Nine long months have passed while you anxiously awaited the arrival of your little bundle of joy. You remember feeling the first kick and imagining the perfect little life is inside of you. Unfortunately, things didn’t play out the way you expected and complications at your child’s birth caused serious, life-altering injuries or death to your newborn.
In an instant, what should be one of the happiest moments of your life may end up leaving you with despair and heartache. What makes your despair and pain even worse is that it was due to someone else’s mistake and lack of due care. Injuries to your baby caused during delivery can require life-long care and can seriously impact your child’s quality of life. Babies may sustain fractured bones, nerve damage, cerebral palsy, or paralysis from mistakes made at birth. While you expect the greatest care to be given to you and your baby in a hospital, terrible mistakes and oversight, can leave you or your baby with a devastating injury and huge medical costs, and result in the shattering of one’s hopes and dreams for their family.
If your child was severely injured at birth due to negligence or other improper acts by a doctor, nurse or other medical professional you may wonder how you will support your child’s additional needs and cover your hospital bills. However, you may be entitled to compensation for a birth injury. The attorneys of Reiff & Bily have more than three decades of experience with severe personal injuries and wrongful deaths and may be able to fight for you. To schedule a free and confidential initial consultation call (215) 274-0072 today.
Are all Birth Injuries Medical Malpractice?
Many people seem to think that all bad medical results constitute medical malpractice. While such a legal framework would be favorable to the victims of a medical mistake, the law is more complexed and nuanced. Essentially, while an injury, death, or bad medical outcome is an element of a medical malpractice claim it takes more than an injury to give rise to a compensable birth injury or other medical malpractice claim. The “something more” is a deviation from an accepted standard of medical care. Thus, there must not only be an injury but also a breach in the duty to provide medical care. Furthermore, several other legal elements – such as causation – must be proven by the injury victim in a birth injury case. Working with strategic and aggressive lawyers who understand the types of evidence and expert witnesses required to prove your case can increase the likelihood of a financial recovery to support your child.
What is a Birth Injury?
Birth injuries occur when a healthy baby sustains traumatic injuries during the birthing process. Examples of birth injuries include nerve damage, broken bones, oxygen deprivation to the brain or other internal organs, and hemorrhaging.
What is the Difference Between a Birth Injury and a Birth Defect?
There are unfortunately an array of things that can go wrong at the birth of a child. However, compensable birth injuries occur when a healthy baby sustains traumatic injuries during the birthing process. Birth injuries are distinguishable from birth defects. A birth defect is an abnormality affecting a bodily function or body structure that arises due to the genetic composition of the parents and other factors during the pregnancy. Birth injuries, on the other hand, are caused during labor and delivery, often in the birth canal.
What Are Common Types of Birth Injuries?
Unfortunately, there are an array of injuries that can be inflicted on a baby during the birthing process. These injuries can vary in severity, but the bottom-line is that they are avoidable but for a medical professional’s negligence or other improper actions. Birth injuries casued by medical malpractice can include:
- Fractured bones
- Erb’s Palsy or brachial plexus injury
- Cerebral Palsy
- Hemorrhage or excessive bleeding
- Shoulder dystocia
- Spinal cord injury
- Sepsis or overwhelming infection
- Cord prolapse
- Premature birth
- Group B strep infections
Negligence and malpractice on the part of an obstetrician, nurse, midwife, anesthesiologist, paramedic, or other medical professional could lead to catastrophic birth injuries to your child. Failing to monitor the baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels could lead to oxygen deprivation and a catastrophic brain injury with grave, life-long consequences. Lack of oxygen to the baby during birth can cause cerebral palsy, which causes delays in motor development, and problems swallowing, communicating, and walking. A physician’s incorrect use of forceps may cause facial paralysis and bruising of your baby. Failure to correctly identify and treat shoulder dystocia often leads to Erb’s Palsy or brachial plexus injuries and result in permanent paralysis.
What are Additional Causes of Birth Injuries?
Unfortunately there are an array of medical mistakes that can occur and lead to serious birth injuries. While this list is far from a comprehensive accounting of all injury types, come of the more common medical mistakes include:
- Failure to respond to fetal distress or monitor condition of baby
- Misuse of forceps
- Inappropriate administration of Pitocin
- Failure to observe or respond to umbilical cord entrapment
- Failure to appropriately respond to bleeding
- Failure to attempt to delay premature labor
- Failure to control high blood pressure, eclampsia, or seizures of the mother
- Allowing labor to go on too long
- Failure to administer oxygen during labor
- Delay in performing C-section
- Failure to recognize or treat placental abruption
- Failing to properly treat shoulder dystocia
- Failure to provide antibiotics when needed
Who is Responsible for a Birth Injury?
Birth injuries may be caused by negligence on the part of your obstetrician, delivery doctor, nurse, midwife, pediatrician, neonatologist, paramedic, or anesthesiologist.
What Should I Do After a Birth Injury?
It is very important that your baby receives proper medical care and attention for the illness or injury that he or she suffers as a result of a birth injury. Similarly, if a mother is injured or contracts an illness due to a birth injury, it is vital that she receive adequate medical treatment as well. In addition, you may want to contact a Philadelphia PA birth injury lawyer who can help you hold negligent parties liable for the birth injury and obtain compensation on your behalf.
The birth injury to your child may have happened due to one of these potential deviations from the accepted medical standard of care. However, it is also possible that your child’s birth injury occurred in a different fashion. If you work with us as a client, our birth injury and medical malpractice lawyers will fight to obtain the evidence we need to determine what went wrong and to hold the responsible parties financially accountable.
Work With Aggressive Philadelphia Birth Injury Attorneys
Birth injuries are not your fault and you may be entitled to compensation for injuries caused by a medical professional’s mistake. Birth injuries can cause enormous despair and suffering to mother, father, and child. Some injuries are severe, cause permanent disabilities, and require lifelong medical care. Unfortunately, that care can be prohibitively expensive and cause even more anxiety for the parents.
If your child has suffered an injury during birth or labor, the experienced PA medical malpractice lawyers of Reiff & Bily may be able to help you. Our team of lawyers has over three decades of experience litigating birth injury and medical malpractice claims. In every case, we seek out qualified and credible doctors, nurses and other medical experts who work to get to the bottom of what went wrong.
We understand the pain, anguish, and devastation birth injuries cause, and we will fight to hold negligent medical professional accountable for their mistakes. Contact one of our birth injury lawyers by calling (215) 274-0072 today for a no-obligation, confidential consultation.