Our experienced lawyers can help you find the support your family deserves.
Birth Injury Advocates: Helping Children & Families Find Justice
We trust doctors everyday to make the right decisions, to use their skills, education and competence to ensure the best possible outcome for their patients. Healthcare professionals are bound, by both common sense and law, to uphold their profession’s standard of care. Receiving adequate medical care during childbirth is especially important.
Expectant parents wait with anticipation and excitement for the arrival of their child. Many of us can think of no greater joy than providing for our children the best, and brightest, future. As a baby’s due date approaches, the future seems nearly limitless.
But every year, tens of thousands of newborns sustain birth injuries during labor and delivery – often due to negligent medical care. Even brief lapses in judgment can have life-long consequences. A failure to communicate properly, or an overzealous tug on an infant’s arm, can leave children facing permanent disability.
Birth Injury Lawyers Can Help.
Birth Injury Lawyers Can Help.
Raising a child with developmental delays, cognitive impairments or a physical disability isn’t easy. Our attorneys have met with hundreds of families, most of whom struggle to cover astronomical medical expenses as they attempt to provide for their children the best possible life. Many of these parents face significant emotional battles themselves.
No matter the child, no matter the parent – each of these families deserves more support.
Our experienced medical negligence attorneys are devoted to protecting the rights of parents, families and, most importantly, children. If your child was injured because of a doctor, nurse or midwife’s negligence, your family may be eligible to receive financial compensation.
The goal is securing an adequate foundation for your child’s future. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, families often win compensation to cover:
- past, present and future medical expenses
- physical and occupational counseling
- mental health counseling and therapy
- in-home care services
- modifications to the home
- assistive technologies
- emotional trauma and hardship
- lost wages
Our goal is to ensure that your child’s future remains bright.
Medical Malpractice & Birth Injuries
From conception to delivery, parents depend on the compassionate, skilled work of trusted medical professionals to safeguard the health of their developing child. It takes a team, from general practitioners and obstetricians to nurses and diagnostic technicians. Every day, doctors and nurses must rely on their experience, education and better judgment to make the right choices for families. Identifying the best treatment options, diagnosing medical conditions properly and intervening during critical emergencies are a must – both for mother and child.
But mistakes can be made.
When physicians, obstetricians and nurses make the wrong choice, or fail to intervene appropriately, infants can sustain severe injuries. Sometimes, these failures to properly administer medical care amount to what attorneys call medical malpractice – and become grounds for a lawsuit.
Medical Negligence: Holding Doctors To A Standard
When a child’s life is on the line, we can expect doctors and other healthcare professionals to uphold a certain standard within their profession. We’re not asking for ideal obstetricians, or the best physician in the world – just reasonable, competent practitioners who don’t unnecessarily harm our kids. But that’s not always who we get.
Medical negligence is what happens when a doctor’s actions – or failures to act – fall below the standard of care, and a child suffers birth injuries. This concept is crucial to every medical malpractice lawsuit, but winning a case is more difficult.
To secure compensation, every family will need to demonstrate three things:
- A healthcare professional owed the child a legal duty of care
- The healthcare professional violated that duty, acting or failing to act in ways that a similarly reasonable, competent professional would not have
- That violation of the standard of care caused the child to suffer harm
Those three requirements may seem simple, but in practice, a birth injury attorney will need extensive knowledge of both law and medicine to ensure a family’s best chances at success.
Perhaps most importantly, the work of expert medical professionals will be critical. Working in tandem with expert witnesses, an experienced birth injury lawyer will come to define the standard of care that should have been followed during labor or delivery – and identify how the practicing physician, nurse or hospital broke that duty of care.
Common Birth Injuries
Birth injuries are surprisingly common, and some infants sustain unavoidable trauma during delivery. In many cases, minor swelling and bruising is to be expected. Even severe injuries aren’t always preventable. But when a child’s injuries could have been prevented, there’s no room for excuses. Children deserve a birth free of unnecessary trauma. But every day, more than 430 mothers and infants suffer birth injuries during labor and delivery. Medical negligence is often the cause, contributing in large part to numerous cases of cerebral palsy, paralysis and even death.
Birth asphyxia – when an infant is deprived of oxygen around the time of delivery – can result in severe brain damage, leading to a host of cognitive, neurological and muscular disorders. Babies can suffer oxygen deprivation for any number of reasons, including trauma during labor and maternal high blood pressure. Cerebral palsy, autism and seizure disorders are often caused by birth asphyxia, which itself may be the result of medical malpractice.
When infants are starved for oxygen during childbirth, the potential for serious brain injuries can be increased by a drop in blood flow. Doctors call this injury hypoxic-ishemic encephalopathy, and the consequences can be devastating for both children and families. After suffering severe birth asphyxia, only 80% of newborns will survive. Those who do often face significant challenges throughout their lives.
Children who are deprived of oxygen during delivery are at great risk of suffering brain damage. Cerebral palsy is one possible result, a disorder that can cause complete paralysis, uncontrollable movements, seizures and cognitive impairment. Cerebral palsy disorders – which can also be caused by a failure to diagnose dangerous maternal infections – may well be the most severe consequence of a birth injury.
Traumatic Brain Damage
Infants don’t need to be deprived of oxygen to suffer severe brain damage during childbirth. In some cases, the improper use of birth-assistive devices can lead to traumatic brain injuries. While blunt force trauma is relatively rare, even during particularly difficult deliveries, serious injuries can leave infants with developmental delays or neuro-muscular disorders like cerebral palsy.
Forceps Or Vacuum Delivery Injuries
During long, challenging deliveries, many doctors turn to assistive technologies, like forceps and vacuum extraction, to speed the process up. But these are delicate tools, and physicians must use extreme care to ensure that injuries do not occur. Along with cuts and bruises, the inappropriate use of birth-assistive devices can lead to significant nerve damage. Mothers can also be injured by these instruments.
After suffering traumatic injuries to the head, some newborns develop a condition called hydrocephalus, in which cerebrospinal fluid begins to build up inside the brain. Without immediate treatment measures, brain damage is the likely result – as an infant’s brain tissue is literally choked by the mounting fluids.
Brachial Plexus Injuries
Injuries to the brachial plexus, a network of nerves that allow for motion in the arms, can lead to total paralysis or permanent weakness. Brachial plexus injuries are most common in cases of shoulder dystocia, when a child’s head emerges from the birth canal but her shoulders remain stuck behind the mother’s pelvis. In these cases, some doctors attempt to pull the child forcefully through the birth canal. While light tugs may not cause life-long disability, excessive force is a leading cause of many palsy disorders.
Erb’s Palsy is a disorder caused by injury to the upper brachial plexus nerves, which control movement and feeling in the shoulder, bicep and elbow. While most infants will recover some motion in their affected arm, others require early surgeries and long-term physical therapy. Many cases of Erb’s Palsy are entirely avoidable – if only a physician had used more care during delivery.
Jaundice & Kernicterus
Jaundice is one of the best-known, and most widely-recognized, medical conditions in newborns – an increase in bile pigments known as bilirubin that can turn a young child’s skin yellow. Parents are often told that jaundice is perfectly normal – no cause for concern. But severe cases of the condition can become kernicterus, a disorder that leads to seizure disorders, neurological impairment and hearing loss if left untreated.
Preeclampsia, an elevation in blood pressure that will affect up to 5% of pregnant women, must be recognized and treated as soon as possible. But the signs and symptoms of this dangerous condition are subtle, making routine diagnostic tests a necessity. Without proper treatment, preeclampsia can cause systemic organ damage, placing unborn children at risk of birth asphyxia and brain trauma.
The loss of a child is life’s greatest tragedy, leaving parents consumed by grief. When newborns die during labor or delivery, the survivors may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Pursuing compensation, which can cover counseling, pain and suffering, will not bring a child back, but it can restore some measure of justice to the world.
When children are injured, and medical negligence is the cause, families deserve a chance to thrive. Medical malpractice is an outrage – a violation of the trust we place in health care professionals every day. Seeking compensation – and justice – in a medical malpractice lawsuit offers hope to many parents and children.