Welcoming new life is a blessing for parents around the world. Yet, injuries occurring before, after or during birth can make that welcome more complicated. Of all the infants born in the United States, 6 to 8 of every 1,000 of them are born with a birth injury. The attorneys at Casey Devoti & Brockland have spent years fighting for families impacted by birth injury malpractice — we have the answers you need as you are filing a personal injury claim.
What causes birth injury?
Birth injuries can be caused by the negligence of medical professionals, with their severity ranging from temporary complications to lifelong conditions. Their missteps typically fall into one of five categories, including:
- Failure to act quickly. This pertains to dangerous situations where time is crucial such as when a baby becomes stuck in the birth canal.
- Failure to diagnose any apparent health conditions. Whether the child or the mother has a condition, it is a doctor’s responsibility to properly diagnose and treat them as they arise. For example, if the mother shows signs of a bacterial infection or hypertension, her doctor must diagnose her early on and treat her.
- Failure to monitor after childbirth. A new mother and her child must be monitored closely after birth. Doctors may miss signs of life-threatening conditions, such as HELLP syndrome in a mother or congenital heart defects in a baby, if they do not watch for them closely.
- Misuse of birthing tools such as forceps or a vacuum extractor. Birthing tools can aid the delivery process, but they can also harm the mother or child. Doctors who misuse these tools may cause fractures or blood pooling.
- Use of unnecessary force during childbirth. Newborns are delicate — doctors who pull excessively during delivery may cause nerve damage or fractures, often occurring in the child’s arms.
The result of these actions may lead to prolonged oxygen deprivation, untreated infections, neurological delays, and other serious conditions in either the mother or child. In many of these cases, the most important distinction is that the incidents are avoidable with proper treatment and reasonable precautions.
What types of birth injury cases do we see?
You want an attorney with birth injury expertise when filing a personal injury claim. Our attorneys have seen nearly every level of severity in labor and delivery malpractice that leads to birth injury. Parents often turn to us with cases involving:
- Brachial plexus palsy. Brachial plexus palsy in newborns involves nerves that are stretched or torn from the spinal cord at the neck causing damage to the shoulders and/or upper arms. This condition is caused by improper birthing techniques, typically a doctor pulling too hard, and can leave a child with either weakened or paralyzed limbs.
- Cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition characterized by weakened limbs, muscle spasms and low motor skill development. Usually triggered by oxygen deprivation, cerebral palsy can be caused by a failure to monitor the child during the course of the labor and inadequate birthing techniques.
- Fractures. Fractures during delivery, when they occur, often occur in a child’s collarbone or arms. These injuries can be avoided with proper care.
- Hemorrhages. Hemorrhages can occur in the child’s head due to pressure during delivery. Bleeding in the skull or eyes often requires surgery.
How do I file a personal injury claim?
Now that you understand what birth injury malpractice consists of, how do you get started? First and foremost, you should seek medical care to stabilize both you and your child. From there, contact an attorney who is well-versed in birth injury law. An attorney will be instrumental in managing your case by filing a personal injury claim, obtaining medical records, and finding experts to support your case.
Birth injuries can be devastating — our attorneys are prepared to lift some of the weight off your shoulders and let you focus on your child. For more legal tips from our team, check out Casey Devoti & Brockland’s blog.