The birth of a newborn should be a joyous time for parents. However, this happy occasion can quickly turn into a nightmare if the treating or attending physician acts negligently during the birthing process. Tragically, babies are sometimes injured during birth. Although doctors typically do all they can to protect both the mother and baby, mistakes can lead to devastating, life-altering consequences.
Birth injuries are the result of medical malpractice if medical personnel caused an injury to the baby or worsened the effects of a natural injury by acting in a manner inconsistent with established medical practices. If you believe that your baby was injured during the birth process, contact an experienced NY personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Common Birth Injuries
It is the duty of the 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
- Brain Injuries
- Facial Paralysis or Other Nerve Damage
- Forceps or Vacuum Extractor Injuries
- Umbilical Cord Entrapment
In addition, the following acts or omissions often amount to negligence in birth injury cases:
- Overuse of 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
If medical personnel deviate from accepted medical standards, permanent injuries can occur that may affect the child’s entire life – from infancy through adulthood.
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 child birth, 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.
Similarly, Erb’s/Brachial Plexus Palsy is a mechanical trauma injury caused by physical force on a child’s body during child birth. This palsy affects the network of nerves controlling the arms and hands. In extreme cases, the child may require surgery, or the damage may be permanent. Click here to learn more about Erb’s Palsy
The Truth about Undiagnosed Birth Injuries
Sometimes, birth injuries can not 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. 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.
Case Law Analysis
According to Healy v. Finz & Finz, PC, 82 AD 3d 704 (2011), along with other New York case law, the following is required in order for you to prove your medical malpractice case:
“To establish a prima facie case of liability in a medical malpractice action, a plaintiff must prove (1) the standard of care in the locality where the treatment occurred, (2) that the defendant breached that standard of care, and (3) that the breach of the standard was the proximate cause of injury.” Berger v Becker, 272 AD 2d 565, 565 2000); see Alvarez v Prospect Hosp., 68 NY 2d 320 (1986); see also Nichols v Stamer, 49 AD 3d 832, 833 (2008).
The standard of care is relative to the location where the offending doctor or medical personnel is practicing. 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 failed to do something that was required of them. 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.
With regard to damages, you need concrete proof of the injury to your baby. Without that, you cannot recover for the harms and losses your family has suffered. Typically, you will need medical experts to testify to the fact that your child suffered from a birth injury. Remember, for these unique cases it is not enough to prove that your child was simply injured; your personal injury lawyer will need to show the existence of an injury that happened at the time of the birth.
Proving birth injuries and/or birth-related medical malpractice is complex. To protect your and your child’s rights, you must retain an attorney who is skilled in all relevant New York case law, which can help you get the results you are looking for.
Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C.
If you believe that your child was injured during the birthing process due to medical malpractice, our team of experienced New York malpractice attorneys can help. Call Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. today at 1-877-737-4806 or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation. We will fight for you!