Difficult Labor and Birth Injury
When labor and delivery complications arise, it's more likely that healthcare professionals will make mistakes and that infants will suffer a traumatic birth injury. Experts estimate that about seven in every 1,000 newborns suffer a birth injury each year in the U.S.
While some birth injuries are treatable and won't seriously affect an infant's quality of life, in the most severe cases, injured infants will need lifelong support even for the simplest tasks (such as breathing, eating and moving around).
Newborns who have suffered a birth injury (and their families) will be entitled to a settlement by pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the medical professional responsible for the injury.
Types of Birth Injuries
Common types of birth injuries include:
- Autism : Affecting about 4 in every 1,000 newborns, autism is a neuro-developmental condition that impairs an individual's communication and social skills. It is also typically marked by repetitive behaviors.
- Brachial plexus injury : Also known as Erb's palsy, brachial plexus injury causes loss of sensation and function in the shoulder(s), arm(s) and/or hand(s). Brachial plexus injury occurs when a neck injury occurs during the labor or delivery process.
- Cerebral palsy : Affecting over 500,000 children in the U.S., cerebral palsy is an irreversible neurological disorder that impairs movement, coordination, speech and thought.
Severe cases of any of the above birth injuries will require lifelong treatment, which may include (but aren't limited to):
- assistive technologies, such as voice-activated computer programs
- physical and/or occupational therapies
- support groups and counseling (to deal with the mental and emotional repercussions of incurable birth injuries)
- various medications
- live in caretakers
Medical Mistakes that Cause Birth Injury
In most cases, medical mistakes are most likely to occur when:
- Healthcare staff aren't properly trained
- There aren't an adequate number of doctors and/or nurses staffed at a hospital
- Other labor complications arise (This can include breech birth, premature birth, low birth weight and/or multiple births)
Birth injuries typically occur when one (or more) of the following medical mistakes has been made:
- delayed C-sections when labor complications arise
- excessive use of vacuum extraction
- improper use of forceps.
Additionally, doctors' and nurses' failure to detect and treat the following problems during labor may also result in birth injury:
- an infant's lack of oxygen
- changes in fetal heart rate
- exposure to toxins (such as lead or mercury)
- newborn meningitis and/or jaundice
- maternal infections (including syphilis, measles or chicken pox)
- maternal signs of distress (such as high blood pressure, blood poisoning or elevated heart rates)
- prolapsed cord (a condition in which the umbilical cord wraps around a baby's neck and cuts off his air supply)
- seizures in a baby (can also occur in the pregnant mother)
Compensation for Birth Injuries: Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Infants who have suffered a birth injury (and their families) can find out more about their legal rights by meeting with an experienced medical malpractice attorney for a free initial consultation.
During this meeting, prospective plaintiffs can:
- Find out if they are entitled to a settlement
- Learn more about the process of pursuing a birth injury lawsuit
- Get advice regarding whether an individual suit or a class action case is more appropriate for their needs and circumstances
To encourage injured parties to stand up for their legal rights, malpractice attorneys will delay payment for their services until or unless a settlement or court award is recovered.
Has your child suffered a birth injury? If so, contact us today to talk to an experienced birth injury lawyer who can thoroughly evaluate your case and help you recover compensation to help cover the costs of your child’s injury.
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