Birth-Related Injuries

There is perhaps nothing more devastating than a medical injury sustained by a pre-born or newborn child.  A parents’ hopes and dreams live in that precious little baby, and when something happens to him or her, the grief and heartache is unbearable.

Most medical care providers do amazing work, but occasionally a medical care provider will carelessly and inexcusably drop the ball, resulting in catastrophic injury.  The harms and losses you suffer as a result should not go unanswered.

Risks Prior to Delivery

Contrary to common belief, birth injuries do not originate solely at labor and delivery alone.  There are many risk factors and warning signs of potential complications that may appear earlier, during pregnancy.

Your healthcare providers, including your OB-GYN, midwife, and nurse practitioners are obligated to provide you with the highest standard of care. This includes taking the time to recognize and assess the various risks that may present during pregnancy.

The overall health of you and your baby must be monitored on a regular basis. This is particularly true for women who are older, women who have had more than one child, or women who have pre-existing conditions such as thyroid disease or an autoimmune disorder.  It is also important for a medical care provider to take into account any other behavioral or lifestyle factors, such as smoking, alcohol or drug use, use of prescribed pharmaceuticals, stress, physical activity, depression, etc.

Risks for birth injury are significantly increased when indications of a potential labor or delivery complication arise.  These include infection, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and maternal obesity.

Common Birth Injuries:

The two most common birth injuries are cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy.

Cerebral palsy is a result of brain damage, which may be caused during pregnancy, labor or delivery. The condition is typically common in women who suffer maternal infection or in babies born with jaundice. Cerebral palsy may also be caused by oxygen deprivation during delivery. Approximately 500,000 Americans have the condition, which causes permanent physical disabilities and may require a lifetime of special care.

Erb’s palsy is a condition caused by nerve damage around the shoulder, or brachial plexus. This generally occurs during a difficult childbirth and may be related to the forceful removal of a baby from the birth canal. Also known as brachial palsy, Erb’s palsy can cause complete paralysis of the arm that may require surgery to correct.

Other Birth Injuries

In addition to cerebral and Erb’s palsy, other birth injuries, such as brain damage, paralysis, and death, may be caused by various acts of negligence or carelessness.  These acts of negligence can occur at different stages of pregnancy and/or delivery, and they include the following:

During Pregnancy:

  • Failure to properly manage pre-existing conditions such as hypertension and diabetes;
  • Failure to appropriately monitor and record fetal development;

During Labor:

  • Failure to closely monitor the mother’s vitals;
  • Failure to closely monitor the fetal heart rate and other signs of distress;
  • Failure to perform a necessary C-section in a timely manner;

During Delivery:

  • nerve damage;
  • broken bones or damaged tissues;
  • lacerations;
  • deprivation of oxygen;
  • brain damage;

After Birth:

  • failure or delay in diagnosing infection;
  • failure or delay in diagnosing lack of oxygen and/or nutrition;
  • failure or delay in providing necessary medical intervention.

The trial lawyers at Scanlon & Wojton are experienced in litigating medical malpractice cases to victory.  Occasionally, a case is so egregious that a medical care provider will simply offer to compensate a parent for the loss they’ve suffered. More often than not, however, the medical care provider digs in their heels and refuses to acknowledge any responsibility whatsoever.   

Sometimes, there’s nothing that can be done to bring back your precious little angel or to fix their medical condition.  The only form of relief our system of justice affords comes in the form of financial compensation.  If you have a child who has been injured or disabled as a result of medical negligence and will require years of specialized medical care and attention, you should not be the one responsible for paying for those services. The medical team that failed you and your baby should pay for those services.  And if your little one tragically passed away as a result of medical negligence, the medical team should be held to answer for and account for that terrible loss.

Money cannot reverse time or make you and your baby whole, but money can and will send a message to the healthcare providers who carelessly disregarded risks and permitted you and your baby to suffer so greatly.   It is about accountability and sending a message.  Scanlon & Wojton would be honored and privileged to help you deliver that message.

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