It is estimated that 29 out of every 1,000 children born will sustain a birth injury. Many children who are injured during birth can recover after a few weeks and will go on to live a normal life, unaffected by their injuries. However, some children will have to live with the effects of their birth injuries for the rest of their lives.
While some birth injuries are impossible to prevent, others can be the direct result of medical malpractice or negligence. One negligent doctor could negatively impact the life of a newborn and create financial hardship for their family.
What is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury is any injury that can occur to a baby from pregnancy until the day of birth. When the term “birth injury” is used, it typically refers to the injuries that the baby sustains during the delivery. However, many birth injuries can occur due to medical negligence while the baby is still in utero. The most common birth injuries are:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Brachial Plexus
- Fractured Collarbones
- Injuries to the Spinal Cord
- Perinatal Asphyxia
- Oxygen Deprivation
- Facial Paralysis
- Caput Succedaneum
When a child sustains a birth injury, there is typically nerve damage, bone damage, or brain damage. Some injuries can heal after a few weeks without future harm to the child, and some can cause permanent and life-altering changes to both the newborn and their family.
It can be difficult to figure out if your child has sustained a birth injury. It’s even more difficult for new parents unfamiliar with the normal developmental changes that a newborn goes through. Some common symptoms of birth injuries are:
- Excessive drooling
- Oversensitivity to light
- Abnormal reflexes
- Difficulty eating
- Being overly fussy
- Curled hands
- Muscles that are either too loose or too stiff
- Head trauma
- Skull fracture
If you or a loved one has seen the newborn child experience any of these symptoms or any symptoms that seem suspicious or worrying, it is important to contact a medical professional immediately. Do not wait for the symptoms to worsen.
How Do Birth Injuries Happen?
Many birth injuries can’t be avoided or prevented. More often than not, larger babies sustain more injuries during birth due to their larger size, and some children experience birth injuries due to factors out of the parent and doctor’s control. Birth injuries can happen in a multitude of ways. Some may occur as the result of medical negligence. For example, an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) could prescribe a medication that is harmful to the pregnant patient or medication with an ingredient that the patient is allergic to. Medical negligence around the topic of birth can be overwhelming and scary. A few negligent medical acts that may lead to birth injuries are:
- Not monitoring the baby’s heart and breathing rates
- Ignoring signs of distress from the baby
- Not following safe birthing procedures
- Improper vacuum and forcep usage
- Failing to use Pitocin when needed
- Failing to order a Cesarean Section (C-Section) when needed
- Not assisting in proper prenatal care
Children are very vulnerable during birth, and any of these negligent acts could severely alter who they are and how they can interact with the world. Some birth injuries can never fully heal and require a complete lifestyle change for the child’s family.
Contacting a Birth Injury Lawyer
If you decide to file a claim against the doctor, the hospital, or a manufacturer, finding a reputable medical malpractice attorney will be beneficial. Trying to prove medical malpractice that led to a birth injury can be tricky. Doctors and hospitals are heavily insured and will often deny that they acted negligently.
When meeting with your attorney to build your case, make sure to have the following documents:
- A copy of your medical records during pregnancy
- A copy of the baby’s medical records
- Eyewitness testimony
- Expert testimony
Having all of these documents can solidify your case and give you the best chance at proving medical negligence. Using your documents, your attorney must prove a breach of a few elements of medical practice:
- Duty of care- This states that you and your doctor have a previously established relationship and that they did not act in you or your child’s best interest during pregnancy and birth.
- Damages- You must prove any harm to your child regarding inconsistent or insufficient mental and physical development.
- Causation- You must prove that the damages occurred because of the actions of the defendant.
A lot of evidence is required in order to prove that the defendant is liable for the injuries that the baby sustained. An attorney well-versed with birth injury and medical malpractice lawsuits will seek justice for you and your family and ensure that you receive the appropriate financial compensation to pay off any past, present, and future medical expenses that may arise due to the birth injuries.
Birth Injury Lawsuit
A Pennsylvanian family claimed that their son’s birth injuries resulted from doctor negligence during the birthing process. While the mother was in the hospital getting ready to deliver her son, she claimed that the doctors ignored clear signs that displayed that her son wasn’t getting enough oxygen. Ordinarily, if a baby isn’t receiving the necessary oxygen, the doctors will perform a Cesarean section. In this case, the doctors neglected to perform a C-section, putting the baby’s life at risk. As a result, the baby was born with Cerebral Palsy and other developmental delays that will require medical intervention in the future.
The family filed a lawsuit against the hospital and the doctor for their negligence and compromising their son’s safety. The case went to court, and the jury awarded the family 55 million dollars, most of which will go to getting their son the proper care and treatments that he needs and will need in the future.
Contact The Eichholz Law Firm
The Eichholz Law Firm has many years of experience handling doctor and medical negligence lawsuit cases. For more information and to schedule a free consultation, call our legal team at (855)-551-1019 or fill out an online contact form.