Legal Action if Child is Seriously Harmed During Birth
While having a child can bring much happiness, many newborns suffer from birth injuries because of the negligence of some medical professionals. Whether it’s a fractured bone or facial paralysis, birth injuries are a serious legal matter and should be handled by a skilled Ohio medical malpractice lawyer.
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. Some of the most common negligence-related 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 their face. If a nerve is permanently damaged or torn, surgery may be necessary.
- Brachial plexus injuries- 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 Consequences of Birth Injuries on Children and Parents
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 child care.
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.
A Birth Injury May be the Result Medical 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.
Top Causes of Birth Injuries
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.
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.
Recovering Compensation for a Birth Injury
If there is evidence that your child was hurt because of a medical professional’s actions – or inaction – then call our medical malpractice lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick immediately. Medical malpractice can be difficult to prove. However, we have decades of experience behind us. With our skills and resources, we know how to investigate what happened and gather evidence of the doctor or nurse’s substandard care.
We will fight for you and your child’s right to compensation, including:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Physical impairment or disability
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Contact an Ohio Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
You do not need to have a great deal of information to contact us about a possible medical malpractice birth injury claim. You merely need enough information to understand your child’s injury may have been the result of a nurse’s or physician’s carelessness. The skilled lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick have years of experience and the 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 a medical professional’s negligence, we will help you pursue the compensation you deserve.