Pregnancy, labor, and delivery care can result in horrific injuries if the medical providers are negligent. Babies can be asphyxiated before delivery, resulting in brain damage and cerebral palsy, or suffer traumatic damage to their limbs if not appropriately handled. The mother’s well-being is at risk as well.
These cases are highly complex, but the Rhode Island birth injury lawyers at Decof, Barry, Mega & Quinn have extensive experience in these challenging and complex cases. We have secured multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements for clients in birth injury matters, including brachial plexus nerve injuries, vacuum extractor injuries, and brain damage. While these results are no guarantee for future recoveries, they prove our competence and dedication to this critical area.
What Causes Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries can be caused by many things, including negligence, carelessness, and medical mistakes. Doctors might fail to take action in a crisis. Alternatively, nurses and midwives may fail to monitor the unborn baby’s heart rate properly, leading to fetal distress.
If healthcare professionals fail to act quickly when the baby is in distress, they could be deprived of oxygen and suffer severe brain damage. In short, if the medical team is unprepared for the baby’s delivery, or if they fail to respond to certain situations appropriately, the mother and unborn baby could suffer irreparable harm.
Common Causes of Birth Injuries
A few common reasons birth injuries occur include:
- Failure to monitor the fetal heart rate
- Failure to respond to fetal distress
- Improper use of birth tools, such as forceps or vacuums
- Failure to identify and treat maternal infections
- Failure to respond to or prevent preterm labor
- Improper medication administration or incorrect doses
- Failure to diagnose and treat infections and other medical conditions
- Failure to perform a C-section
Common Types of Birth Injuries
- Broken or fractured bones: Sometimes, a broken bone could be a birth defect; other times, it could be the result of improper birthing techniques, such as if a doctor attempts to perform a natural birth when they should have noticed the baby was too large to pass through the birth canal without issue. Other causes include extended labors, failure to recognize and address a breech birth, and shoulder dystocia (when the infant is lodged behind the pubic bone).
- Brachial plexus damageand Erb’s palsy: The brachial plexus is composed of the nerves that move the arm and hand. Often, this happens when shoulder dystocia is improperly handled. If a medical practitioner is diligent and careful, they can save the baby from any harm caused by this situation.
- Cerebral palsy: One of the most common birth injuries due to medical malpractice is cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects both body movement and muscle coordination. If a medical professional fails to monitor the child during labor properly or attempts inadequate birthing techniques, the result could be a child born with cerebral palsy. Usually, symptoms appear in infancy or early childhood.
- Cranial nerve damage: Right behind the brachial plexus, cranial nerves are the second most vulnerable during childbirth. Damage happens when an overbearing amount of pressure is placed on the infant’s face during birth or from the improper use of medical tools, such as forceps or vacuums. A faulty medical device could also be the culprit. If damage occurs, the face could be partially or fully paralyzed.
- Death of the mother: This may seem like a past tragedy, but in 2018, USA TODAY found that more than 700 mothers die due to childbirth every year in the United States. They further found that proper medical practices could have prevented half of these tragic deaths.
What Are The Long-Term Effects of Birth Injuries?
If your child has shown developmental delays, physical injuries, or if
they were in distress during delivery, you may have reason to believe
a birth injury was involved. Birth injuries can cause infants severe pain
and may even result in permanent injuries, including brain damage, nerve
damage, shoulder injuries, developmental delays, altered motor skills,
Some birth injuries can prove fatal to the baby, mother, or both in worst-case scenarios. If your child was harmed, don’t wait to seek justice. Caring for a child with a birth injury can be extremely taxing and costly. You deserve the funds and resources to care for your child correctly, especially if someone else’s negligence or carelessness caused their injury.
Contact our birth injury lawyer in Rhode Island today to find out how we can help with your birth injury case!
How Can I Prove Fault in My Birth Injury Case?
Birth injury and other medical negligence cases are notoriously difficult to prove, considering their technical nature and the fact that the plaintiff must show that the health care provider failed to act within the acceptable standard of medical care.
It can be difficult to prove exactly what happened in the delivery room, but our decades of experience in this field and our access to experts in medicine and obstetrics can help us expose substandard care and establish fault.
Your child deserves the best care, and recovering a fair settlement or award can help ensure that you are able to provide for his or her treatment, support, and well-being for life.
How Common Are Birth Injuries?
Some injuries and traumas are inevitable at the time of birth, but others are avoidable. When injuries are included in the latter category, they are referred to as birth injuries and can inspire lawsuits.
According to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project’s Statistical Brief, 5 to 8 of every 1,000 infants born in the United States suffer a birth injury as defined above.
In 2006, for example, there were 4.3 million childbirths and nearly 157,700 potentially avoidable injuries to mothers and newborns.
What Are The Risk Factors For Birth Injuries?
The use of assistive devices like vacuums or forceps increases the risk of birth injury in both mother and child. Other factors that contribute to birth injuries include:
- A large child
- An overweight mother
- Breech births (when the baby is not headfirst in the birth canal)
- Premature births
- Cesarean delivery
Before, during, and immediately after delivery, your medical provider has a responsibility to assess your risk factors and plan for a complicated or high-risk delivery if necessary. If they fail to do so, you can hold them liable for any injuries sustained by you and/or your child.
How Can I Prove My Child’s Ailment is a Birth Injury?
The key to proving a birth injury claim is hiring a good lawyer. When building your case, your attorney will recruit expert witnesses to assess your doctor’s behavior throughout your pregnancy and during your delivery. Typically, these witnesses are other medical professionals who specialize in the same field as your initial caregiver, so they will be able to testify as to whether or not your doctor’s actions fell below the accepted standard of care.
To prove a birth injury claim, you must prove your doctor owed you and your child a duty of care, that they deviated from the generally accepted standard of medical care, and that this deviation caused you and/or your child’s injury.
Contact Our Birth Injury Lawyer Today
Our experienced team at Decof, Barry, Mega & Quinn, P.C. specializes in birth injury cases and has represented many frustrated, angry, and disheartened parents whose innocent children were harmed during birth. We know how trying this process can be, and we want to provide you with the legal resources and support to make seeking justice easier. We believe no child should suffer medical negligence, and if your baby was harmed because of someone else’s mistake, we want to help ensure you receive the compensation you need to recover in peace.