Birth Injury Lawsuit
Despite improved nutrition, widespread access to prenatal care and a level of medical technology unimaginable in previous generations, almost 3% of the children born in the United States suffer from birth defects. Some of these children - those with minor injuries - may recover quickly and completely, but others are subject to a lifetime of disability. Unfortunately, the negligent and avoidable errors of doctors, hospitals and nursing staff during the birthing process can cause such injuries.
The most common birth injuries are:
Birth injuries generally arise during the course of operative deliveries, whether vaginal or abdominal. Operative delivery means the use of obstetrical forceps, vacuum extraction, or cesarean section to achieve the delivery. Operative delivery occurs any time it becomes safer to deliver the baby immediately rather than allow pregnancy to continue. Unfortunately, complications sometimes occur during labor and delivery that result in what is described, collectively, as birth trauma or birth injuries. Some common causes for birth injuries are:
- Oxygen deprivation, which can occur when the umbilical cord is compressed or twisted, or wraps around the neck, literally strangling the fetus during the birth process. It can also result from allowing the fetus to remain in the birth canal too long without intervening.
- Failure to diagnose and properly treat seizures after delivery.
- Failure to diagnose and properly treat Meconium Aspiration Syndrome - the inhalation of the infant's own meconium (fecal matter) and amniotic fluid which can cause a child to choke to death. The presence of meconium in the amniotic fluid is an indicator of fetal stress immediately before or after delivery.
- Mechanical trauma resulting from the adoption of an unusual position by the fetus at the time of delivery, or when the baby is too large to readily pass through the birth canal, a relatively common occurrence with the mother has diabetes.
- Excessive force or improper rotational force in the delivery process.
- Excessive or improper use of vacuum extraction and/or forceps.
- Failure to properly monitor and respond to changes in the mother's condition, such as high blood pressure or toxemia.
- Improper intubation (tube insertion) of a newborn requiring oxygen, resulting in hypoxia (insufficient oxygen reaching body tissues) and potentially, to asphyxia - critical oxygen deprivation that can result in brain damage or death.
The treatment of birth defects and birth injuries is an ongoing, long-term process that can be ruinously expensive, ranging from emergency surgery to long-term care and treatment, medication, physical therapy, special education and the like. Sadly, children with birth injury conditions may never be capable of caring for themselves and the cost of providing for their security and procuring the best possible quality of life for them can be staggering. Additionally, the entire experience of dealing with this sort of family tragedy can be extremely stressful and emotionally destructive. If your child suffers from a birth defect or injury that you believe may have been caused by the negligence of health care providers, please consult with an experienced birth defects attorney, as listed on this site, as soon as possible.
Typically, the infant victim in a birth defect medical malpractice case can recover monetary damages for:
- Medical expense (past & future)
- Future loss of earnings
- Extraordinary care - the anticipated cost of such things as aides, caregivers, therapeutic equipment and devices, psychological counseling, physical therapy, special education and training, and tutoring
- Pain and suffering
The victim's family may also recover damages based on the birth injury or defect. Their damages can include out-of-pocket expenses related to providing for the victim, their own mental pain and suffering, and the loss of anticipated future services of the victim which will no longer be available because of the birth injury or defect. A qualified birth defect attorney, as those listed on this site, can provide you with further information as it relates to your specific birth injuries case.
Not every birth defect is the result of negligence. Sometimes serious problems arise even where the doctor and all those assisting have done everything reasonably possible to prevent them. It's difficult for lay people to make the determination, especially when overwhelmed by the injury to their newborn child. If your child suffers from a birth defect or birth injury that you believe may have been caused by the negligence of health care providers, you should consult with an experienced birth defects attorney as soon as possible. A qualified birth injury lawyer, as those listed on this site, work with expert medical consultants and can help you determine just what happened, why it happened, and provide legal guidance and advice as to how you can best protect your child's interests.
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Frequently Asked Questions
My child has a serious birth defect or injury. Can I sue the doctor?
Not necessarily. Although doctors are trained health care professionals and are held to a high standard of care in treating their patients, they are not in the business of guaranteeing results. … more
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Most cases of damage to the brain among cerebral palsy children occurred before they were born - more specifically, during the first six months of pregnancy. Experts believe the brain damage … more
Is there a time limit on filing a lawsuit against a doctor?
Yes. Like all civil lawsuits, this type of claim is subject to the statutes of limitations. Statute of limitations is a law that sets forth the time period during which a lawsuit can be filed. If … more
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- The Stages of Personal Injury Lawsuit
Personal injury litigants should understand the different stages of a personal injury lawsuit. Each stage is an important part of determining whether or not a defendant is liable for the victim’s injuries. A personal injury attorney will represent you at each stage of the case and be available to answer any of your questions or address any of your concerns. Before a lawsuit is … more