Birth injuries may occur naturally as a result of a difficult birth or complications with a pregnancy. However, many birth injuries are the result of errors or negligence on the part of physicians and staff during the birthing process. If an infant suffers from birth injuries that are a result of this type of malpractice, the parents may be entitled to compensation for costs associated with the injuries.
Types of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries range in severity, and may be temporary or permanent. Some birth injuries can be corrected with treatment and therapy, while others may be life-altering and require continuous treatment. Birth injuries may cause both cognitive and physical disabilities.
Disabilities and injuries that may stem from birth complications include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage
- Brachial palsy
- Brain damage
- Broken and fractured bones
- Dislocated bones
- Shoulder dystocia
Birth Injury Causes
Complications during birth may be natural and unpreventable, in some cases. However, obstetricians and physicians are trained to recognize and respond to risks that may contribute to birth injuries. Failing to take necessary actions, such as ordering a timely cesarean section, may constitute medical malpractice.
There are many different factors that may cause birth injuries, including:
- Premature birth
- Prolonged labor
- Higher than average birth weight
- Small or abnormally shaped pelvis of the mother
- Improper use of forceps
- Improper use of a vacuum extractor
- Use of Pitocin
- Breach birth
- Certain medications
Oxygen deprivation during the birthing process is a leading cause of cognitive disabilities. A common cause of oxygen deprivation is compression of the umbilical cord. Physicians are trained to watch out for umbilical cord compression and symptoms that may indicate the condition, however, this may be difficult to spot and correct based on the position of the baby.
Birth Injury Effects
A birth injury may severely alter the lives of all members of a family. Parents may be forced to change work schedules and even quit jobs in order to care for a child that has special needs due to a birth injury. Paying for treatments, therapy, and equipment may be costly and may cause financial hardship. The difficulty of attending to these needs may place emotional stress on the child, parents, and other close family members.
Birth Injury Claims
It is important for parents to contact a birth injury attorney as soon as possible when medical malpractice is suspected. All states in the U.S. have statute of limitations laws that limit the amount of time following an incident of malpractice in which a claim can be filed. Proving malpractice may involve lengthy investigations. Filing a claim as soon as possible will help to ensure that the statute of limitations time frame is met, and will also accelerate the process of receiving compensation.
Orlando Birth Injury Attorney
In order to determine whether birth injuries were caused by malpractice, a birth injury attorney must review the medical records closely. Experts in the field of obstetrics may be consulted to determine whether certain actions taken by the acting physician and other medical staff were reasonable actions that would be taken in the situation by similarly trained medical professionals. If medical malpractice is discovered, experts that have been consulted may be called upon to deliver expert testimony to support the claim.
Birth Injury Compensation
If birth injuries were caused by medical malpractice, a skilled attorney may be able to help the family recover the costs of any related medical treatments and therapy sessions. In many cases, compensation will also be calculated for intangible damages, such as pain and suffering. Costs for future special education needs and other anticipated expenses may also be considered when determining the reparations owed to the family. If the cause of birth injuries is determined to be misconduct, punitive damages may also be awarded in order to dissuade medical professionals from committing similar acts in the future.
“Birth Injury.” Birth Injury. Stanford Children’s Health, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 9 June 2014.
View Article Sources
“Types of Injuries.” Where our Families Help Your Family. BirthInjury.org, 1 Jan. 2010. Web. 9 June 2014.
View Article Sources