Birth injuries which are caused by medical malpractice are among the most shocking and devastating events which can befall a family. One moment parents, siblings, and other family members are eagerly anticipating the new arrival, and the next they must cope with the deflating news that something has gone horribly wrong. As a result, the family may have to suddenly deal with a wrongful death or the prospect of providing expensive, lifelong care and support for a child with a physical or developmental disability. If you suspect your child was injured from malpractice anytime between learning of your pregnancy to the delivery, you must quickly contact an experienced birth injury attorney.
The Houston birth injury lawyers at the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant have handled cases just like yours, and we want to help you and your child. If you have questions about your child’s birth injury, fill out a free initial consultation form or call us today at 1 (800) 444-5000.
There are a number of serious birth injuries that can result from physician or other errors during pregnancy, or during/after the birthing process such as:
- Cerebral Palsy (CP) – Oxygen-starved serious, permanent brain damage. A less dire but still serious oxygen-related affliction is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE).
- Hyperbilirubinemia – Infant jaundice
- Rh Incompatibility – Many serious health problems can arise if mother’s and baby’s blood Rh factors are incompatible. This is easily detected and can be effectively treated during pregnancy.
- Hydrocephalus – “Water” on the brain; often diagnosed before birth, during delivery, or early childhood.
- Shoulder Dystocia – The baby’s shoulders get stuck inside the mother during delivery and can produce neurological damage to the baby if delivery is not modified to accommodate.
- Brachial Plexus Injury – Another delivery challenge which – if not modified – can also lead to permanent neurological damage to the infant.
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of Newborns (PPHN) – Respiratory affliction in newborns when their breathing does not “transition” after the birthing process; can be life-threatening.
- Uterine Rupture – Unintentional tearing in the mother’s uterine wall can cause disability in the mother or death to the mother and baby.
Some Examples of Birth Injury Negligence
Sometimes a doctor’s or birthing team’s medical malpractice injures the mother and/or her infant, before or during the birth of the baby. A couple of general examples of malpractice which can cause birth-related injuries include:
- Negligently failing to control excessive post-delivery maternal blood loss. This, in addition to uterine rupture, can lead to several other serious, life-threatening injuries to the mother, and possibly her newborn.
- Carelessly failing to monitor the baby’s pre- and post-delivery oxygen intake, which can lead to CP, HIE, or the baby’s wrongful death.
- Injuries to the baby: The most common birth injuries to newborns occur as a result of:
- Improper use of birth-assisting tools (forceps, etc.)
- Failing to properly detect and treat fetal birthing distress (especially in cases of long, arduous deliveries)
- Failure to schedule and perform an emergency cesarean section (C-section)
- Failing to monitor and control oxygen intake.
- Injury to mother: Mothers can file a claim for medical malpractice if the doctor’s negligence caused her injury leading up to, or during, childbirth. If the doctor fails to note the mother’s high blood pressure before delivery, and she has a seizure in the delivery room (from pre-eclampsia, which happens in 2-8% of pregnancies), she may have a claim for medical malpractice for injuries caused by the seizure.
- Wrongful birth malpractice: This usually occurs when parents claim the doctor should have warned them about their child’s imminent birth defects; perhaps if the parents had known, they would have either avoided the pregnancy or terminated it for medical reasons. Usually, the parents will claim either (or both) of the following:
- Negligent genetic testing before the child was conceived, or
- Negligent failure to detect mental or physical impairment in the pregnancy’s early stages.
- Defective medical devices: Most of the devices used in a delivery room have existed for over 100 years. But mechanized devices, such as blood pressure and respiration monitors, and vacuum devices (used for extraction during difficult childbirths), may be defective or improperly calibrated or maintained. If a birth injury can be attributed to a medical device, a possible injury claim against the device manufacturer or a third-party maintenance provider may be appropriate.
Damages in Birth Injury Cases
This is a leading question which most loved ones ask us and, unfortunately, there is no easy answer. Each case is different and has its own unique conditions. But in the majority of birth injury cases, damages may include:
- Costs of doctor and hospital visits, medications, and any medical treatment for the lifetime of your child
- Physical and occupational therapy when they become of age to benefit from it
- Home accommodations – the cost to modify your home to accommodate their disability and the cost of a special motor vehicle, wheelchair, etc.
- Counseling, psychological services, and special education costs
- Non-economic damages, such as emotional turmoil, pain, and suffering for both your child and to yourselves and other immediate family members; a variation on the “loss of consortium” damages.
- Other non-economic damages more-specific to your child’s injury
- Wrongful death damages if such damages apply to your case.
If you or your child is suffering from a birth injury, contact the Houston birth injury lawyers at Terry Bryant by calling the phone number on this page or through the Contact Us link to arrange for a confidential and FREE initial consultation.