Birth injuries are tragic events that can have long-lasting effects on both the injured child and their parents. In the United States, about 28,000 children experience an injury at birth every year. Many of these injuries, however, are entirely preventable.
When a birth injury is caused by negligent or improper care on the part of a doctor or other medical professional, the parents may have cause to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Types of birth injuries
Let’s start with the kinds of injuries that can happen during birth. Some are natural risks of the birthing process, while others stem from improper medical care. Here are several of the more common types of injuries at birth:
- Brachial (Erbs) palsy happens when the group of nerves that supplies the arms and hands is injured. As a result, the baby loses the ability to flex and rotate the arm, sometimes permanently.
- Brain damage may result from a lack of oxygen to the brain, physical head injuries while exiting the birth canal, and other causes.
- Cerebral palsy can result from brain damage during pregnancy. It can also result from an injury at birth.
- Skull fractures can occur from an especially traumatic birth.
- Spinal cord injuries can be caused by a doctor straining the baby’s neck during delivery.
When is a doctor at fault?
Because the natural birth process is often overwhelming, understanding a medical professional’s role in birth injuries can be a challenge. Medical malpractice usually takes several forms:
- Negligence can occur if medical professionals fail to monitor the pregnancy or birth adequately, or if they fail to respond to the mother’s needs.
- Prolonged labor can cause numerous injuries at birth. While it can be caused naturally, medical professionals can be liable if they make poor decisions while managing the birth.
- The use of forceps or vacuum extraction can cause birth injuries if they’re improperly used.
Prerequisites for a medical malpractice case
In order for a medical malpractice lawsuit to succeed, you’ll need to prove the following:
- The existence of a doctor-patient relationship
- The standard of care that was owed under your specific circumstances.
- That the doctor breached that standard of care.
- That an injury occurred.
- That the doctor’s negligence caused or contributed to the injury at birth.
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit
If all the above conditions are met, you may have a strong case for medical malpractice related to your child’s injury at birth. The first step in pursuing that case is to consult with attorneys to determine who will best represent your interests.
A good medical malpractice lawyer will have several years experience and specialize in medical malpractice claims. In addition, you should feel comfortable with their plan to communicate, the resources they have at their disposal, and the team that will be working on your case.
To connect with an attorney at Napoli Shkolnik to discuss your case, click here.