The birth of a newborn should be a joyous time for parents. This happy occasion can quickly turn into a nightmare, however, if the treating or attending physician acts negligently during the birthing process.
If you believe your child has been injured during the birthing process due to medical malpractice, our New York-based team of experienced malpractice attorneys can help. Please call us at 1-888-575-6410 or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation. We will fight for you!
Childbirth Injuries Can Have Devastating Consequences
Childbirth is a natural process that can become complex if the doctor or nursing staff do not act with the appropriate level of care. Both obstetric doctors and nurses are highly trained in childbirth and should be well versed in warning signs and complications to ensure a safe delivery for mother and baby.
Tragically, despite training and expertise, babies are sometimes injured during birth. Approximately 6-8 out of 1,000 babies are born with a birth injury every year in the U.S. Although doctors typically do all they can to protect the mother and baby, mistakes can lead to devastating, life-altering consequences.
Birth injuries are the result of medical malpractice if medical personnel cause an injury to the baby or worsen the effects of a natural injury by acting in a manner inconsistent with established medical practices.
Common Birth Injuries
It is the duty of New York medical personnel present during the birthing process to monitor the status of the mother and child and to act quickly should problems develop. As the birthing process progresses, there are several key stages where injuries may occur if a doctor fails to be vigilant and does not notice signs of distress.
Some potential injuries include:
- Bone fractures
- Caput succedaneum
- Perinatal asphyxia
- Intracranial hemorrhage
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage
- Facial paralysis
- Spinal cord injuries
- Cerebral Palsy
- Brachial Plexus Palsy (Erb’s Palsy)
Cerebral Palsy & Erb’s Palsy
Two major birth injuries our medical malpractice attorneys routinely handle are cases involving Cerebral Palsy and Erb’s Palsy.
Cerebral Palsy is a brain injury that often occurs when, during childbirth, the supply of oxygen to an infant’s brain is reduced. Treating physicians have a responsibility to monitor the baby during birth to ensure that he or she is properly oxygenated. If the baby is not receiving enough oxygen, the doctor must take immediate action to correct the situation. Failing to do so can be grounds for malpractice.
Erb’s/Brachial Plexus Palsy is caused when, after the shoulder becomes stuck (shoulder dystocia) under the mother’s pubic symphysis, the delivering obstetrician instead of using the appropriate maneuvers to safely release that shoulder, instead, exerts an excessive degree of lateral traction on the fetal head thereby damaging the brachial plexus.
Types Of Negligent Actions That Can Lead To Birth Injuries
If medical personnel deviate from accepted medical standards, permanent injuries can occur that may affect the child’s entire life––from infancy through adulthood. Some of the more common acts or omissions that often amount to negligence in birth injury cases include:
- Unduly delaying delivery
- Improperly accelerating delivery
- Improperly using vacuum extractors or forceps
- Overusing labor-related drugs or medicines
- Failing to respond to hemorrhages
- Failing to notice fetal distress
- Failing to notice umbilical cord entrapment
- Failing to anticipate birth complications for large fetuses
- Failing to perform a c-section when necessary
- Failing to perform other emergency procedures to resolve birth complications
The Truth About Undiagnosed Birth Injuries
Sometimes, birth injuries cannot be immediately recognized or diagnosed. It may be months or even years after the birth of your baby before the symptoms become detectable. Many times parents simply chalk these injuries up to genetics rather than a doctor’s negligence. However, in certain cases, the injuries may have been prevented if the medical personnel and doctors were more vigilant and did not act negligently during the birthing process. Parents often have no way of knowing what happened to their child and simply do not know how to begin searching for answers or who to even turn to. If you find yourself in such a situation, contact an experienced birth injury attorney immediately. Your attorney can help you get answers and––if need be––justice.
Proving a Medical Malpractice Birth Injury Claim
In order to prove liability in a New York medical malpractice case, we must prove:
- the standard of care in the locality where the treatment occurred,
- that the health care practitioner breached that standard of care, and
- that the breach of the standard was the proximate cause of injury.
Our birth injury attorneys know what this standard is and will gather all of the evidence you need to prove that it was breached. A breach results when the doctor or medical staff member fails to do something that was required of him or her. This omission violates the standard of care.
Other times, actively doing something (e.g., giving the wrong medication) causes a violation of the standard of care. It is crucial for your personal injury attorney to offer proof indicating that the act or omission was the reason for your baby’s injury.
Remember, for these unique cases, it is not enough to prove that your child was simply injured; instead, your personal injury lawyer will need to show the existence of an injury that happened at the time of the birth.
Who Should You Contact?
Proving birth injuries and/or birth-related medical malpractice is complex. To protect your and your child’s rights, trust the experienced birth injury malpractice attorneys of Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. Call us today at 1-888-575-6410 or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation. We will fight for you!