WHAT LEGAL REPRESENTATION CAN VICTIMS OF A BIRTH DEFECT GET FROM AN ATTORNEY?

If medical malpractice is believed to be responsible for a child’s debilitations, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help a family attain compensation for medical costs and loss of quality of life.  Prior to filing the suit, the lawyer will help the family gather relevant medical information and build a case with it.  The lawyer will also file a demand package and help negotiate a settlement if possible.  A lawyer will represent the family and present their case to the judge if a settlement is not reached.

WHAT ARE A DOCTOR’S DUTIES BEFORE AND DURING THE DELIVERY OF A CHILD?

Pregnancy is a complex, delicate process that requires attentive care from trusted medical specialists.  Prior to delivery, a doctor can screen the unborn child for many common complications, giving the parents the best opportunity to make an informed decision concerning the pregnancy.  While some parents will choose to maintain the pregnancy even if major complications are present, some will choose to end it.

However, if a doctor does not properly screen the fetus or review diagnostic data, the parents may not be made aware of potential complications and be unable to make a decision before it is too late.  During the delivery of the child, doctors and specialists must be quick to adapt to changing conditions and react appropriately.  It is the doctor’s job to offer the best possible conditions for the child and mother.

IF A NEWBORN IS PRESENT WITH A BIRTH DEFECT, CAN AN ATTORNEY HELP THE FAMILY?

If medical professionals prior to and during labor do not meet these obligations, they may be responsible for medical malpractice.  Poor diagnostics prior to labor and unsafe delivery conditions are usually considered medical malpractice and may be grounds for a lawsuit.  It is not always clear if medical malpractice is responsible for a child’s debilitations, so a personal injury lawyer would need to be consulted to determine if there is a case to be made.

WHAT KINDS OF BIRTH DEFECT CAN AN ATTORNEY HELP WITH IF MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE IS BELIEVED TO BE THE CAUSE?

There are many common genetic debilitations that can be detected prior to labor.  Perhaps the most well-known condition that can be detected early is Down Syndrome.  Although cardiac malformations, organ dysfunction, diabetes or genetic disorders caused by exposure to teratogenic substances can also be detected.  If these complications were present following delivery but were not detected during screening, the doctor may be responsible for medical malpractice.

Unsafe delivery conditions may also result in a number of debilitations, including brain or skull damage, bone fractures, umbilical cord entrapment, brachial plexus palsy, cerebral palsy, paralysis or Erb’s palsy.  These are often caused if the doctor is too forceful with the child during delivery or if a midwife fails to get the help of an obstetrician in time.  In addition, if the doctor fails to perform a C-section in time, these debilitations may be present. In general, if the medical team fails to respond appropriately to any part of the delivery, the medical team may be responsible for negligence.