What is a Birth Injury?
Today’s medical standards are higher than ever and while according to statistics birth injuries are rare, they do happen occasionally and sometimes with devastating results such as permanent damage or even death. A birth injury or birth trauma occurs due to complications or neglect during labor and delivery. Birth injuries range from a simple bruising to severe brain or nerve damage to every parent’s nightmare: death. Other birth injuries with various levels of severity include:
• Marks or bruising from the forceps
• Subconjunctival hemorrhage (busted blood vessels in the eye)
• Caput Succedaneum (swelling of the scalp)
• Cephalohematoma (bleeding that occurs between the fibrous covering of a bone and the bone itself, can lead to jaundice)
• Paralysis of the face
• Brachial Palsy injuries
• Bone fractures
• Brain injuries – can be permanent and devastating
Is Your Baby a Victim of Medical Malpractice?
Many injuries that occur during the birthing process are due to medical malpractice. The American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA), defines medical malpractice as a violation of standard care which resulted in an injury and was caused by medical negligence. If you suspect that your infant’s injury is due to medical malpractice, you are entitled to a malpractice attorney who can advise you and represent your claim. Some examples of medical negligence, leading to malpractice claims include:
• Failing to anticipate birth complications. For example, if the doctor knows that the baby is large or if the mother has had complications with the pregnancy and special care is not taken
• Not responding appropriately to bleeding
• Not responding to fetal distress (could indicate irregular heartbeat or other issues)
• Delaying ordering a C-section (Cesarean section) when it is medically urgent
• Using the delivery tools, such as the forceps, incorrectly during the delivery
• Incorrect use of Pitocin, a hormone administered to speed or induce labor
Additionally, injuries can also occur after birth when aftercare is inadequate. Such examples of subpar care include failure to attend to an infection or circumcision mistakes.
Your Medical Malpractice Claim
If you decide to consult or hire a malpractice attorney to represent your malpractice suit, you will need to provide specific information in order for him to decide if you have a viable claim. Before visiting an attorney, make sure you are have copies of your baby’s medical records. The attorney may have the records evaluated by a second party (a doctor who was not involved in the birth) and you and your child’s health care providers will also be questioned in order to obtain further information.
Some birth injuries go away on their own over a short period of time and some severe injuries will last through your child’s lifetime, which will require ongoing financial and medical assistance. Winning a medical malpractice claim can compensate for mounting financial debt or offer your child a high quality of care. A medical malpractice suit will not eliminate the pain and suffering you and your family face on a daily basis, nor will it bring a deceased infant back, but your well-deserved settlement can offer closure to a traumatic experience.