The birth of a child is a beautiful and sometimes terrifying experience, especially for first-time parents. The desire to be a perfect caregiver and protect the newborn child can be overwhelming, and when injuries occur due to medical malpractice, the physical, mental, and financial toll can be life-changing. Childbirth is an intense process, and complications are expected — preterm labor, umbilical cord issues, and moderating high blood pressure in the mother are common problems that doctors have to face during the childbirth procedure. If precautions aren’t taken, or a physician fails to properly respond to a dangerous situation, permanent injuries or even death of the mother or child could result due to this malpractice. A Gainesville child injury law firm can help provide support when facing a serious issue such as childbirth injuries.
Common Causes Of Birth Injuries
Injuries during childbirth can occur for various reasons and can come at any point before, during, or after the birthing process. According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 700 women in the United States die each year as a result of delivery or pregnancy complications. Obstetricians should be ready for any emergency situations and be prepared to reduce injury to both the child and the mother.
Some common causes of childbirth injuries include:
- Failure to monitor and respond to signs of fetal distress, such as oxygen deprivation
- Improper use of delivery tools, such as forceps or vacuum extractors
- Failure to prevent or control excessive blood loss in the mother
- Delays or failure to perform an emergency C-section
- Inappropriate treatment of injuries that lead to further damage
- Pre- or post-mature delivery due to improper dating
- Abnormal presentation of the fetus leading to umbilical cord issues
- Incorrect dosage or type of medication administered to mother
- Infections and medical issues in both the mother and the fetus
- Improper sizing of the fetus prior to birth
Common Types Of Birth Injuries
Meticulous medical care is expected during childbirth, and when negligence leads to injuries, the newborn's brain, muscles, and/or nerves can be damaged. While not all injuries are preventable, instances of medically inappropriate practices can lead to lifelong complications for the child and parents.
Common childbirth injuries include:
- Erb’s Palsy: Also referred to as Brachial Plexus Palsy, Erb’s Palsy occurs when the nerves of the neck and upper chest area are damaged. The condition typically occurs due to excessive pulling on the baby’s head, or more commonly as a result of the child’s shoulder becoming stuck behind or under the mother’s pubic bone. Babies may experience weakness, numbness, and an inability to move their arms. Infants may require physical therapy or surgery to correct the issue.
- Brain injuries: A lack of oxygen being provided to a baby’s brain or improperly handling the infant during the delivery process can lead to several debilitating or deadly issues. Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) can lead to the death of brain cells, leading to lasting brain damage, and even death. Cerebral Palsy occurs when damage is sustained during birth and results in moderate to severe lack of muscle control for the newborn. Low levels of oxygen that medical personal ignored or failed to notice could mean a malpractice claim can be made.
- Fractures: Newborns may require to be pulled to be delivered, and if the force used is excessive, then a fracture may occur to the infant’s clavicle or collarbone. Cuts, bruises, or fractures aren’t always preventable but can be common signs of excessive force or overaggressive use of forceps. Obstetricians should be reasonably aware of complications or the need for an emergency C-section before resulting to forceful pulling.
Childbirth Injuries Due To Medical Malpractice
It’s important to remember that not all injuries that occur during childbirth are due to negligence of the doctor or medical staff. Issues that arise due to birth defects, or as a result of an emergency situation where proper efforts were made to reduce injury, are not considered malpractice.
Physicians are expected to provide the correct medical procedures and have a thorough understanding of the needs of both the mother and the child during the birthing process. Patients can expect medical staff to uphold the proper standard of care practices when it comes to medical procedures. If the skill and care provided are drastically less than what other obstetricians would have provided, and the injury resulted due to this, then it’s likely that a malpractice claim can be made.
Proving a malpractice claim can be a complicated and exhausting process, especially for parents as they try to get past the pain that a childbirth injury can cause. Hiring a personal injury attorney that specializes in childbirth injuries can help ensure that all the required medical records are acquired, proper documentation of the events that led up to the injury is recorded, and that the accepted standard of care was not met.
Even in the case of injuries that manifest well past the date of birth, Florida parents and guardians are still able to file a claim up to two years after the injury was discovered (or should have been discovered) or within four years after the injury occurred.
Birth Injury Attorneys In Gainesville, FL
The Galione Law Firm, P.A., can help assist with recovering damages from medical malpractice. In this stressful and emotionally-exhaustive time, our family-oriented child injury lawyers can assist with getting reparations for medical treatment, modifications needed for a home or car, special assistance for a child, and other costs associated with a childbirth injury. If you believe your infant has been harmed during childbirth, first seek medical attention, and then contact a child injury attorney for support with your malpractice claim. Let us navigate the details of your case and determine if injuries occurred due to a breach in the expected standard of care, and how your family can get support during this difficult time.