Cerebral palsy is one of the most well-known types of birth injuries. It is usually caused by a restricted or a delayed flow of oxygen to the brain during or after delivery. Other common types of injuries that can occur during birth include shoulder dystocia, brachial plexus injuries, and Erb’s palsy. Seizures, bruising, forcep marks, and facial paralysis can come from nerve damage due to pressure on the baby’s face.
What Types Of Situations Can Give Rise To Birth Injury Lawsuits?
There could be a lawsuit brought about for the failure to promptly perform a caesarian section during labor when there’s been evidence of fetal distress. Misuse of certain agents used during child birth could also give way to a lawsuit. For example, prostaglandin gel helps ripen the cervix, and is sometimes used to help speed up the delivery process if the mother has not delivered and she’s beyond her estimated delivery date. Sometimes the misuse of this gel can result in uterine rupture. Another situation could be the failure to accurately diagnose the size of the baby before delivery, such as if the mother’s pelvis is too small for passage of the baby’s head. That’s where we’ll see the situation of a shoulder dystocia and Erb’s palsy arise.
Sometimes instrumentation that’s necessary for the delivery of the child, such as forceps or vacuum extraction, can be improperly used. Sometimes they can cause hemorrhaging (bleeding) to the infant’s brain or lacerations and scarring. We can also have a failure to monitor blood pressure or insulin levels in the mother which could cause complications of the delivery and then injuries to the child. Failure to respond to the baby’s heartrate during the delivery process, which could show signs of distress and can cause injury to the child if not recognized, would be another situation in which a lawsuit can possibly be filed.
How Common Are Birth Injuries?
The overall incident of birth injuries has declined with improvements in obstetrical care and prenatal diagnoses. The reported incidence of birth injuries is about 2% for what is referred to as a singleton vaginal delivery. This percentage applies for the babies in the normal cephalic position, but not breach deliveries. The incidence of injury drops a little bit in caesarian deliveries. There, we see an injury rate of a little bit over 1%.
Are People Ever Reluctant To Bring A Birth Injury Claim?
Yes, people are often are reluctant to bring a malpractice claim for birth injuries, and that’s generally because the prenatal care typically runs about 8 months or so and the parents often develop a nice relationship with the delivering healthcare providers during this time. So there is that level of comfort and loyalty that develops overtime with the delivery team; especially if it’s not the parent’s first child. The delivery team might be a practice or a group of physicians or a midwife that they’ve used for prior pregnancies as well. The reluctance is generally due to that close and long-term relationship that is established with prenatal care.
What Steps Should Someone Take If They Have To File A Birth Injury Claim?
If a birth injury is suspected, the first thing the parents should do is discuss it with the baby’s pediatrician. Parents should bring any concerns up right away so that there’s no delay in any kind of potential rectification of the injury or treatment for whatever the concern is. The parents should be sure to seek appropriate consultations from specialists. If they think there is a neurological injury, then they would obviously want to be referred to the pediatric neurologist; if they suspect that there was a fracture from delivery, then they would want the child to be seen by a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.
Parents also want to carefully track the child’s developmental milestones. Sometimes these take time, such as when the baby rolls over, sits up, when the baby can start feeding themselves, etc. Essentially, you want to record when your child is meeting their milestones. Then lastly, if you do suspect that the child had sustained a birth injury, then you would want to contact a law firm that is experienced in handling these types of matters.
How Important Are Evidence And Witnesses In A Birth Injury Claim?
Evidence and witnesses are critical in a birth injury claim. Firsthand witnesses can be critical to the birth injury claim especially in those where it is alleged that there is a delay in performing a C-section, or where there shoulder dystocia or Erb’s palsy due to improper delivery maneuvers that may have been performed by the delivery physicians or nurses. Then, as with any other medical malpractice claim, and a birth injury is no different, qualified medical experts are required under law in order to successfully proceed with the claim.
For more information on Birth Injury Claims In Philadelphia, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (215) 569-1212 today.