Forms Of Malpractice That Frequently Cause Birth Injuries
Occasionally, some doctors fail to follow the accepted best practices of their fields. Even top doctors who normally work responsibly are capable of temporary lapses in judgment. When one of these mistakes directly causes an injury, that doctor may be held liable for medical malpractice.
Common medical mistakes during pregnancy, labor, and delivery include:
- Improper usage of forceps or vacuum extractors during delivery
- Failure to order a medically necessary c-section, or ordering one too late
- Failure to diagnose and treat maternal health conditions, such as infections
- Failure to diagnose and treat fetal health conditions or fetal distress
- Prescribing medication which harms the developing fetus or the mother
- Misdiagnosis of labor complications
These are just a few of the most common causes of preventable birth injuries. In order to determine if your infant’s injury was caused by malpractice, it’s often necessary to consult with a birth injury law firm with strong contacts in the medical community.
Common Serious Injuries
There are approximately 28,000 birth injuries every year in the US, at an injury rate of about 6 per 1,000 births. Birth injury severity varies, from relatively minor bruising that could heal within a few days, to permanent conditions like cerebral palsy and brain damage. Many of the more severe injuries could be prevented with more careful medical practices.
Cerebral palsy has a few different causes, which can be either genetic or caused by a brain injury before, during, or shortly after delivery. This condition causes impairments in muscle movement, coordination, motor skills, speech, and cognitive development. While there is no cure, the condition can be treated with access to physical and speech therapies, drugs, and occasionally surgery.
The costs of raising a child with cerebral palsy can reach upwards of $1 million over that child’s lifetime. When a child develops cerebral palsy because of medical errors, it’s important that these families recover financial compensation in order to keep up with new expenses and provide a comfortable life for their children.
Erb’s palsy is a birth injury involving damage to the brachial plexus nerve network. This condition often occurs during difficult childbirths, especially when the infant’s shoulders are obstructed after the head has already been delivered. Symptoms of Erb’s palsy in include:
- Weakness, numbness, or loss of movement in one arm
- Loss of movement in shoulder
- One arm bent inward
- Weak grip
Many cases of Erb’s palsy could have been avoided if a physician had taken preventative measures to account for a difficult childbirth, such as ordering a necessary c-section.
Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
HIE is a serious form of infant brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation to a developing infant’s brain. This can lead to a variety of debilitating conditions for a child, including:
- Cognitive delays and developmental disorders
- Impaired motor skills
- Cerebral palsy
- Epilepsy and seizures
- Hearing and vision impairments
It’s important for doctors to regularly monitor the health of both the mother and developing fetus in order to promptly identify and address issues which could cause HIE. Unfortunately, some cases of HIE could have been prevented if a medical professional had discovered and treated a related condition in time.
Birth defects can be caused in several different ways. Some cases involve genetics and chromosomal changes, while others are influenced by external factors like pollution or a harmful pharmaceutical drug. In some cases which involve these external factors, families affected by birth defects may have the option to file a lawsuit against those responsible for their child’s birth defect.
For example, hundreds of women have sued pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline over the anti-nausea drug Zofran. The drug was frequently prescribed to pregnant women for the treatment of morning sickness, but recent studies have uncovered a link between the drug and birth defects like heart defects and cleft palates.
Infant Wrongful Death
The infant mortality rate has dropped throughout the history of the US, but it is still higher than many other developed nations. Far too many parents still undergo the unimaginable grief of losing a child just as they’re entering the world. Some of these cases arise out of unpreventable complications, but others are directly caused by medical mistakes.
Losing an infant has serious emotional and financial consequences for families. Fortunately, wrongful death lawsuits can help provide financial compensation for these damages and help demand accountability from negligent medical professionals.
When To Consider A Lawsuit
If you suspect that your child’s birth injury or birth defect was preventable and occurred due to negligence, it’s important to explore your options. It’s usually necessary to have the details of your case reviewed by an experienced birth injury lawyer. A resourceful lawyer can work with medical experts to help you determine if you have the medical evidence necessary for a claim and represent you through all aspects of the legal process.
At Lipsig Law, we’d be happy to hear about your family’s situation in a free, no-obligation consultation. This way, we can help you determine the best plan for your family without worrying about additional expenses. Additionally, we only require payment if and when we help you secure financial compensation.