Birth Injuries Caused by Surgical Instruments
Welcoming a new life into the world is a miraculous and joyous event. However, the birth process can come with a whole range of challenges, and in some cases, medical interventions become necessary to ensure the safety of both mother and child.
While these interventions can often be lifesaving, they can also lead to birth injuries when surgical instruments are used by negligent providers. You deserve the highest standard of care when you pay as much as you pay in the United States for healthcare, and when your medical providers do not provide the standard of care that they legally owe you, this is medical malpractice.
Here at Peter Angelos Law, as a medical malpractice law firm, we understand the emotional turmoil and financial strain that birth injuries can place on families. Our goal is to help you navigate the complex legal landscape and seek justice on behalf of your child.
We offer a free initial consultation and case evaluation to all clients. This consultation allows you the space to ask the important questions you need to ask and have your story heard.
The Use of Surgical Instruments
Birth injuries can occur during any stage of labor and delivery, but they are more likely to happen when complications occur that require the use of surgical instruments.
In modern obstetric practice, the use of C-sections, as well as assisted delivery techniques, such as forceps delivery and vacuum extraction, helps the mother when natural delivery proves challenging. While these interventions can be critical in ensuring a safe delivery, they can also potentially cause serious birth injuries if not performed with the utmost care and precision.
When birth injuries are caused by the negligent use of surgical instruments or a failure to adhere to best practices, parents may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The best way to understand if you have a valid case is to discuss what has happened with an experienced birth injury lawyer who can help determine whether medical negligence played a role in the injury.
A cesarean section, commonly referred to as a C-section, is a surgical procedure used to help a mother give birth when giving birth naturally through a vaginal delivery is going to be too difficult or risky. C-sections can be lifesaving for both mothers and babies, but caution needs to be taken, as they are not without risks.
One potential, yet preventable, complication that can arise during a C-section is the accidental cutting of the unborn baby. During a normal C-section, the surgeon makes an incision in the mother's abdomen and uterus to access and deliver the baby. Ideally, the incision is made with extreme caution to avoid any potential contact with the newborn baby.
However, if the right care is not taken, the surgeon may inadvertently cut the newborn baby while making the incision. This can lead to a range of preventable birth injuries, including lacerations, scarring, and potential nerve or muscle damage, depending on the depth and location of the cut.
If your newborn baby has been born with lacerations or injuries, discuss your child's birth injury with an attorney. They will examine what happened and assess whether the medical provider's behavior was grossly substandard from how a reasonable medical provider would have acted.
Forceps delivery is a common operative vaginal delivery method that may be used by medical providers to assist the mother in the birthing process. With vacuum extraction, a medical provider uses a pair of forceps to gently grasp the newborn baby's head and guide it through the birth canal.
While forceps delivery can be lifesaving in certain circumstances, it is not without risk. Forceps delivery injuries are quite common and can range from minor injuries, such as bruising and swelling, to more serious complications, including brain damage, skull fractures, and facial nerve injuries.
Brachial Plexus Injuries
One of the most concerning forceps delivery complications is the risk of brachial plexus injury. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that controls movement and sensation in the shoulder, arm, and hand.
Brachial plexus injuries occur when these nerves are stretched, compressed, or torn during delivery, often due to excessive force or improper positioning. The severity of brachial plexus injuries can vary, with some babies recovering fully within a few months, while others may suffer permanent disability.
Another potential complication associated with the use of forceps is shoulder dystocia, a condition in which the baby's head is delivered, but one or both shoulders become stuck in the birth canal.
This can cause nerve damage, brain injury, or even death if not resolved quickly and skillfully. In some cases, the improper use of forceps during delivery can also lead to pelvic organ prolapse in the mother, a condition in which the pelvic organs descend and push against the vaginal wall, causing discomfort and potential long-term health issues.
Injuries to the newborn baby's head can be the most worrying outcome of a forceps-assisted delivery. When too much force is used, or the forceps are in the wrong position, it can lead to brain damage, with life-altering consequences for the affected child and their family.
Birth injuries to the brain can result in developmental delays, cognitive impairments, and lifelong physical disabilities, placing a significant emotional and financial burden on families.
Sometimes, the use of forceps during delivery can cause intracranial hemorrhage, a severe complication in which bleeding occurs within the skull. This can lead to a range of neurological issues, including cerebral palsy, nerve damage, and muscle weakness, which may have a profound impact on a child's life. Risk factors for intracranial hemorrhage include a mother's pelvis being too small, prolonged labor, or a bleeding disorder in the infant.
Cerebral palsy, a group of disorders affecting muscle tone and movement, is another potential consequence of birth injuries caused by forceps deliveries. This condition is often associated with brain damage resulting from reduced blood flow or oxygen supply to the developing brain during birth. The increased risk of cerebral palsy is particularly concerning, as it is a lifelong condition that can significantly affect a child's mobility, speech, and cognitive abilities.
Do My Child's Injuries Qualify as Medical Malpractice?
In order for medical malpractice to have occurred, the injuries caused must have been preventable. Unfortunately, there are several risks associated with childbirth and with assisted delivery methods, such as C-section and forceps deliveries.
In these situations, if your medical provider has followed all the standard medical practices, and has provided the full attention and care you are owed, but your child has suffered serious injuries from a known risk, then you may not be entitled to bring a claim against them.
If, however, your child suffered injuries that were preventable, then you may be eligible to bring a claim against the medical provider responsible. You must prove the medical provider's actions were grossly substandard compared to those of a reasonable medical provider. By proving this, you could recover your damages and compensation for the injuries you and your child have suffered.
Damages That May Be Recoverable
In a medical malpractice claim, the compensation available will rely upon the damages that have been incurred. One of the most important roles a birth injury attorney will carry out on your behalf is the calculation of these damages.
By calculating these damages, they will know what your case is worth and will have a solid figure to use when negotiating a settlement from the other party. The more experience they have, the better they should be at doing this. When calculating your damages, your attorney will consider both the economic damages and non-economic damages that have been suffered.
Your economic damages are the financial losses that you have incurred. They are the easiest to calculate and are normally straightforward. Most of the time, you will have records of these damages.
In a successful case, you may be able to recover all the medical expenses that you have incurred because of the birth injury. This includes the cost of your medical care and the cost of any medical care your child has needed.
If your newborn baby has suffered injuries that are going to require long-term treatment, your attorney may speak to a medical expert who can help them calculate what this treatment will cost. This should allow for the best possible treatment for your child's injuries in the future.
If either parent has had to take time off from work because of the injuries your newborn baby has suffered, you may be able to pursue the recovery of this lost income. This includes all past lost wages and if one of you may have to leave a job in order to provide care to your child, you could recover this loss of earning capacity.
Changes to The Household
If your newborn baby suffered injuries that are going to require you to make changes to the house in the future, such as installing wheelchair ramps or stairlifts, your attorney can help you recover these expenses in a successful case.
Non-economic damages do not have a specific financial value and are more subjective. Their valuation depends on the severity of the injury, the impact on the child's life, and the distress suffered by the family.
Pain and Suffering
An important component of compensation in birth injury lawsuits is pain and suffering damages. These damages aim to provide monetary compensation for the physical and emotional pain experienced by both the injured child and their family.
The injured child may experience ongoing pain or discomfort as a result of their injury, which can significantly affect their quality of life. Pain and suffering damages aim to compensate the child for this ongoing pain and any significant distress resulting from the injury.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
Your child's injury may prevent them from participating in activities they would have enjoyed, such as sports, walking, and other physical activities. This could severely affect their overall happiness and well-being. In these circumstances, loss of enjoyment of life damages may be awarded to account for this harm.
Birth Injuries Caused By Surgical Instruments - Call Peter Angelos Law Today!
If your child has suffered a preventable birth injury, do not hesitate to reach out to Peter Angelos Law for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys will meticulously examine your case, determine whether there is a valid medical malpractice claim, assess the liable parties, and fight relentlessly to recover the compensation you and your child deserve.
Allow us to shoulder the legal burden, so you can focus on what truly matters: caring for your child and rebuilding your life.
Call us today at 410-705-2405.