Birth Injuries

Birth injuries can often be difficult to determine who is at fault: the doctor, OBGYN, or the nursing staff. Complications in pregnancy or during labor and delivery can result in severe injuries—many of which are lifelong and require parents to make special provisions for their child. Not only is this type of care extremely expensive and time consuming, it puts emotional and financial stress on the entire family.

One of the most common birth defects, cerebral palsy, refers to a variety of disorders that affect the brain and is a result of a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain during labor. It has long-lasting effects throughout the child’s life that require constant care. Oxygen deficiencies can cause irreparable brain damage, significant organ damage, and even death. Children subjected to oxygen deficiencies may need continual care throughout adulthood. Another common injury occurring as a result of negligence in a difficult childbirth is Brachial Plexus, or Erb's Palsy, a paralysis of the child’s arm due to injuries in several vital nerves following shoulder dystocia.

Birth injury cases can be caused by actions or by failing to take action. A birth injury can occur before birth (during pregnancy), during childbirth, or immediately after birth. Some examples of medical negligence are:

  • Failure to recognize signs of fetal distress

  • Failure to recognize signs of respiratory distress and loss of oxygen to the infant's brain (hypoxia)

  • Failure to perform a timely Cesarean (C-section)

  • Failure to diagnose labor complications such as breech birth and failure to perform a C-section if needed

  • Failure to diagnose pre-eclampsia in the mother

  • Improperly removing the child from the birth canal, resulting in broken bones, Erb’s palsy, or shoulder dystocia

  • Improper use of medication before or during labor, such as using too much Pitocin to hasten labor (this has sometimes been implicated in causing cerebral palsy)

  • Improper use of forceps

  • Inadequate fetal monitoring

  • Negligence on the part of hospitals, physicians, HMOs, nurses, midwives and other professionals

Devastating injuries that can occur to both mother and child include:

  • Brain damage

  • Cerebral palsy

  • Erb's palsy

  • Brachial plexus injuries

  • Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH)

  • Fractures

  • Strokes

  • Infections

  • Meningitis

  • Pre-eclampsia

  • Eclampsia

Death Of The Mother Or Child

You may not know at this time if the mother or child’s injuries or death resulted from a doctor or nurse’s failure to provide an appropriate standard of care, but our experienced nurses can review the case and potentially reveal abnormalities when they assist the attorney with the work up on the case.