Bringing a child into the world can be one of the most rewarding experiences in the world. However, when your newborn child suffers an injury because of a medical error your day of joy can turn into a day filled with anguish, anger, and confusion.
Recently, a Connecticut family was awarded $58 million in birth injury compensation when their doctor delayed performing a C-section for two days, causing severe cerebral palsy. Even with the award, the parents were not overjoyed, knowing their son would need lifelong medical care, and would not experience a typical life.
Common Birth Injuries
When a child is born with a birth injury many people feel that there is no logical explanation behind the injury. Many people improperly assume that there is no valid reason or cause for the injury, but rather that because of how traumatic giving birth can be that injuries are common. However, it is a sad reality that in many cases birth injuries are the result of a medical mistake during the pregnancy, labor, or during delivery. Birth injuries can lead to life-altering disorders, and may change the course of your child’s and your life forever.
Some of the more common birth injuries and disorders that can result from them include:
- Failing to recognize that a baby is in stress during pregnancy, labor, or delivery.
- The baby having a lack of oxygen during delivery.
- Excessive force used during labor.
- Failure to perform a timely C-Section
- Failure to diagnose a potential problem present during labor.
While you may be overjoyed to have your newborn in your arms you may be wondering if any of these injuries could have been prevented. You may also be wondering how you will raise a child who may have suffered a severe birth injury. Sometimes a birth injury can result in a serious birth defect such as cerebral palsy, or Erb’s palsy, which will be discussed below.
While Cerebral Palsy may be Caused by Infection in the Mother, Its Most Common Cause is Lack of Oxygen to the Brain, or Asphyxia
Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a term for a group of muscle impairment conditions affecting body movement and function. Most of the disorders associated with cerebral palsy appear in infancy or early childhood. Cerebral palsy can be caused by birth injuries to the brain including oxygen deprivation, and brain bleeding. Children diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy may suffer from spasticity or painfully tight muscles, bone and joint deformities, spasms, involuntary muscle movement, learning disabilities or mental retardation, communication and eating problems, pain, difficulty walking, and sleep disorders. Cerebral Palsy requires lifelong treatment such as physical therapy, anti-seizure medications, occupational and speech therapy, surgery to correct deformities or release tight muscles, and pain medications. On top of these extensive treatments, children with cerebral palsy may require wheelchairs, walkers, braces, or other orthotic devices.
Problems at birth like failure to monitor fetal distress and delaying cesarean section procedures may cause oxygen deprivation. Infants born prematurely are at a greater risk of Cerebral Palsy. If a mistake or injury at birth caused your child to develop Cerebral Palsy, you may be entitled to receive compensation to help with the long-term medical care of your child.
Pharmaceutical Error/Medication Overdose
“You have these dreams, and you work toward making those dreams happen, and then it’s kind of like a nightmare comes in a second and takes everything away,” said Fritzie Burke, a mother of an infant who died after being administered 60 times the normal dose of sodium in his IV bag. Hospital and pharmaceutical error accounts for an estimated 200,000 deaths annually, including those of infants and children. Oversight and medical negligence by professionals can cause fatalities and other tragic consequences.
Mothers are often administered Pitocin during their labor to speed up the birthing process or even to induce labor. While there are benefits of inducing labor, such as complications or distress to the baby, preeclampsia, or the mother having high blood pressure, there are also risks from taking medications that could lead to birth injuries. Pitocin must be closely administered and monitored, and failure to do so could lead to uterine rupture, decreased oxygen to the baby, depressed heart rate, brain damage, or even death.
Only a few years ago Dennis Quaid was in the news, not for acting, but for the alarming story of a drug overdose to his infant twins. While being treated for infections in a hospital, the twins were administered 10,000 units of Heparin, a blood thinner (1,000 times over the recommended dose), instead of Hep-lock, apparently because the labels looked nearly identical. Miraculously the Quaid twins survived, although it is yet to be seen if there will be any long-term effects of the overdose. Unfortunately, however, three infants died in an Indiana hospital in 2006 after receiving similar sized overdoses of Heparin, again due to a physician misreading the drug label.
If your child has suffered injury or death due to a pharmaceutical error or overdose, you will want an experienced, knowledgeable New Jersey birth injury attorney fighting to compensate you for your loss and expenses. For over 50 years, the skilled attorneys at Reiff & Bily have worked hand-in-hand with nurses and doctors to help our clients understand their claim and get them an award necessary to cover their medical expenses.
Erb’s Palsy/Brachial Plexus Injury
Erb’s palsy is characterized as paralysis to the arm, often caused by shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia means a mother has a difficult time delivering her baby because the baby’s shoulder gets stuck or won’t pass through the birth canal. Risk factors for shoulder dystocia include a small mother, gestational diabetes which causes a large baby, breech position, and overdue baby. Nurses, midwives, and other medical professionals should recognize cases of shoulder dystocia and try to prevent brachial plexus injuries by repositioning the mother or baby, of performing a C-section, if necessary. If shoulder dystocia is not properly treated or dealt with, injury to the brachial plexus could occur, resulting in nerve injuries, fractured collar-bone, and Erb’s palsy, or paralysis to the arm.
Rely on a Pennsylvania Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer with the Proper Experience
A complete brachial plexus injury causes the entire arm to be paralyzed. While sometimes surgery can repair the nerve damage, or they will heal on their own, paralysis caused by birth injury is often permanent. If your baby suffers from Erb’s Palsy or a brachial plexus injury, you may be entitled to receive compensation. You need attorneys with experience in the area of brachial plexus birth injuries to help you through this difficult time. Our team combines extensive legal knowledge with the advisement of highly experienced nurses and doctors to get you the money you deserve.