While medical conditions and disabilities that stem from birth are familiar and even somewhat common, it is possible that several cases of those conditions are the result of birth injuries, rather than naturally occurring congenital disabilities.
Instances of medical malpractice during the birthing process that transform a healthy woman or child to an injured one can occur as a result of many types of medical mistakes. Medical negligence can lead to birth injuries or fetal death in both vaginal deliveries and cesarean deliveries. These injuries can also result in the death of the mother giving birth.
Out of every 1,000 infants born in the United States, 6 to 8 of them are born with a birth injury.
It is essential to know what to look out for so that some birth injuries can be prevented, or if they have already occurred, to understand when it was a mistake that could have been avoided with better care.
Parents may be entitled to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in the pursuit of financial compensation to help cover injury-related expenses, long-term care, and having a voice when dealing with pain, suffering, and other types of losses.
There is a Statute of Limitations when it comes to suing for malpractice. The standard deadline in the state of Colorado is two years. If a person does not file a medical malpractice lawsuit within two years after the malpractice occurred, the right to sue for medical malpractice is lost. However, there are a few exceptions to this.
The ten most common birth injuries:
Physical trauma during labor and delivery may also lead to brain damage of the infant and can be caused due to various reasons, including:
1) Excessive Pulling: During birth, if a doctor pulls too hard or in an abnormal way, injuries, including brain damage, can occur.
2) Abnormal Use of Birth-Assisting Tools: Tools such as a vacuum-extraction tool or forceps must be used with experience and caution when delivering an infant. If misused, brain damage, as well as other physical injuries, may occur.
3) Difficulties During Labor: Extended periods of pushing and contractions during long, complicated labor can result in brain damage. This can occur when the baby’s head is knocked and pushed against the mother’s pelvis. Difficulties during labor can be caused by things out of anyone’s control, but that is not always the case. It is possible that difficult labor could be a result of improper care from the doctor.
Brain damage is most often caused by a lack of oxygen that happens during or shortly after the birthing process. This can be avoided by medical professionals by frequent checkups and monitoring during the pregnancy.
When a newborn experiences a lack of oxygen during the birthing process, it is vital for the doctor to act swiftly and promptly to avoid damage to the brain.
The most common reasons infants are deprived of adequate oxygen at birth can come from any of the following:
Umbilical Cord Complications: A twisted or prolapsed umbilical cord can cut off an infant’s oxygen supply at the earliest moment of their lives. In some instances, physicians can make the mistake of cutting the umbilical cord prematurely, cutting off the infant’s oxygen supply before they can start breathing properly on their own. Additionally, if an umbilical cord gets wrapped around an infant’s neck, doctors have only a few critical minutes to unwrap it before the baby is deprived of oxygen.
Birth Canal Problems: When a mother undergoes painful labor, an infant may get stuck in the birth canal. If medical intervention doesn’t happen quickly, the infant risks losing oxygen. Unfortunately, babies who are lodged in the birth canal are also at risk for other injuries, including Erb’s palsy and limb injuries.
Blocked Airways: Mucous can sometimes become lodged in an infant’s lungs, constricting their airways. Again, healthcare providers must act quickly to prevent long-term medical problems.
Placental Eruptions: If the placenta and uterus separate too rapidly, the oxygen supply may be reduced, and the infant may not get the proper amount.
It is essential to understand that birth injuries affect mothers, too. Critical care is equally vital to both the newborn and the mother. It is common for mothers also to have injuries from childbirth that can shape a significant part of their lives. These injuries, fatal or not, are just as much a part of a malpractice suit as the injuries of a newborn.
The physical injuries that affect mothers often result in mental injuries as well, such as PTSD or depression.
Physical injuries include:
Many maternal deaths are preventable, and neglect during childbirth is inexcusable. Many of these birth injuries could mean additional surgeries, therapies, and medications for the mother. This would mean an extra cost to the family, unforeseen expenses, and the possibility that the mother may not be able to immediately nurse and care for the newborn due to the injuries.
Mothers in America are more than three times as likely to die during childbirth than mothers in Canada. Additionally, between 700 and 900 women die every year in the U.S. as a result injuries during pregnancy or childbirth, and another 65,000 experience almost dying.
It is not uncommon for a woman to die during labor from causes that are at fault to no one, however; it is also common for medical malpractice to be the cause of death during labor. This can arise from unnecessary or poorly done surgeries, or accidents made by the doctor that could have been avoided with more attentive care. It is important to understand what factors will help you in your case if filing a maternal death case.
Two Key Factors:
It is vital for the mother and the family involved to know their rights when it comes to medical malpractice. On top of making a case, the next best thing for the mother and her loved ones to find a support system. It is critical to know that the care of the mother is just as necessary as the care of a child, especially during the birthing process.
Dealing with the aftermath of a birth injury can be incredibly overwhelming for all who are involved. The loss of a mother or child can have lasting grief and repercussions for the family.
If you suspect that you, your family, or your child are suffering from a birth injury, the very first step is to seek help for your family. Due to the time sensitivity of some injuries, it is important not to waste time when it comes to treatment or diagnosis.
Once you and your child have been evaluated by a medical professional and confirmed that the injuries at hand came from the birthing process, it is time to do the necessary research to find a law firm that is experienced and successful in handling cases of birth injuries.
At Zaner Harden Law, our team of attorneys has specific experience with birth injury and wrongful death cases. To schedule a private, free consultation with one of our attorneys, please contact us today.