Ohio Birth Injury Lawyers | Kisling, Nestico & Redick
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Birth Injuries & Childbirth Malpractice

Giving birth to a child is a joyful yet difficult experience. You want to hear from the nurse that all of the preliminary tests came back okay. Unfortunately, you may not have been able to enjoy the first moments with your child because you were told something was wrong. You may have noticed problems right away, or you may have witnessed issues during your child’s first few weeks of life. It is possible your newborn suffered from birth injuries. It is also possible this injury was caused by a doctor’s or nurse’s negligence.

If your child has been diagnosed with a birth injury, contact our Ohio medical malpractice lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick at 1-800-HURT-NOW as soon as possible.

Some birth injuries are due to difficult births and unforeseeable circumstances. However, many occur because a physician or nurse did not treat you and your child the way they should have.

Common Birth Injuries

Infants can be seriously injured during the birthing process if the doctors and nurses involved do not care for their patients to the highest standard. When a medical professional is careless, it is possible the child will suffer.

The most common birth injuries include:

  • Bone fractures- Infants can suffer broken bones during the birthing process. The collarbone is often broken, though it heals relatively quickly.
  • Facial paralysis- If a great deal of pressure is exerted on a baby’s face, then the child can suffer nerve damage and paralysis on either side of the face. If a nerve is permanently damaged or torn, surgery may be necessary.
  • Brachial plexusinjuries- If the group of nerves known as the brachial plexus is damaged, the infant can lose the ability to flex and rotate their arm. This is the bundle of nerves that begins in the upper spine and moves down through the neck, shoulder, arm, and hand. If the injury is minor to moderate, the infant can regain normal movement in a few months. However, if the nerve damage is severe, then the damage could be permanent.
  • Perinatal asphyxia- If a baby is not delivered properly, they may not receive enough oxygen. When there is insufficient blood flow to the fetus or too little oxygen in the blood, the baby can be severely injured. A newborn can fully recover from asphyxia, or it could lead to permanent neurological damage.
  • Spinal cord injuries- One of the most catastrophic types of birth injuries is damage to the spinal cord. If a child’s nerves or spinal cord are damaged during delivery, they can suffer nerve damage or paralysis.
  • Cerebral palsy This is a neurological disorder that is the result of a brain deformity or an injury while the brain is developing. It is characterized by muscle spasms or tremors, weakness, stiffness, and poor coordination.
  • Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)-This is a condition defined by abnormal neurological function that results in difficulty initiating and maintaining respirations and consciousness. It can lead to seizures and depressed tone and reflexes. It is a result of injury to the brain, which can occur in many ways at birth.

The Devastating Consequences of Birth Injuries

For both children and parents, there are innumerable physical, emotional, and financial consequences of a birth injury. Even a minor injury can cause the infant pain and delay their development. If the baby needs to be immobilized or go through medical exams and treatments, the situation is frustrating and stressful. It can be difficult to measure or put a value on children’s and parent’s emotional suffering in situations like these.

Properly treating birth injuries can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, particularly if the parents do not have health insurance or have a less-than-comprehensive plan. It can also require a parent to stay home from work longer or obtain more specialized childcare.

For children with permanent injuries like cerebral palsy, the medical care will never end. They will need special attention and assistance throughout their entire lives. The financial burden on the parents will continue until their child is grown, moves out, and obtains health insurance of their own.

Birth Injuries Due to Malpractice

There are times when a birth injury is caused by unforeseeable circumstances. During these times, you, the mother of your child, and your baby may have received the highest standard of care, but injuries during the birthing process are still possible. In these situations, the birth injuries are not a result of medical malpractice.

However, medical professional negligence is still a common cause of birth injuries. If you, your child’s mother, or the infant are not properly cared for, then it may be a nurse’s or doctor’s fault that your child was hurt during the birthing process.

Examples of birth injuries related to negligence include:

Failure to Schedule and Perform an Emergency Cesarean Section

A cesarean section (C-section) allows a doctor to deliver an unborn child by making an incision in the mother’s uterus and abdomen. It is a major surgery that is performed when there is an irregular fetal heartbeat, fetal distress, fluctuating fetal blood pressure, or a fetal entanglement in the umbilical cord. This procedure can be either planned or performed in an emergency situation.

When a doctor fails to schedule and perform an emergency C-section on time, a baby may suffer from oxygen deprivation that can lead to physical injuries as well as physical or developmental delays. In serious cases, a child may lose their life.

Leaving the Baby in the Birthing Canal for Too Long

When an expectant mother goes through a long and challenging labor, the baby may get stuck in the birth canal for too long. If a medical professional does not intervene quickly enough, the baby may lose oxygen and be left with Erb’s palsy, brain damage, and other severe injuries.

Medication Errors

Although medication errors are dangerous for everyone, they are especially troubling for pregnant women and their unborn children. Therefore, doctors must be cautious when prescribing medications to expecting mothers.

Medication errors that occur because of difficulty reading a doctor’s handwriting, wrong dosages of anesthesia, a drug that is mistaken for another one, and the administration of a medication that is dangerous or unsuitable for an unborn child can lead to serious birth injuries.

Failure to Take Note of Fetal Distress

Fetal distress describes the warning signs that signify a fetus may be experiencing health issues. It can occur rapidly with little warning and can be determined through fetal heart monitoring (FHM) and a close examination of uterine contractions.

If a doctor fails to monitor and recognize fetal distress, hypoxia (a lack of oxygen reaching important tissues) may occur and cause brain damage or even death.

Misuse of Forceps and Vacuums

Forceps and birthing vacuums are tools that are used to speed up the birthing process because a baby is stuck in the birthing canal, they are in distress, or their oxygen and heart rate are at dangerous levels.

When these birthing tools are used improperly, they can leave a baby with blood clots, shoulder dystocia, cerebral palsy, or even death.

Poor Prenatal Care

Pregnant women must receive early and regular prenatal care regardless of their age or how many children they have had in the past. In addition to an easier pregnancy, quality prenatal care can reduce a woman’s risk of birth injuries.

Doctors who provide poor prenatal care because they ignore warning signs that the baby is in trouble or miss signs of infections can be held accountable if birth injuries arise.

Who’s Responsible for a Birth Injury?

There are various reasons why a birth error can occur. Issues such as failing to follow childbirth procedure, hospital negligence, direct negligence of (surgeon, doctor, nurse), and maternity ward understaffing are some common causes of errors before, during, and right after child delivery.

For instance, if the attending physician or obstetrician fails to recognize signs of fetal distress or attempts an unnecessary necessary procedure, significant harm to the baby and mother can result.

After a birth injury, the main question that will determine who to hold accountable will revolve around: Was the injury unavoidable, or could it have been prevented? And while the attending physician is typically the first place to start, medical negligence can come from any member of the delivery team, such as a nurse, anesthesiologist, hospital employee, or the hospital itself.

An Attorney Can Help After a Childbirth Injury

Malpractice claims involving birth injuries are incredibly emotional and often legally complex. After all, large insurance companies, doctors, and hospitals will try to downplay or deny any wrongdoing. That’s why it is important to have an attorney with considerable birth injury experience and a background in dealing with the medical industry.

Proving Negligence During Childbirth

A successful birth injury claim or malpractice lawsuit means demonstrating that the doctor, nurse, or another party related to the delivery was negligent. This requires meeting the following elements:

  • The party had a duty to act as a reasonably prudent person would under similar circumstances
  • The other party breached this duty of care
  • The other party’s breach caused your injuries
  • You suffered actual injuries, for which the other party can compensate you

There are numerous ways an experienced attorney can help demonstrate that a medical professional breached its duty of care, including medical reports, eyewitness accounts, hospital records, expert testimony, and other evidence.

At KNR, we have extensive experience litigating birth injury claims and know what to look for. Our attorneys will investigate to confirm that a mistake occurred, review the records and medical reports to assign liability, and aggressively pursue maximum compensation by building the strongest possible case.

Birth Injury Compensation

If there is evidence that your child was hurt because of a medical professional’s actions – or inaction – then call Kisling, Nestico & Redick immediately. With our skills and resources, we know how recover the various financial losses related to the substandard care you and your child received.

KNR will fight for maximum compensation for your:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Physical impairment or disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish

Birth Injury FAQs

Are Childbirth Mistakes Common?

According to the CDC, approximately 7 out of 1,000 children suffer a birth injury. Many of these injuries could have been prevented with proper care.

Do Birth Injury Lawsuits Have Time Limits?

Like other malpractice cases, under Ohio Rev. Code 2305.113, you only have one year to file a birth injury lawsuit. And while there are exceptions and the deadline extends to 2 years if the injury was fatal, waiting to long could bar you from any compensation.

What If I Suspect a Birth Error occurred?

If you believe that a health care worker did not live up to their obligation to you in relation to the birth of your child or the car you received, you should talk to an attorney. These errors are complicated and require unique industry experience. A lawyer can better explain your options and guide your next steps.

How to Tell If My Child Suffered a Birth Injury?

In most cases, doctors are required to notify you of any apparent birth defects discovered during pregnancy. If an unexpected injury or disability is noticed immediately after birth, it could be an indication that an error occurred. And while unpreventable tragedies sometimes occur and some signs of a birth injury do not appear until later, your pediatrician is generally the best person to identify a possible birth injury.

Contact an Ohio Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today

If you suspect that medical malpractice caused a serious birth injury, call Kisling, Nestico & Redick. We know you want what’s best for your child, yourself, and to recover from the harm done to you and your family We can help.

We have the experience and resources necessary to conduct an investigation into what happened during the birth of your child. If there is evidence that you and your child are suffering because of negligence, we will help pursue the maximum you deserve.

Contact us at 1-800-HURT-NOW to schedule a free, no-risk consultation.