Medical Malpractice During Childbirth. What About Future Medical Expenses?
Every day in the United States, on average, 76 babies are born with a birth injury. This means that the fetus had developed normally during gestation and had no anomalies until something went wrong during labor, delivery or shortly after delivery.
Some injuries are minor and the baby recovers quickly. Others are severe and cause the baby to suffer pain or disability for a lifetime. Another 134 out of 100,000 babies born die during, or shortly after birth, due to a birth injury.
Sometimes, symptoms of a birth injury are not noticed until later in the development stage, when the child should be learning to walk, talk, interact with others. On occasion, cognitive and developmental delays due to a birth injury are not apparent until the child begins school.
Common Causes of Birth Injuries Related to Medical Malpractice
Not all birth defects are birth injuries or caused by medical malpractice. Sometimes birth defects or injuries exist without negligence.
Medical malpractice causes of birth injuries include:
- Fetal oxygen deprivation during a long labor due to failure to properly monitor fetal oxygen and respiration levels during labor and delivery.
- Fetal oxygen deprivation due to delay in performing a Cesarean section.
- Blunt force trauma to the baby’s head during delivery by the use of forceps or a vacuum extractor.
- Failure to notice the newborn infant inhaled meconium.
- Failure to properly suction the newborn infant who inhaled meconium.
- Failure to diagnose a fetal infection.
Types of Serious Birth Injuries
As unfortunate as it is for a baby to suffer a broken bone during the birthing process, that is an injury that is usually easily correctable, heals quickly, and does not cause a long term life-changing experience. Other types of injuries can alter the life expectancy of the child and change the quality of life forever for not only the baby, but also for his or her parents. Some of those types of injuries include:
- Nerve damage. If this damage it to the face, arms or hands, it will likely be noticeable immediately. When the baby cries, its face will be asymmetrical. Arms will be weak and not move normally. These injuries usually resolve on their own over the first few weeks or months. Spinal damage, which is rare, will not resolve and may leave the child permanently paralyzed.
- Brain damage due to lack of oxygen. Newborns are limp and lifeless. Kidneys, lungs or other organs may be damaged. The baby may have cerebral palsy. Even if the baby is immediately resuscitated, there may be permanent damage.
- Brain damage due to intracranial bleeding. This needs immediate treatment, but may still result in long-term cognitive and developmental delays.
Babies with brain damage often either cry too much or not enough. They may have trouble nursing and some may have seizures. As your baby grows, he or she may not appropriately develop physically or cognitively and have trouble with a short attention span.
A Birth Injury Lawsuit: Proving Your Case and Damages
Proving your health care professional was a cause of your baby’s birth injury is not as easy as you may think. Medical practitioners or facilities rarely acknowledge fault, at least initially. They often make excuses or try to blame the already grieving mother claiming things like: she didn’t get appropriate prenatal care; there were illegal drugs in her system; and even, she didn’t get to the hospital in time.
You need an experienced birth injury attorney who will review the facts of your case and the medical records of both you and your baby. The attorney will know which experts to call in to determine if there was malpractice and to support you in your lawsuit.
It may be that there are several professionals responsible, including the attending nurses, anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist, midwife, as well as physicians and hospital. All those allegedly responsible should be named in the lawsuit.
Our attorneys at the Blumenshine Law Group recognize the damages and parental grief associated with a birth injury or death and delicately work with you to obtain all the compensation to which you are legally entitled.
Legal compensation can include:
- All medical expenses for your child including current ones and all future ones expected due to the injury. This may be for long-term 24/7 care, rehabilitation expenses, in-home nursing care and all medical care that will be necessary throughout the child’s life.
- Costs of special educational expenses due to cognitive delays.
- Compensation for the child’s loss of earning capacity in the future.
You must file your personal injury claim for medical malpractice within a certain amount of time after the incident occurs. Do not let that deadline pass. Contact us as soon as possible.