Who can sue for a birth injury?

Medical mistakes can cause injury to an otherwise healthy baby at any time during pregnancy, delivery or shortly after childbirth. Even the mishandling of an infant by any hospital worker can have lifelong consequences. Doctors are trained and required to adhere to a proper standard of care to prevent birth injuries. If a doctor fails to tell the mother of possible complications or makes a misdiagnosis, that standard of care may be violated. If medical staff fails to follow protocol, both the mother’s and the baby’s lives could be endangered.

Examples of birth related injuries:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Shoulder dystocia/Erb’s palsy
  • Hypoxia (brain damage)
  • Failure to diagnose fetal distress
  • Failure to perform a C-section
  • Failure to diagnose preeclampsia/eclampsia in the mother
  • Injuries to the mother
  • Use of unsanitary surgical utensils
  • Incorrect incision
  • Organ puncture or perforation

With medication errors, sometimes the doctor, hospital staff, or pharmacy prescribes, either due to a faulty diagnosis or negligence, the wrong dosage of a medication. These medication errors may lead to the life-long injury or even wrongful death of an infant. Such grievous injuries are also often attributed to diagnostic error, such as misdiagnosis leading to the wrong type of therapy, failure to use an indicated diagnostic test, or misinterpretation of test results and equipment failure.

Other errors and complications leading to birth injury include: lack of planning for a Cesarean section or delay in performing it, excessive force used in delivery, prolonged labor, improper medication, inadequate monitoring of the baby, improper use of forceps and vacuum, lack of proper attention to a high-risk pregnancy, spinal cord injury caused by overstretching, low amniotic fluid, uterine rupture and placental abruption.

Brain injuries are the most serious of birth traumas, whether they’re caused by bleeding in the skull and brain or oxygen deprivation. If a doctor, nurse or other medical professional fails to handle an infant with proper care, the baby’s delicate brain tissue can be damaged. The result for the young victim could be long-term seizure disorders, cerebral palsy or mental retardation. Children who suffer these afflictions may require therapy, medication and other medical care.

If complications occur and a doctor fails to follow protocol, resulting in lifelong injuries aside from brain damage and cerebral palsy may include Erb-Duchenne and Dejerin-Klumpke palsies (brachial plexus injuries), temporary paralysis, fractured collar bones and meconium aspiration syndrome. Another major birth complication is oxygen deprivation, which can occur when the umbilical cord gets twisted or compressed. Another major cause of birth injury involves mechanical trauma, cases in which the baby is in an abnormal or “breech” birth position or when the baby is too big to normally pass through the birth canal. Other minor birth injuries such as bruising and swelling, broken blood vessels in the eyes, and even temporary loss of nerve or muscle function can heal within a few weeks, but damage can be permanent if nerves are actually torn.

If your child was injured during or before birth as the result of a surgery, medication, or other medical treatment, and you believe the injury may have been the product of medical malpractice, you need an attorney that has experience in dealing with birth injury claims by your side to make sure you receive all the benefits and compensation you are entitled to. You need experienced and aggressive attorneys like Dan Newlin & Partners to help you get everything to which you may be entitled. Call us at (407) 888-8000 for a free consultation and have all your questions answered regarding your injury.