Birth Injury Lawyer
Birth injuries are traumatic events for any family, especially when they could have been prevented. So if a medical provider’s negligence, or carelessness, before, during, or after delivery harmed your child, the professionals at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law will work tirelessly to try to ensure that you and your child are fully compensated.
Birth Injuries vs. Birth Defects: There is a Difference
These terms can be commonly confused. Even if they produce similar outcomes, they are substantially different. A birth injury is trauma suffered by an infant during, after, or leading up to childbirth. A birth defect, on the other hand, involves a non-negligent physical or chemical flaw which is discovered at birth; it is usually either genetic or induced by external, non-medical factors. Generally, there is no legal cause of action for a birth defect unless the defect can be traced to some sort of negligence – for example, a hazardous chemical spill or toxic pollution.
A Litany of Possible Traumatic Birthing Injuries
There are many types of harm a baby can suffer due to medical malpractice of the doctor, a member of the birthing team, or during aftercare. Our experience has taught us that the following are the most common birth injuries:
- Brachial Plexus Injuries (BPI) – damage to the bundle of nerves that originate from the upper spine and go through the neck, shoulder, arm, and hand
- Bone Fractures – especially a fractured clavicle (collar bone)
- Perinatal Asphyxia – an oxygen deficiency in the blood, often due to insufficient blood flow to the fetus or newborn; the condition can clear up on its own or cause permanent neurologic damage
- Intracranial Hemorrhage – bleeding in the skull, commonly under the two innermost layers of the brain: a potentially serious injury
- Facial Paralysis – temporary or permanent damage to the baby’s facial nerves; often dissipates over time, but not in all cases
- Spinal Cord Injuries – many times this is more severe than most birth injuries; usually due to traumatic nerve/cord damage caused by the use of forceps during delivery
- Cerebral Palsy – caused by interruption of oxygen to the baby’s brain for several minutes or more during birth; occurs in approximately three of every 1,000 births
Mothers and their babies should be under close supervision once they reach the labor room. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are trained in the use of heart rate monitors and ultrasound machines to catch many problems that could possibly result in brain damage to the baby. By this time, the mother’s OBGYN should have an intimate understanding of the baby’s size and the mother’s general birthing capabilities to avoid last-minute physical trauma during birth which could severely harm her or the baby.
Some commonly cited birth injury causes include:
- Improper use of forceps or vacuum extractor during birth, which can cause facial damage and possibly nerve or muscle damage in the baby’s head and neck
- Fetal monitoring failures, such as failure to detect a dangerously low oxygen level which could cause Cerebral Palsy in the baby
- Abnormal birth presentation or position (e.g., breech or shoulder first)
- Large birth weight, which, if improperly diagnosed, could lead to several delivery challenges
- Umbilical cord prolapse or strangulation, which can cause hypoxia or other oxygen-starvation complications
- Failure to progress, or an abnormally prolonged delivery
- Pitocin (labor induction medication) mistakes
- Vaginal delivery in mothers with small pelvis where a C-section is more appropriate
- Maternal infections such as Group B Streptococcus
The above conditions are not a comprehensive list, by any means. But they serve as examples of the many things that can go wrong during the weeks leading up to, and on the day of, your delivery. We haven’t even touched on the negligent issues found during neonatal care after the birth. Nor do any of these factors on their own mean a birth injury does indeed occur. It is the mismanagement of these conditions that can lead to an injury and result in serious medical conditions, permanent disabilities, disfigurement, and, in many cases, a lifetime of medical bills and special care for your child – possibly their entire life.
Care For Your Baby While We Protect You and Your Family
Birth injury cases are rarely resolved in a few months. How long it takes depends greatly on several factors, such as the severity of the injury, the number of witnesses to the negligence, available medical records, and the willingness of the medical defendant(s) – and their malpractice insurers – to resolve the case.
Our birth injury/medical malpractice professionals thoroughly investigate your case and build a strong claim on your behalf, so you can focus on your child’s needs. We have more than 30 years of experience fighting for the rights of injured victims and their families. We can – and will – fight for you, too. Call (800) 444-5000 or contact Terry Bryant today to arrange a free evaluation of your case. We want to help.