Birth Injuries – How Can We Get Help?

Birth Injuries – How Can We Get Help? 2017-12-08T08:47:46+00:00

A moment’s inattention, a fleeting twist of the wrist, an all-too-brief glance at the medical chart: birth injuries are often split-second tragedies. But the effects of a doctor’s error will undoubtedly extend a lifetime.

We’ve watched hundreds of families struggle to ensure their children live the lives they deserve, lives of hope and fulfillment, while being crushed by extraordinary medical expenses and emotional trauma. Support, however, isn’t out of reach.

While some birth injuries are truly unavoidable, others are caused by medical negligence.

That’s where CaringForSpecialNeedsKids.com comes in.

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Michael Monheit, Esq.
Michael Monheit, Esq.

Meet Our Birth Injury Team

CaringForSpecialNeedsKids.com is sponsored by a coalition of dedicated medical malpractice attorneys. Our birth injury lawyers have devoted their lives, both personally and professionally, to helping parents and children explore their legal options in a safe, caring environment.

An experienced birth injury attorney can secure valuable compensation for you and your child. Money may be available to cover:

  • past and future medical expenses
  • healthcare costs for occupational therapy, psychological counseling, at-home care, home modifications and assistive technologies
  • lost wages
  • pain and suffering

When the doctors we trust make devastating mistakes, they should be held accountable.

For many people, there’s no greater joy than the thought of parenting a child. With pregnancy comes building anticipation, along with hopeful plans for a future filled with opportunity and love.

But things can go wrong.

All too often, insufficient care and outright medical errors leave mothers and their newborn children suffering from serious birth injuries. In many cases, these tragic events, sources of both emotional pain and physical disability, were entirely preventable – if only a physician had stepped back, rethought their approach and proceeded appropriately.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

At each stage of pregnancy, it takes a devoted group of thoughtful health professionals to ensure a child’s health.

Working in concert with parents, doctors must draw on vast bodies of medical knowledge, and extensive clinical experience, to recommend appropriate lifestyle choices, identify emerging issues and properly address critical situations. Making the right treatment choice is absolutely crucial, whether that decision comes in the first trimester or during a difficult delivery.

Medical Negligence

But what happens when a doctor makes the wrong choice, or fails to make the right choice? In some cases, these failures of care rise to the level of medical malpractice – making legal action possible.

Negligence is key to any viable birth injury malpractice claim. When we trust a doctor or healthcare professional with the life of a child, we can expect a certain standard of care. Negligence occurs when a physician’s decisions – or indecisions – fall below this standard, causing injury or harm.

To win a case, your family will have to prove three things:

  1. The defendant (an obstetrician, doctor, nurse or medical facility) owed your child a legal duty of care
  2. The defendant violated that duty by acting or failing to act in the way that a reasonably competent doctor would have under similar circumstances
  3. The defendant’s violation caused harm to your baby

Expert witnesses are crucial to proving these claims. An experienced birth injury lawyer will rely on the testimony and interpretation of expert doctors, obstetricians and hospital administrators to define the standard of care that should have held during your delivery – and point out how your doctor violated that standard.

Birth Injuries Have Life-Long Consequences. You Deserve Life-Long Support.

Mothers and newborns suffer more than 432 injuries during childbirth every day, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. For every 1,000 babies born in the US, up to 8 will be injured during the labor or delivery process. That’s a huge problem, especially when you consider that all of these injuries could have been avoided.

Perinatal Asphyxia

When a newborn baby is deprived of oxygen, their organs often suffer permanent damage. Brain injuries are common, and can lead to severe neurological impairments and permanent disability.

Perinatal, or birth asphyxia can occur before, during or after delivery – although it often occurs when a doctor accidentally pinches or twists the umbilical cord. With proper birth management, many children can be saved from brain damage.

Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy

No matter the cause, a lack of oxygen during delivery can cause severe brain damage. A baby’s body can only compensate for a drop in oxygen momentarily; prolonged deprivation can lead to the complete death of brain tissue.

This condition, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, is a leading cause of cognitive impairment, developmental delay and impairment. Effective treatments are available, but doctors must act quickly.

Cerebral Palsy

Researchers once believed that birth asphyxia was the leading contributor to cerebral palsy, a common – but difficult – condition marked by partial or complete muscle paralysis. Today, we understand that cerebral palsy, even in individual cases, is more likely caused by a wide range of factors, asphyxia being only one possibility. Birth injuries, however, along with failures to diagnose maternal infection, are still considered a primary cause of this neuro-muscular impairment.

Traumatic Brain Damage

Oxygen deprivation is only one possible cause of brain damage in newborns. Physical trauma, often linked to the misuse or failure to use labor-assisting tools, are another.

Even in non-assisted deliveries, a doctor’s miscalculation can lead to significant neural impairment, bone fractures and nerve injuries. It’s a physician’s duty to identify when a difficult labor has become dangerous, and make crucial modifications if necessary.

Forceps Or Vacuum Delivery Injuries

While forceps and vacuum extractors are frequently used to ease difficult deliveries, these are delicate, complex instruments that must be clamped to an infant’s head – presenting a significant risk of bruising and cuts. Nerve damage and internal bleeding are also possible.

But babies aren’t the only patients threatened by the use of assistive technologies. Thousands of mothers have suffered wounds and lacerations due to the improper use of forceps, the Center for Advancing Health reports.

Brachial Plexus & Shoulder Dystocia

During difficult deliveries, some doctors are tempted to pull or stretch infants forcibly through the birth canal. A light tug may not cause permanent injury, but excessive pulling can strain the brachial plexus, a bundle of nerves that connect the spine to the arms.

Injuries to the brachial plexus are common in cases of shoulder dystocia, when a baby’s head has emerged but their shoulders remain lodged inside the mother’s pelvis.

Erb’s Palsy & Paralysis

Brachial plexus injuries can be minor or severe, causing symptoms from temporary weakness and burning pain to full arm paralysis.

Neonatal brachial plexus palsy, commonly known as Erb’s Palsy, is one of the most grave forms of this injury. Children with Erb’s Palsy can suffer from numbness and decreased strength in their affected arm, or total paralysis. Surgical operations, along with long-term physical therapy, are often necessary.

Hydrocephalus

This little-known condition involves an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in a baby’s brain. While hydrocephalus has been linked to numerous genetic conditions, including spina bifida, traumatic head injuries sustained before or during delivery can block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid within the skull, leading to permanent brain damage.

After sustaining birth trauma, some children will be left with severe, and permanent, neural impairments.

Kernicterus & Jaundice

We’re often told that jaundice, a condition marked by yellow skin, is normal in newborns – and nothing to worry about.

Part of this common logic is true. Jaundice is fairly common, but inexpertly treated cases can quickly progress to become kernicterus, a rare and debilitating buildup of the bile pigment bilirubin. In severe cases, kernicterus can lead to permanent hearing loss, seizures and motor impairment.

Preeclampsia & High Blood Pressure

Up to 5% of pregnant women will develop preeclampsia, the National Institutes of Health says. This dangerous spike in blood pressure can lead to widespread organ damage and seizures, placing unborn infants directly in harm’s way.

But in the condition’s early stages, few women experience any symptoms of increased blood pressure. Rigorous and routine screening is a must for any discerning physician. In some cases, proactive treatment is the only way to avert tragedy.

Caesarean (C-Section) Injuries

While much has been made of the recent rise in “elective” c-sections, we shouldn’t forget that caesarean sections are often medically necessary surgical procedures – intended to avert disastrous harm to both mother and child.

In some instances, failure to order a c-section under the appropriate circumstances, like fetal distress, can be grounds for a birth injury malpractice lawsuit. C-sections themselves are medical procedures that present their own risks.

Wrongful Death

Every death is a tragedy. The death of an infant during or shortly after delivery goes well beyond that. No family will ever be the same after the loss of a newborn.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, grieving parents may be able to recover some level of financial compensation to go towards grief counseling and non-material damages like pain and suffering. There’s no way to bring your child back, but pursuing justice can help many parents find a degree of closure.

Birth Injury Lawyers: Fighting For Families, Fighting For Kids

For Mothers, Fathers & Children:
We’re Here To Help

Medicine isn’t an exact science. Some mistakes, while grievous, aren’t the result of negligence. But many are. Medical malpractice is shockingly common, and when children are harmed, families have every right to pursue justice in a court of law.