What Should I Know About Birth Injuries as a Parent?March 31, 2021
Having a baby is a special moment for any family. However, this special moment can be tarnished when a child sustains an injury during birth. This is especially true if the injury is the result of a doctor’s negligence, termed medical malpractice. Doctors are responsible for ensuring that both the mother and the baby are taken care of during childbirth. They must ensure that they are distributing the right medication and make important decisions regarding the birth process. When a doctor fails to do this, it can lead to a birth injury, which can lead to further complications.
Children injured at birth face a variety of unique challenges throughout their lives. This includes both financial and emotional losses, such as chronic pain and expensive medical bills. This puts a burden on both the child and their family. Families suffering from the effects of a birth injury should contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. A medical malpractice lawyer can help to ensure that the child and their parents are given fair compensation and that negligent doctors are held accountable for the actions or inactions that led to the injury and damages.
What is the Prevalence of Birth Injuries?
Although most parents would like to believe that their doctor is the best for the job, this is not always the case. Although some doctors simply just make mistakes, others breach their duty of care. When a doctor breaches their duty of care, they fail to take the reasonable precautions to prevent an injury from happening. Unfortunately, this problem is more common than one might assume. In fact, eight out of 1,000 babies born suffer from a birth injury.
Types of birth injuries include the following:
- Brain damage: A baby may suffer from brain damage during delivery as a result of either oxygen deprivation or low blood flow. The most common way a baby suffers from oxygen deprivation is through the umbilical cord being wrapped around their neck. It is the doctor’s responsibility to identify and correct this problem before brain damage occurs. The doctor is also responsible for ensuring that both the mother and the baby’s vital signs are stable during childbirth.
- Brachial palsy injuries: During childbirth, it is often difficult getting the baby’s shoulders through the birth canal. Because of this challenge, many doctors will attempt to maneuver the baby’s shoulders for an easier delivery. However, if the doctor is not gentle enough, it can lead to brachial palsy injuries, which damages the neck and shoulders.
- Cerebral palsy: Cerebral palsy is not always caused by a birth injury; however, there are instances in which a doctor’s negligence leads to the baby’s oxygen being cut off for too long. This could happen during a rough forceps or hand delivery, where the doctor cuts off the baby’s oxygen. This oxygen deprivation can ultimately cause cerebral palsy, which often leads to lifelong disabilities. Parents should note that many doctors and hospitals fail to take responsibility for a child’s cerebral palsy caused by oxygen deprivation.
- Fractures: A newborn’s bones are naturally fragile. This can put the baby at risk for bone fractures during childbirth. This risk is exacerbated when the baby is being handled roughly by a doctor. A doctor is responsible for treating the baby with care during the delivery process to prevent the possibility of fractures.
Many birth injuries force a child to face a lifetime of medical complications. This can lead to several losses, including expensive medical bills, continuous care, special schooling or tutoring, and adaptive devices for those suffering from paralysis or other disabilities. Many birth injury victims also face non-monetary losses, including chronic pain, limb deformities, and learning disabilities that can make their lives more challenging. Families suffering from the effects of a birth injury should consider taking legal action. Parents who talk to a lawyer have a higher chance of gaining their entitled compensation for financial and emotional losses.
How Do I Know if My Child Sustained a Birth Injury?
Many parents do not know that their child suffered from a birth injury until after the signs have developed over time. They may not know what to look out for or how to respond when they see unusual behavior or physical development. However, parents should note that there are a few signs that indicate that a child is suffering from a birth injury.
One thing that a parent should monitor is their child’s physical development. As children age, they should be meeting certain milestones. This includes rolling over, sitting up, crawling, and eventually walking. If a child is not meeting these milestones, it could indicate that they are victims of a birth injury. They should also be reaching mental milestones, such as making sounds, saying words, and eventually speaking sentences. Parents who believe that their child is not developing properly should talk to a doctor and request a complete medical evaluation.
Another thing parents should know about their child’s health is how their child ranks on the Apgar scoring system. The Apgar scoring system is a guide that looks at the following qualities at birth: appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, and respiration. If a parent believes that their child has a low Apgar score, they should seek another medical professional’s advice.
How can I Prove that Medical Malpractice Led to My Child’s Birth Injuries?
Doctors who help deliver babies have a duty of care to both the mother and their child. This responsibility and their medical expertise mean that doctors have to make reasonable judgments during the childbirth process. They must ensure that their patients’ vitals are stable, distribute the correct dosage of medication, and make decisions in the event of a medical emergency.
Doctors are not immune to making mistakes; however, some doctors fail to take reasonable steps to minimize the risk of injury or death. When a doctor breaches their duty of care, this is considered medical malpractice. Medical professionals must follow a certain set of protocols. Parents may have a case if they can prove that their doctor deviated from this set of protocols.
To prevail in one’s medical malpractice case, the victim and their family must prove that the doctor-patient relationship existed and that the doctor was negligent. A doctor can be negligent in a number of ways. They may fail to identify a medical emergency, properly check vital signs, or provide the correct medicine dosage to their patients. Once the victim has identified the negligence, they must prove that their doctor’s negligence was the cause of the patient’s birth injury. Finally, the family must show the losses they received as a result of the injury.
Victims and their families who are interested in taking legal action are encouraged to contact a medical malpractice lawyer. A lawyer can help a victim prevail in their case and can ensure that they receive fair compensation for their losses. A lawyer can also help a victim and their family if the case goes to court. This is especially helpful for families who may not understand the medical jargon that is associated with these types of cases. A lawyer can help sort through this jargon and ensure that their client gets the best possible results.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Children Born with Birth Injuries and Their Families
If your child was injured during birth, reach out to the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. Birth injuries can lead to long-term health complications and expensive medical bills that can financially burden a family. Our lawyers can help alleviate this burden by helping families get their entitled compensation for losses that resulted from the injury. They will also help families hold negligent doctors accountable. If you are interested in discussing your legal options with a lawyer, contact us online or call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) for a free consultation.
Our offices are conveniently located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.