Birth Injury Lawsuits
Childbirth can be a difficult procedure and there can be complications or trauma that occurs which is not caused by medical negligence. If a doctor has been negligent in the delivery of your infant a medical malpractice lawyer specializing in birth injury lawsuits can help you receive compensation to cover expenses from the injury. How do you know if a doctor was medically negligent? In general, medical malpractice is an act or failure to act on the part of the doctor which does not meet the standards practiced in the medical community and causes injury to a patient. Would other doctors in a similar situation have done the same thing?
In order to prove medical malpractice for a birth injury lawsuit you must prove the following:
- Breach of the standard of care - Did the doctor make a mistake that a reasonable doctor under the same circumstances would not have made? To prove this you may need the testimony of another doctor or good expert witness.
- Causation - Did the mistake the doctor made cause injury to your infant? This means you have to prove that if the doctor had not made the mistake then your baby would not have been injured.
- Damages - What was the severity of the injury to your infant? This could include medical bills, pain and suffering, continued medical care or death.
Negligent Childbirth Acts
Fortunately, most injuries during childbirth are not due to a negligent act and they will heal on their own. There are, however, types of birth injuries and brain injuries (due to a lack of oxygen) that are caused by negligence on the part of the nurse or doctor. These birth injuries can be very serious and lead to a lifetime of costly medical bills and sustained care. These injuries could include infections, spinal cord injury, bone fractures and nerve damage.
Cerebral Palsy is also a serious brain injury that may occur during childbirth. It affects muscle movement. There is some question about the possible causes of Cerebral Palsy but some of the causes might include: infection, lack of oxygen, or bleeding in the brain. Another condition is called Erb's Palsy. It is caused by damaging the nerves in the baby's shoulder. Erb's Palsy could occur if the baby's shoulder is stuck against the mother's pubic bone and forceps are used to pull the baby out. The nerve damage could heal, but there might be permanent nerve damage and lost function in the muscle in the rotator cuff.
It is important for you to understand the differences of possible negligence and common occurences, as we have highlighted below.
Common types of Negligent Behavior That May Result in an Injury or Birth Trauma Lawsuit
- Baby's size not calculated accurately
- Inappropriate use of forceps
- Inadequate supply of oxygen is given to the baby
- Lack of proper fetal monitoring
- Inappropriate medication given to the infant
Common Occurences of Childbirth Injuries That May Not be a Result of Birth Injury
- Swollen head
- Broken blood vessels in the eyes
- Mild facial paralysis
- Respiratory complications from inhaling fecal or blood matter
- Broken collar bone
Most birth traumas are common and not a result of negligence, and should heal on their own. But if any birth injuries develop into a more serious condition or do not heal on their own it may be good to contact a lawyer.
Technological advancements in delivery and other pre-natal care have reduced the occurrence of infant deaths to around 1% in modernized countries. Obstetricians today often recognize birth trauma risk factors prior to delivery with the use of ultrasonography. As a result, birth injuries now account for fewer than 2% of neonatal deaths and stillbirths in the United States.
Thankfully, babies are built to handle the stressful task of delivery. They have a soft skull and flexible bones to help move down the birth canal. Most births are injury free and if an injury does occur it generally heals quickly.
Even with careful consideration prior to birth, however, medical errors may occur during delivery and your baby may be impaired for life. Increased risk factors for birth injury or trauma may include birthing a large infant, experiencing a breech delivery, or incorrectly using an instrument such as forceps or vacuum.