Birth Injury Malpractice

birth injury The worst type of medical malpractice is the kind that affects our children. Pregnancy is a stressful time for mothers- and fathers-to-be, and that stress is multiplied when something goes wrong and a child is born with life-changing disabilities. Parents must come to terms with their child’s disabilities, figure out how to provide the best care possible (often with limited financial means), and plan for that child’s future well beyond age 18. The rigors of daily life leave little time to search for answers to questions about whether the doctors did what they were supposed to do during the pregnancy and delivery. If a doctor believes he was negligent, he won’t typically come right out and tell the parents.

The reality of these serious disabilities is that they cost money. Very few of us have the means to care for a catastrophically injured child. Even if we can manage the day-to-day, it will not be the best care, which requires expert pediatric neurologists, adaptive technologies, frequent occupational and speech therapies, and cutting-edge surgeries. Even if we can manage the day-to-day, it probably won’t be enough to care for the child into her fifties, sixties and seventies. When the day comes that parents can no longer take care of their child, they should not worry that their child will be handed off to an institution. With one phone call, you can get your questions answered, and maybe begin a process that will allow your child to have the best care possible. You don’t have to do this alone.

Some of the medical malpractice birth injury cases that we’ve handled around the country include:

Cerebral Palsy

Even though many signs of cerebral palsy have to do with a child’s motor system, it is really a collection of neurological injuries. Those injuries manifest themselves as poor head control, insufficient sucking reflex, and extremely stiff or limp limbs, often with contractures in the joints and muscles. As children with cerebral palsy grow, they may have difficulty walking, learning, hearing and seeing. Eating oftentimes remains difficult throughout their lives, and in the most severe cases children will require gastric feeding tubes (G-tubes) implanted directly into their stomachs to ensure adequate nutrition. Children with cerebral palsy may require assistance throughout their lives, and often never become independent. Despite their challenges, they can be happy and can accomplish great things when afforded the opportunity. Surgeries will help to make their limbs flexible, allowing them better control over their limbs. Adaptive technologies can give them a voice. Home, transportation and wheelchair modifications can give them mobility.

When cerebral palsy is caused by a healthcare provider’s malpractice, it is usually because that provider did not recognize a dangerous problem during the labor and delivery process. Modern technology has given doctors the ability to listen to the baby’s heart rate while inside the womb. If the baby is in trouble, whether because of lack of oxygen or low blood flow, the heart rate will usually tell the story. If the doctors are there to listen, they should begin a series of maneuvers to fix the problem, culminating in a cesarean section if necessary.

Preeclampsia/HELLP Syndrome

Preeclampsia is essentially a mother’s dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy. Doctors and health care providers must be attentive to their patients–preeclampsia must be timely observed and treated, otherwise both the mother’s and baby’s lives are at risk. Failure to treat preeclampsia could result in:

  • Placental separation
  • Maternal seizures
  • Premature labor and delivery, which can be extremely harmful if the baby is not yet to term and cannot be delivered
  • HELLP Syndrome

When preeclampsia is left untreated, it can develop into HELLP Syndrome ( H emolysis- E levated Liver enzymes- L ow P latelet count). HELLP Syndrome involves numerous symptoms. If the obstetrician is not paying attention, HELLP can be misdiagnosed as flu, lupus, gallbladder disease, or other viruses. Because of the high dangers, the solution to HELLP Syndrome is often to deliver the child, even if she is premature. These risks make it even more crucial for physicians to diagnose and treat preeclampsia before it escalates.

Developmental Delays

Developmental delays sometimes go hand-in-hand with cerebral palsy, though babies might have learning delays without the presence of cerebral palsy. Lack of oxygen to the brain has consequences for a child’s physical and mental abilities. These delays manifest themselves when the child cannot meet expected milestones for babbling, crawling, walking, and talking.

Stillbirth

A baby’s death while in the womb can be caused by a number of things, many of which doctors know to be on the look out for: problems with the umbilical cord, lack of oxygen or blood flow, gestational diabetes, placental abruption, preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome, to name a few. The motivating factor for parents to bring these claims is to ensure that the negligent doctor, hospital or midwife never makes such a costly mistake again. These lawsuits educate the medical community about the proper standards of care during pregnancy, labor and delivery. These claims save lives.

Brachial Plexus/Shoulder Dystocia/Erbs Palsy

These are all terms for injuries to the nerves that operate muscles in the shoulders, arms or hands. These nerve injuries sometimes occur during vaginal deliveries when the baby has difficulty exiting the birthing canal. When the baby gets stuck, the doctor must act quickly, otherwise the baby is at risk for injuries like cerebral palsy because of lack of oxygen. Doctors are specially trained in specific maneuvers to accomplish these deliveries. However, done the wrong way, doctors can exacerbate the problem, and tear nerves that cannot be repaired. Because of these injuries, a child may be partially or completely paralyzed in the shoulders, arms or hands. Contact us

We have handled numerous birth injury cases, including doctor malpractice, hospital malpractice and midwife malpractice. Our clients have included the parents of children born with cerebral palsy, developmental delays, and even stillborn children. We can’t guarantee that you have a medical malpractice case. We can guarantee that it is better to know if your healthcare providers did the best they could for your child. Contact us at (410) 252-0600, or use our online form for a free discussion.