At Peter Angelos Law, we have worked with countless clients who have children that have been injured during pregnancy or birth. Prenatal errors and birth injuries are often preventable, meaning there was likely some level of negligence.
You should not have to worry about the competency of the medical providers that are looking after you and your unborn child. They should be highly trained medical providers and should follow all of the standard medical practices. When they don't, and your child has suffered as a result, you have every right to be furious.
Call us today to arrange a free consultation with a birth injury attorney and case evaluation. We can discuss your birth injury lawsuit and look at your case free of charge. If we think it is worth pursuing, we do so on a no-win-no-fee basis, meaning you can pursue your case with confidence.
Medical negligence is unacceptable, and we are here to help you hold those responsible accountable for the medical errors that led to your child's birth injury.
The Two Forms of Birth Injury Error - Prenatal Error and Birth Injuries
Understanding the cause of your child's birth injury is important. Your attorney will need to determine the root cause of the injury and which of the two following categories it falls under.
If your child was injured during your pregnancy, it is called a prenatal error. In the majority of cases, these errors are caused because the medical providers who are responsible for monitoring you and your child have failed to carry out an adequate level of fatal monitoring.
Fetal monitoring is essential for detecting early signs of fetal distress. By detecting fetal distress at the earliest possible moment, it is much more likely that a plan of action can be implemented to mitigate the risk to your child.
Your medical providers should have taken into account any factors that suggest that your child may be at a higher risk of developing an illness or condition. An example of this would be if your child is larger than normal or the mother is diabetic.
It is probable that insufficient fetal monitoring was conducted during the pregnancy if your child was born with detectable conditions or injuries and you did not know about them.
Labor and Delivery Error
This is the term used to describe any preventable mistake or incident that occurs during the process of childbirth. These errors can occur at any point during the pregnancy, labor, delivery, or postpartum period, and can affect both the mother and the baby.
Labor and delivery errors can result in serious harm to the mother or the baby, and may even lead to long-term health complications, disability, or death. It is important to prevent these errors by providing adequate medical care, monitoring, and communication between you and your medical providers.
The Most Common Errors
Here are some of the most common birth injury errors that we encounter on a daily basis here at Peter Angelos Law.
Head Trauma During Delivery
A newborn baby's head can easily be injured if too much pressure is applied during any point of the pregnancy or the birth. In particular, during the birth, your medical providers should take extreme caution to avoid pressure being applied to the skull. If too much pressure is applied then the child may suffer from birth trauma, such as:
- Brain Injury.
- Facial Paralysis.
Neglecting to Perform Specialized Tests
Carrying out the right specialized tests and ensuring that adequate fetal monitoring occurs during pregnancy are both important components of the prenatal care your medical providers should give you and your child. Carrying out the right tests helps to identify any complications or potential abnormalities in the developing fetus and allows your medical providers to take the necessary steps to manage or treat them.
Ultrasound, amniocentesis, and chorionic villus sampling are all examples of tests that can provide vital information about how healthy your unborn child is and how they are developing. These tests can help identify any chromosomal abnormalities, neural tube defects, or other structural abnormalities.
Carrying out these tests can help with important decisions that need to be made, such as if you may need to deliver her baby early or whether certain medical interventions are necessary during delivery.
Monitoring the fetus for distress during the pregnancy can also help. For example, monitoring fetal heart rate can provide information about the baby's oxygen supply and can help medical providers detect any signs of HIE or distress. If a medical provider identifies potential issues, they can take steps to intervene and manage the situation, potentially preventing harm to the mother or the baby.
Delayed delivery can lead to a range of injuries. When the birth process is prolonged, the child may be subjected to more stress and trauma than necessary.
In some cases, a delayed delivery can lead to lifelong health complications due to HIE, or oxygen deprivation. This may leave the child with cerebral palsy or other injuries. In the most severe cases, the child may suffer from brain damage or death as a result.
A prolonged delivery can also lead to injuries such as shoulder dystocia, where the baby's shoulder becomes stuck behind the mother's pelvic bone, potentially causing nerve damage to the baby's shoulder or arm.
A delayed delivery may happen because of the negligence of your medical providers. They may have failed to carry out the right level of monitoring, monitoring that would have identified the need for a timely c-section or forced delivery.
In these cases, the medical provider may be responsible for any injuries caused to the mother or the baby, and you may be able to hold them liable for your or your child's injuries.
Sometimes, delaying the decision to convert a mother to a c-section may lead to the injury of the mother or the child. When it becomes apparent that it is necessary, the conversion to c-section should be carried out in a timely manner.
It may become necessary to convert to c-section if complications arise during the pregnancy or labor process. A prolonged labor or breech situation are both reasons why a c-section may become necessary. In these situations, it may be the safer option for the health of the child to convert to a c-section.
For the baby, a delay in converting to a c-section can lead to injuries such as hypoxia, cerebral palsy, and other brain injuries.
In some cases, a delay in performing a c-section can be due to medical negligence, such as a medical provider's failure to recognize signs of fetal distress or to perform the procedure in a timely manner.
Negligent Vacuum Use
Assisted delivery with the use of a vacuum is a procedure that may be used when the mother needs assistance with the birth. The vacuum connects to the child's head and pulls them through the birth canal. While this may be necessary, it comes with a number of risks and is not a decision to be made lightly.
When done incorrectly, the baby may suffer from cerebral hemorrhage or hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), all of which may lead to long-term developmental delays, cognitive impairments, or even death as a result of the brain damage.
When a medical provider uses a vacuum extractor improperly, it may constitute medical negligence.
HIE, or Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy, is the medical term used for oxygen deprivation to the brain. The brain is different from much of the rest of the body in that it cannot repair itself after damage. Just like the spine, brain damage is usually permanent.
This is one reason why a failure to monitor the child sufficiently during the birthing process constitutes as medical malpractice as HIE can be detected during pregnancy with the correct monitoring, making it essential that your provider regularly carries out checks.
The Most Common Birth Injuries
Here are some of the most common types of birth injuries that could be due to medical malpractice:
- Cerebral Palsy - Cerebral palsy is a type of neurological disorder that can affect movement, motility, and posture. It is usually caused by brain damage that occurs during the labor or delivery, usually when there is a lack of oxygen to the baby's brain. Medical malpractice can cause cerebral palsy when your medical provider fails to monitor your baby's condition or provide appropriate care during labor and delivery.
- Erb's Palsy - This is a condition that can leave your child with a lack of mobility in the shoulder or arm. In some cases it can leave the child with paralysis in the arm or shoulder. It is often caused by nerve damage from too much trauma during the pregnancy or delivery. It is a common injury when a baby's shoulder becomes stuck behind the mother's pelvic bone. Medical malpractice can cause Erb's Palsy when a healthcare provider fails to recognize and manage shoulder dystocia or uses excessive force during delivery.
- Brachial Plexus Injury - At the top of the arm is a special branch of nerves that are used to control the movement of the hands and arm, this is called the brachial plexus. Injury of the brachial plexus can often occur during a difficult delivery, causing weakness or paralysis of the arm or hand. Medical malpractice can cause a brachial plexus injury when your medical provider has used excessive force during delivery.
- Facial Nerve Injury - Sometimes damage can occur to the nerves in the baby's face. This can leave the child with temporary or permanent paralysis in the facial muscles. This may make it difficult for your child to open or close their eyes or move their eyebrows. This is a common injury, and often the damage repairs quickly, but in more serious cases, the damage may be permanent. If your medical provider applied too much force during the devilry, they might have acted negligently if your child has suffered from nerve damage like this.
The Duty of Care Owed to Patients
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical provider acts negligently and causes injury to the patients they owe a duty of care. All medical providers assume this duty of care to their patients, and this duty demands that they follow standard medical practices and act with all due care and attention.
In legal terms, they must have breached their duty of care by acting in an unreasonable manner and this is where your attorney will come in. By looking at your medical records and discussing your case with a medical expert, they will be able to determine if your medical provider did, in fact, act negligently.
If they can do so, your medical malpractice claim will be a strong one.
Birth Injury FAQ
What is birth injury medical malpractice?
Birth injury malpractice occurs when the medical providers that owe you and your child a duty of care, a duty to act in a way to prevent you from suffering preventable injuries, act unreasonably and cause either you or your child harm.
If you or your child have suffered from injuries that were most likely preventable, it may qualify as medical malpractice.
How do I know if my child's birth injury was due to medical malpractice?
The best way to know if your child's injuries were down to malpractice is to discuss your case with an attorney. They will arrange a free initial consultation where they can ask some important questions and evaluate your case. From this meeting, they should be able to tell you if the injuries were in fact caused by medical malpractice or not.
What compensation can I receive for a birth injury medical malpractice case?
This will depend upon your case but in a successful medical malpractice lawsuit, you will be awarded your economic damages, such as lost wages and medical expenses, and may be awarded your non-economic damages, which includes compensation for the pain and suffering you and your child have been through and any loss of enjoyment of life.
How long do I have to file a birth injury medical malpractice case?
Every state has a statute of limitations for filing a birth injury medical malpractice case. This time limit is designed to prevent people from suing when too many years have passed.
Birth injuries are bound by the same limits as medical malpractice cases. This means you will have three years from the date of your birth, or if the injuries have been discovered at a later period, three years from the date they were discovered. In this case, however, the period cannot be five years later than the date of birth.
What should I look for in a birth injury medical malpractice attorney?
When choosing a birth injury medical malpractice attorney, it is essential to look for someone with experience in handling these types of cases. They should have a track record of success, the resources to conduct a thorough investigation, and the ability to communicate with medical experts. They should also have the compassion and understanding to work closely with you and your family throughout the legal process.
Our Goal as Birth Injury Lawyers - To Provide The Opportunity for all Victims to Pursue Their Case With Confidence
Watching your child suffer from a birth injury can be an extremely traumatic experience. You may be experiencing a lot of distress, and mental trauma, and the practical aspect of caring for your child may need to be addressed. This can leave parents facing financial problems if they cannot afford to take time off work or pay expensive medical bills.
Thankfully, if your case is successful you should be able to recover all of your damages and your child should be compensated for the pain and suffering they have been through at the hands of your negligent provider.
We understand how you are feeling, and we understand the financial strain you may be under. For this reason, we work on a no-win-no-fee basis where we are only paid if we win your case. There are no upfront costs and there are no fees to pay if you lose your case. If we win, we simply take a flat percentage of your settlement.
It all begins with a free consultation and case evaluation. This meeting allows you to ask the questions you need to ask and gives us the chance to look at your case. If we think it is worth pursuing and you are willing to proceed, we will waste no time.
Call us today to discuss your case with a skilled birth injury medical malpractice attorney from Peter Angelos Law at 410-705-2405.