Sometimes babies suffer birth injuries which are related solely to the birthing process. But other birth injuries can be the result of negligence or medical malpractice. When healthcare providers fail to recognize changes in babies’ heart rates, use excessive force during delivery, or neglect to perform Cesarean sections (C-sections), they may be responsible for birth injuries.
If your child’s birth injury was caused by a healthcare provider’s mistake, a lawsuit may be brought for your child’s past and future medical expenses, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering. The Connecticut medical malpractice lawyers at Carter Mario Injury Lawyers want to help with your claim.
Types of Birth Injuries
There are numerous preventable birth injuries that may occur during childbirth. The most serious are those that affect a baby’s brain. Sometimes, birth trauma can be so severe that it results in irreversible brain damage.
Common birth injuries may include:
- Lack of oxygen
A lack of oxygen can result in brain damage, and is often caused by complications such as the placenta separating from the uterine wall too early, the umbilical cord wrapping around the baby’s neck (nuchal cord), or a labor that takes too long.
Another injury that may result in birth-related brain injury is infection. This complication can be the result of ruptured membranes, delayed labor after water breaks, or an untreated or unrecognized infection in the mother.
Babies can also suffer birth-related brain injuries from trauma. For example, the improper use and force of forceps or a vacuum extractor used in the delivery are often responsible.
The Connecticut medical malpractice attorneys at our law firm can help you prepare a claim if your child’s injury is the result of medical malpractice. And if we believe that your doctor, midwife, or nurses may have been negligent, we’ll meet with you and do everything we can to determine if the standard of care was met during your pregnancy or delivery.
What Caused Your Child’s Birth Injury?
Signs and symptoms of birth injuries may not be noticeable for months or even longer after your child is born. Parents may think the cause of their child’s injury is genetic when, in fact, the cause is malpractice.
Birth injuries are sometimes caused by medical malpractice when healthcare providers:
- Failure to recognize or properly respond to fetal distress or changes on the fetal monitor in a timely manner
- Fail to act on changes in the mother’s or baby’s condition during pregnancy
- Fail to attach a fetal monitor
- Fail to perform a C-section in a timely manner
- Fail to recognize that the umbilical cord is twisted, crimped, or compressed
- Fail to stop labor with ruptured membranes (after more than 24 hours)
- Fail to test after prolonged pregnancy (41 weeks+)
- Improperly monitor the mother and baby in the prenatal period
- Misuse a vacuum extractor or forceps
- Misuse the labor-stimulating drug Pitocin
- Provide poor resuscitation and newborn care after birth
Cerebral Palsy (CP) is the term used to describe the group of non-progressive, non-contagious motor conditions that cause physical disability in children. Many experts agree cerebral palsy is not genetic and can often be prevented. Sometimes CP is apparent at birth, and sometimes it becomes more evident as the child grows but fails to meet developmental milestones.
Some of the causes of cerebral palsy include:
- Asphyxia (suffocation or strangulation) before birth by the umbilical cord (sometimes called a “nuchal cord”)
- Hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) to the brain
- Trauma during labor and delivery
The cerebral palsy malpractice lawyers at Carter Mario Injury Lawyers know the children who are diagnosed with CP, as well as their parents, face a lifelong, multi-dimensional healthcare management process that is extremely expensive. We know because we’ve seen cases like your child’s case.
The reason some experts agree cerebral palsy is preventable is because the actions obstetricians/gynecologists make (or don’t make) can be directly linked to this condition, including but not limited to:
- Failure to properly monitor the mother during pregnancy
- Failure to recommend a C-section quickly enough during labor and delivery
- Trauma during delivery that could have been prevented
Erb’s palsy—also called Erb-Duchenne paralysis, Klumpke paralysis, and brachial plexus injury (BPI)—is paralysis or weakness of the arm caused when the nerves around the shoulder are stretched or damaged during birth. This injury is more commonly associated with shoulder dystocia during a vaginal delivery. The injury occurs when the baby’s head and neck are pulled to the side when the shoulders pass through the birth canal.
Erb’s palsy also occurs in deliveries with a head-first presentation when there is excessive pulling on the shoulders, as well as in breech deliveries where pressure is applied to the baby’s arms.
The medical malpractice attorneys at Carter Mario Injury Lawyers know the serious complications and expensive medical bills ahead for the parents of a child with Erb’s Palsy.
Some experts believe this paralyzing birth injury is preventable. Some of the common causes of Erb’s Palsy include:
- Failure of the obstetrician to recommend a C-Section when the baby presents in the breech position or with shoulder dystocia.
- Excessive pulling on the baby’s head and neck during delivery.
- Delivery of a large baby.
- Difficulty delivering the baby when the head has come out and the shoulder is stuck.
- Failure to reposition the mother during delivery using the McRoberts maneuver.
- Failure to reposition the baby during delivery using the Woods’ screw maneuver.
Because this type of brachial plexus injury occurs at birth during delivery, it is usually evident right away that your baby has some paralysis or weakness of the arms. However, the extent of the injury may not be known for weeks or even months. The medical malpractice attorneys at Carter Mario urge you to seek the advice of a medical doctor if you suspect something may be wrong.
Don’t Wait to Get Legal Help
If your child has an injury or condition that you think was caused during birth, don’t wait to contact our Connecticut medical malpractice attorneys. There is generally a two-year statute of limitations—or time limit—for bringing these lawsuits on behalf of a child, even when the full extent of the injury is not yet known. If the state of Connecticut is involved (UConn for example), the statute of limitations can be as short as one year.
Don’t hesitate. Call now at (800) 900-6700. We’re available around the clock, and your initial consultation is always free.