You look forward to your child’s birth. From all accounts, your child will be healthy. You have plans for your child’s well-being as he or she grows up, and plans for the future. The time just before the arrival and the arrival are exciting. You have a new nursery set up and ready to go with everything the baby needs to flourish as he or she grows. However, injuries could happen during birth. And many of those injuries may have been prevented.
If your child has a birth injury, whether minor or life-changing, contact Litster Frost Injury Lawyers for a consult regarding any birth injuries, no matter how minor, your child may have suffered or is currently suffering from.
Complications During Birth
Often, injuries during birth are preventable. The labor and delivery nurses, physicians and other staff are all trained to expect problems and to resolve them quickly so that you and the baby are safe. All medical professionals are obligated under the standards of medical care to try to prevent birth injuries. In situations where your baby suffers from a complication of birth, the hospital, doctors, nurses and staff may possibly be held liable.
Examples of birth injuries that are preventable include:
- Oxygen deprivation caused by failure to monitor labor and delivery. Nurses and obstetricians should be monitoring fetal monitors and should be able to interpret the tracings to ensure the baby has enough oxygen.
- Pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and cephalopelvic disproportion (the baby’s head is too big to fit through the mother’s pelvis) are all conditions that could cause birth injuries. All are also conditions that should be diagnosed and treated before or during labor and delivery.
- Some birth complications may be missed by failing to do procedures such as blood tests, brain cooling treatments and ultrasounds.
- Not informing the mother of the benefits and risks of certain procedures may also be considered negligent care. For example, if pitocin is used to induce labor and the mother isn’t warned of the potential side effects if the drug is not administered properly, this could be a form of negligence, especially if it causes complications during birth.
- Delaying treatments such as a C-section that is necessary may also cause birth complications and injuries.
- Providing incorrect treatment for a procedure and the improper use of delivery tools may also cause birth injuries.
Common Birth Injuries
Birth injuries may range from mild to severe and may be mental, physical, cognitive and emotional. Common injuries include:
- Cerebral Palsy. This injury is often referred to as CP. CP is actually a group of disorders that affect the nervous system and the brain functions. Thinking, hearing, movement, seeing and learning are all activities that may be impaired.
- Brain damage. This is usually caused by hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE is the most common form of birth asphyxia and is due to the baby’s brain not getting enough blood flow or oxygen close to or at the time of birth. If oxygen is lacking, brain cells may die, resulting in brain damage. The brain damage causes physical and mental disabilities.
- Brachial plexus injuries. This is also known as Erb’s palsy. Injury to the group of main nerves in the upper arm causes the arm to be weak or paralyzed. Generally, this is caused by a difficult birth where the baby’s shoulders have trouble going past the mother’s pubic bone.
- Seizures. Seizures are usually caused by oxygen deprivation, nerve damage, problems with the brain chemistry or high fever. Generally, you’ll see seizures with children who were injured during birth. The seizures usually appear just after birth.
- Intracranial hemorrhages. Otherwise known as brain bleeds, intracranial hemorrhages happen due to a medical error or mismanaged labor and delivery.
Birth Defects vs. Birth Injuries
A birth defect is a problem that has similar symptoms of a birth injury but is different in that your baby was genetically predisposed to have a birth defect. A birth injury happens during labor and/or delivery. Often, lawyers that represent the hospital and doctors will try to say that your baby has a birth defect instead of a birth injury. The birth injury and medical malpractice attorneys at Litster Frost Injury Lawyers know other attorneys use tactics such as these. Evidence of birth injury is important in helping our attorneys prove the injuries are birth injuries and not birth defects.
Damages You May Be Entitled To
Depending on the circumstances and the extent of the birth injury, you may be entitled to certain damages including:
- Medical expenses for the labor and delivery and current and future medical expenses for treatment related to the birth injury.
- Rehabilitation, counseling, therapy and special medical equipment costs.
- Emotional distress, pain and suffering.
- Wages lost because you cannot work because you have to provide care for the disabled child.
Birth injury lawsuits may also be able to provide you with a life care plan. This plan covers lost wages, medical expenses, adaptive equipment, in-home care or even the costs of an institution.
Proving a Birth Injury Lawsuit
First things first: Make sure your child is being treated for his or her brain injury complications. Keep all of the information and copies of hospital bills, doctors’ appointment and other medical needs. Don’t wait for a settlement to get treatment or the baby’s condition could worsen.
To have a valid medical malpractice lawsuit, you must show that the doctor or hospital was responsible for your baby’s care at the time the birth injury happened. That duty of care must have been breached. This means that you must have evidence that the hospital, doctor or other medical staff caused the birth injury was not being responsible while you and your baby were under the care of the named medical professionals and personnel. You must also be able to prove that those responsible breached their duty of care.
Certain legislation has imposed limits on non-economic damages. Medical malpractice lawsuits such those pertaining to birth injury are complex and should be entrusted to legal professionals that not only have the experience but the team and resources to see them to successful fruition.
Contact Litster Frost Injury Attorneys
If you believe your baby is suffering from birth injuries, contact Litster Frost Injury Attorneys to schedule a consult. We will discuss with you the work and research needed to determine initial steps as well as how we will handle your case if you choose to work with us. We have been helping families who have gone through suffering caused by medical malpractice in Idaho and the rest of Idaho for years. Let us help you too.