Birth Injuries – Medical Malpractice
For most expectant moms and dads, welcoming a baby into the family is a profoundly happy and long-anticipated event. But initial joy can be staunched when the baby is injured during the labor, delivery, or shortly after the birth, due to the negligence of nurses, doctors, or other healthcare professionals involved in supporting the laboring mother.
In many cases, a baby’s birth injuries are apparent immediately and will need special attention right from the start. Other times, brain injuries caused by a traumatic birth may not manifest right away. In fact, symptoms may not be apparent for months, or even years, after the birth.
Many birth injuries are caused by the lack of action – or careless action – on the part of birth professionals. In other words, when doctors and nurses fail to appropriately monitor either the fetus or the mother, when they fail to notice signs of the unborn baby’s distress, or when they fail to take appropriate action(s) to assist a baby and mom when there is distress. Appropriate action can include an emergency C-section, for example. Other times, obstetricians may be in a hurry to get the labor and delivery over with, and they may use forceps, or other suction force, inappropriately resulting in an injury to the child.
Examples of Birth Injury That May Be Caused by Medical Malpractice
Fetal distress – If the fetus cannot get enough oxygen due to problems with the umbilical cord, the baby could suffer brain damage. Fetal distress symptoms include abnormal heart rate, for example. Fetal stethoscope or fetal heart monitor should continually monitor the unborn baby. When there is distress, immediate and appropriate action must be taken.
Cerebral palsy – A whole spectrum of brain injuries can be considered cerebral palsy. They often result due to lack of oxygen at the time of the baby’s birth. There are some who believe that all cases of cerebral palsy are caused by medical negligence. Cerebral palsy can show up in many ways in a child, including speech problems, limitations in movement, problems with motor skills, and learning disabilities. Babies may have any of the following symptoms:
- Poor or absent muscle control
- Balance issues
- Missing or slow to reach developmental milestones such as the ability to roll over, crawl, sit, stand, or walk.
- Problems with hearing or vision
Brachial Plexus Injury or Brachial Palsy – This malady occurs at birth, when the nerves running from shoulder to arms and hands are injured. Essentially, the shoulder is wrenched during the birthing process in such a way as to cause either permanent or temporary long-term nerve damage. It happens for the most part when there is shoulder dystocia or a problem delivering the baby’s shoulder. It has been shown in some medical malpractice cases that the cause has been undue pulling force by forceps.
Brain Injury – Vacuum extractors and forceps that pull the baby out can twist the spine in such a way as to cause brain or spine injury. Additionally, even skull fractures have occurred because of the forcefulness of obstetricians in the delivery room.
Erb’s Palsy – This occurs when a baby’s shoulder is caught during delivery process behind the mom’s pubic bone. This again causes nerve damage in the neck and arm.
Medical providers can held accountable to explain what happened in the birthing room. They can be held accountable for medical costs and other damages, if there are grounds for medical malpractice.
Experienced Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Attorney
The central New Jersey law office of Harold J. Gerr, Attorney at Law represents families whose babies have suffered grievous injury or who have died as a result of medical malpractice or personal injury. We have been fighting for the rights of the injured for three decades.
Our medical malpractice and personal injury law firm carefully selects the cases we handle, so that we can provide the highest levels of service and personal attention to each client. Contact us online or call our office at 732-537-8570 (toll-free at 1-877-249-4600).