healthcare providers had a duty to provide the standard of care a reasonably prudent practitioner of the same specialty would have provided in similar circumstances.
- Breach – The standard of care was breached (i.e., The obstetrician or other healthcare providers fell short of the expected standard of care).
- Cause – The doctor or other healthcare providers’ negligence in breaching their duty caused harm to your child.
- Damages – The harm your child suffered because of medical negligence caused damages. These damages can be economic, as in previous, current and future medical expenses, and non-economic, as in pain, suffering and diminished capacity to enjoy life.
An experienced Florida birth injury malpractice attorney from Paul Knopf Bigger will be glad to discuss your child’s case with you and advise you and your best course of action free of charge. We are committed to pursuing justice for victims of medical malpractice and welcome the opportunity to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
What Compensation for Damages Is Available for a Breech Birth Injury Caused by Medical Malpractice in Florida?
If your child’s breech birth injury was caused by medical negligence, you have the right to take legal action to obtain compensation for the damages you and your child have suffered and may suffer in the future. Per Florida Statute 766.202, these damages may be both economic and non-economic, including:
- Medical expenses. All medical expenses incurred by your baby, both current expenses and those he or she will incur in the future. Some children who were deprived of oxygen during the birthing process are so severely injured, they require lifelong 24 hour/7 day a week nursing care.
- Costs of therapy and rehabilitation. Brain and spinal cord injury victims often need intensive and long-term occupational and physical therapy.
- Costs of special education. Deprivation of oxygen is emerging as one cause of autism, which may require special education. Other birth injuries may result in the need for special education due to learning disabilities.
- Costs of medical equipment and devices. The child may need medical equipment and devices ranging from eyeglasses due to vision problems to wheelchairs due to paralysis.
- Pain and suffering. This is available for the children and for parents who suffer from watching their child needlessly suffer
- Loss of earning capacity. This is for a child whose injuries are so severe the child will never be able to be employed.
- Lost wages of the parents. Some parents who are unable to work due to caring for the birth injured child deserve compensation.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Florida Birth Injury Malpractice Cases?
The statute of limitations for most medical malpractice cases is two years in Florida, and the absolute deadline for the discovering malpractice and filing a medical malpractice claim is four years from the date the negligent incident occurred. However, claims for children’s injuries caused by medical malpractice can be filed up until the child’s eighth birthday, if the injury was not discovered within the four-year period immediately following the act of medical negligence.
If you suspect that medical negligence caused your child’s birth injury, it is important to contact an attorney experienced in successfully handling medical malpractice cases as soon as possible. Preparing a medical malpractice claim takes a significant amount of time, and Florida law requires a thorough presuit investigation prior to initiating litigation.
Experienced Florida Breech Birth Injury Malpractice Attorneys You Can Trust to
Proving that a doctor breached the accepted professional standard of care and that the negligence seriously injured your child requires a thorough investigation into your child’s medical record, a complete understanding of all the facts of the case, high quality expert testimony and skill as a trial lawyer.
The Paul Knopf Bigger attorneys bring the necessary experience, expertise and resources to every case we handle. We successfully represent clients across the country who have been seriously injured by medical negligence and errors in Florida and have fought and won against health care providers whose negligence seriously injured babies during the birth process.
If your child has suffered due to a birth injury, we are the law firm you can trust to provide outstanding representation, superior personal attention and rewarding results.
Please call us at 855.292.2111 or submit the “Free Case Evaluation” form on our website to discuss your case with an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney you can trust for excellence in the pursuit of justice.
Update: Neonatal Birth Injuries
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology: If Your Baby is Breech: FAQs