- What is Labor and Delivery Negligence?
- How Common Are Birth Injuries?
- Reasons for Injury During Labor and Delivery
- Injuries From Negligence During Labor and Delivery
- Malpractice Damages You Can Recover After Labor and Delivery Negligence
- How Our Birth Injury Attorneys Can Help You
- Our Birth Injury Lawyers at Nessler & Associates Are Here to Help
Injury to a baby during delivery can be particularly hurtful for a family. The death of an infant or the mother during labor can leave a family inconsolable. Medical errors are a real possibility during childbirth when healthcare professionals do not provide the proper standard of care.
If your newborn baby sustains a preventable injury at the hands of negligent medical professionals, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Nessler & Associates can help you recover compensation for all losses and costs that result from third-party negligence.
What is Labor and Delivery Negligence?
When a woman enters a hospital to give birth, the expectant mother places her trust in the staff. Labor and delivery come with a demanding level of care that the obstetricians, nurses, and other medical personnel have a task to uphold. If there is a breach of this trust, complications and injuries can result for the mother and child.
Labor and delivery negligence is a type of medical malpractice where a negative outcome results from medical mistakes.
How Common Are Birth Injuries?
Medical science is constantly evolving, and many advancements carry over to newborn delivery. However, while infant mortality is less likely than in the past, with 5.6 deaths occurring per 1,000 live births, negligence still contributes to thousands of injuries annually.
For example, 3.3 out of every 1,000 newborns exhibit cerebral palsy, with many of those cases resulting from medical malpractice. Brachial plexus injuries occur in 2.5 per 1,000 live births, and skeletal injuries can happen in up to 15 per 1,000 live births, most from improper care.
While it is difficult to make an accurate overall birth injury estimate, it is apparent that the birthing process produces a significant number of negative outcomes due to negligence. Some injuries do not receive a prompt diagnosis to count toward malpractice, and others may be passed off as congenital.
However, when adding up the number of babies affected by different types of medical mistakes, the probability of labor and delivery injury is too high for parents to overlook.
Reasons for Injury During Labor and Delivery
Expectant parents who know the potential causes of labor and delivery injuries are more likely to pinpoint medical errors and pursue legal action. Common reasons that contribute to injuries during birth include:
Following unproven methods
Obstetricians who follow unproven or untested methods can put a mother and her baby at risk. Practices like placentophagy, or eating of the placenta during pregnancy, and lotus birth, where the umbilical cord is left intact, can cause infection and other serious complications.
Medication mistakes include administering incorrect dosages of drugs or inaccurate use of labor-inducing medications like Pitocin. Drug reactions such as allergies can complicate labor and even put the mother’s and baby’s lives at risk.
Studies show that anesthesia errors occurring during medical procedures are under-reported, making it challenging to convey the degree to which they contribute to injuries. Improper anesthesia administration can result in relatively milder symptoms such as dizziness and blurred vision to serious conditions such as brain damage and heart problems.
Using excessive force
Mechanical trauma results from applying excessive pressure during birth. Excessive force can cause permanent damage to a baby, which can affect its life. The resulting injuries will also burden the family since extra care will be necessary for the new family member throughout their life.
Failing to monitor mother and child
Failure to monitor occurs when a medical professional negligently monitors the mother’s and baby’s health during childbirth. Monitoring a baby’s health usually involves electronic fetal monitoring (EFM), which reports fetal heart rate.
Failing to perform a timely C-section
Doctors can often decide to perform a C-section if complications arise during the birthing process. If the medical team doesn’t move to perform a C-section promptly, the baby can incur cerebral palsy and brain damage.
Condition of doctor or nurse
Expecting the doctors and nurses delivering your baby to be sober and without distractions might seem self-evident. However, there have been cases where obstetricians or other critical medical staff were caught intoxicated or otherwise incapable of properly delivering a baby.
Injuries From Negligence During Labor and Delivery
Infants and their mothers are very vulnerable during childbirth. The smallest instances of medical negligence can affect the delivery process, often resulting in devastating injuries.
Birth asphyxia is when a baby experiences a lack of oxygen during birth and is the most common cause of brain damage in infants. Failure to recognize this sign of fetal distress can lead to ischemic encephalopathy, a severe form of brain damage.
Brachial plexus injury
Excessively stretching a baby’s neck to one side during childbirth can lead to brachial plexus injury. The condition can affect a child’s mobility as nerves suffer damage which may not be apparent until a doctor closely examines the baby.
Erb’s palsy is a similar condition involving nerve damage that results from injuring the baby’s shoulder during birth.
Cerebral palsy is a condition for which there is currently no cure. It entails a loss of muscle control in a child and can occur due to negligently interrupting the baby’s oxygen supply. Most cases are congenital, but a significant portion of total cases surface from medical negligence.
Spinal cord injuries
Neonatal spinal cord injury can be catastrophic and occurs when a baby suffers trauma due to a difficult delivery. This type of injury can result from excessive twisting or rotation during the baby’s journey through the birth canal.
Broken bones and skull fractures
Babies’ bones are very brittle and soft in their early days. However, the slightest excessive force can cause fractures. A 2020 study shows an incidence of 2.9 fracture incidents per 1,000 live births.
Maternal sepsis is a potentially life-threatening infection that occurs after childbirth. Scientists have linked sepsis during childbirth to a higher likelihood of complications during delivery. Failure to detect a maternal infection can put the mother’s life at risk.
Other types of injuries
Untreated infections, blood pressure issues, and maternal hemorrhage (blood loss) can affect the baby and its mother. Obstetricians and other medical professionals monitoring your baby’s delivery need to be vigilant in preventing any negative outcomes that can arise during labor.
Malpractice Damages You Can Recover After Labor and Delivery Negligence
If a negligent doctor or nurse harms your baby, its mother, or both, you are entitled to restitution for this disturbing event. As a victim of medical malpractice, you can recover past and future medical expenses that relate to your case. You can also claim loss of wages for time off work caring for your child.
You can claim costs for future rehabilitation and special education for your child. Furthermore, dealing with the aftermath of a birth injury will require compensation for the loss of a normal life.
Other non-economic damages you can recover include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and punitive damages in the case that the obstetrician or nurse committed blatant negligence.
Finally, if the healthcare providers who breached their duty of care cause the baby’s or the mother’s death, a birth injury lawyer can help you claim damages for wrongful death.
How Our Birth Injury Attorneys Can Help You
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Nessler & Associates can ensure you file a birth injury claim within any statute of limitations requirements under state law. In cases where a birth injury takes longer to appear, your case may extend the statute of limitations to cover your child’s specific injury.
Consulting with our lawyers ensures your legal action proceeds on time and receives the attention it deserves to maximize the compensation you recover.
Our legal team also helps investigate your case thoroughly so that every aspect comes to light and every responsible party is uncovered and held accountable for their negligent actions.
Our Birth Injury Lawyers at Nessler & Associates Are Here to Help
At Nessler & Associates, we understand how devastating a birth injury can be for families. We will work hard to help you return to a normal life and provide your child with the best prospects possible for its future.
We work with you on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t have to worry about our legal fees. Our firm doesn’t receive payment unless we win your medical malpractice lawsuit.
Contact our law firm today at (800) 727-8010 for a confidential consultation and let us help you hold the hospital, doctors, and any other at-fault parties responsible for your baby’s suffering.