Find Out If You Have a Birth Trauma Case
Nothing is more heartbreaking than the pain and suffering of a child. Regrettably, some babies have their futures jeopardized by the negligence of doctors, the very men and women supposed to help them enter the world. A significant number of children are born each year with birth injuries, many of which could have been avoided.
We at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP have helped countless families with birth injury claims and are ready to help you as well. Compensation is owed to children who sustain birth injuries because of healthcare providers’ negligence. If you are wondering whether you have a case, please read on.
Frequently Asked Birth Injury Questions
Is there a difference between a birth injury and a birth defect?
Generally, the birthing process itself causes birth injuries. Birth defects, on the other hand, involve disorders or diseases that develop when the mother is still carrying the baby. They are usually related to genetic conditions, but can also be caused by the actions of the mother, like smoking during pregnancy.
Can I file an injury claim for my newborn’s birth injury or defect?
That depends on the circumstances that led to your baby developing a birth defect or sustaining a birth injury. If the doctor could have prevented the defect by taking necessary precautions, or the injury was caused by a mistake during delivery, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against the responsible hospital or healthcare provider. Some birth defects and injuries cannot be prevented. To determine whether your child’s injury or defect was avoidable, speak to a law firm that has experience handling birth injury cases. They can help you investigate if the defect or injury was caused by a healthcare provider’s negligence.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider (such as a doctor or nurse) fails to provide treatment according to a reasonable standard of care, and the patient is injured because of that negligence. A birth injury caused by a doctor’s negligence can be grounds for a medical malpractice case.
Who will receive compensation in a successful birth injury case
If your child sustained a birth injury due to negligence, the compensation from a lawsuit or settlement will usually go to the child. Sometimes the money will be put into a trust for him or her. In some cases, parents may also receive compensation for the emotional trauma they sustained.
Do I need a lawyer if I believe my newborn sustained a birth injury due to malpractice?
Yes. If you think your child sustained a birth injury because of a healthcare provider, consult with an attorney who can help determine your legal options. An investigation should be performed as soon as possible to determine whether there was negligence during the birth. Based on the investigation, an attorney will be able to advise you whether you have grounds for a medical malpractice case or not. Birth injury cases are very complex, which is why they are almost impossible to prove without the help of an experienced birth injury attorney.
Will I need to go to court?
Most medical malpractice cases are settled out of court. Often, a settlement won’t be offered until the last moment, which is why it is important to hire an attorney with trial experience. If the defense knows that you will take the matter to court, they will be more likely to offer a large settlement to avoid trial.
Causes and Risk Factors for Birth Injuries
As expectant parents, you place your trust and the life of your unborn child in the hands of your medical providers. And in return, you expect them to act in your best interests and to monitor the child’s medical status throughout the pregnancy. The purpose for this careful observation is to reduce the potential for certain high-risk birth injury situations which could occur, including:
- Baby is too large. In some cases, the baby is too large for the mother to deliver naturally. This is more likely when the mother is petite, but it can occur when the mother is average size but the child is unusually large. In addition, cephalopelvic disproportion is a condition where the baby’s head alone is too large to fit through the mother’s pelvis. These situations can result in unnecessary complications during birth, but they are avoidable as long as the medical team is carefully monitoring the baby’s growth and development.
- Baby is in an abnormal birth position. About a week prior to the due date, the doctor should determine the position that the baby is going to be born in. Head first is considered the “normal” position. Breech position, when the baby’s buttocks are aimed at the birth canal, is considered abnormal and can present added risk of birth injuries because the baby can get stuck during the delivery. Breech babies are also much more likely to suffer umbilical cord prolapse, which is when the cord passes through the cervix before the child. The cord can be compressed between the emerging baby and the birth canal, cutting off the baby’s oxygen and increasing the potential for a birth injury.
- Mother has a preexisting medical condition. There are a number of preexisting medical conditions that the mother might have that can endanger both the child and mother during delivery. High blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, and even obesity can greatly increase the potential for a birth injury. In addition to preexisting conditions, pregnancy can also trigger health conditions such as anemia, high blood pressure, and gestational diabetes for the mother. The medical team should be monitoring for any unusual changes or conditions that present during the mother’s pregnancy. In many cases, the doctors can monitor the condition and induce labor or perform a C-section once the child is developed sufficiently.
- Use of forceps or vacuum extraction. When a mother and child do not receive adequate health monitoring during pregnancy, the result can be a rush to deliver the baby. Using forceps or a vacuum can speed up the delivery, but should be a last resort, as both methods pose a risk of serious birth injuries. The use of forceps or vacuum extraction can cause:
- Bruising or lacerations to the baby’s head
- Facial nerve palsy
- Skull fracture
- Brain damage
- Intracranial hemorrhage
- Cerebral palsy
- Brachial plexus injuries
If medical professionals are not carefully monitoring the baby’s size and position, the result can be a prolonged birth. In this scenario, the baby remains in the birth canal for a prolonged period of time and can suffer injuries as the brain is denied oxygen for too long. A safer option in many cases is to elect to perform a C-section to protect the health of both the child and the mother.
Birth Injury Personal Injury Claims
If your child’s injury was preventable, our legal team will uncover the truth and expose the negligent acts that led to the injury. We will exhaust every resource we have to determine who is at fault and what could have been done. We review hospital monitoring procedures, video footage, hospital records, and will speak with all the nursing and hospital staff we can.
The Dallas medical malpractice attorneys at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP have helped clients in a wide range of birthing-related injuries, including:
- Brachial plexus injury is caused by damage to the brachial plexus, a group of nerves in the shoulder. When these nerves are torn or stretched, the baby will suffer paralysis or extreme weakness in the arm, wrist, and hand. Most brachial plexus injuries, including Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy, are caused when doctors twist or pull the baby’s head on its way out of the birth canal. The amount of paralysis depends on which exact nerves were damaged and how badly they were torn or stretched.
- Erb’s palsy is a partial paralysis of the arm, mostly affecting the upper arm. It arises from an injury to the brachial plexus nerves. Mild cases of Erb’s palsy may resolve on their own, but severe cases will last a child’s entire life.
- Brain damage can occur when a baby doesn’t get enough oxygen. This is most common in delayed or prolonged labor, but brain damage can also occur when significant force is used to deliver the baby. Lack of oxygen can also lead to mild forms of brain damage, such as autism or ADHD.
- Cerebral palsy, though sometimes genetic, is a specific form of brain damage to the infant’s motor control centers. As a birth injury, it is caused by a lack of oxygen to the baby during delivery.
- Fetal acidosis is a buildup of acid in a baby’s blood, which can damage the organs. It can happen several ways, but the root cause is usually a lack of oxygen to the baby.
- High blood pressure suffered by the mother during pregnancy can significantly slow a baby’s development. In its more severe forms, it can result in oxygen deprivation as well.
- Shoulder dystocia is a difficult labor in which the baby’s head comes out but one or both shoulders are stuck on the mother’s pelvic bone. This can result brachial plexus injuries (as the doctor struggles to pull the baby out) but can also result in oxygen deprivation, depending on how long the infant is stuck. Shoulder dystocia is a very dangerous situation, as the baby can no longer be delivered via C-section. Doctors must take special care to avoid the possibility of shoulder dystocia. If it’s a high-risk pregnancy, a C-section delivery should be scheduled to be safe.
Before a medical malpractice suit can be filed, a preliminary investigation must first find evidence of negligence. We take care of all the necessary documentation in our efforts to expose negligence to the court. We prepare every case to go to trial, though many times, the defense offers a settlement.
Costs of Care for Babies Injured During Birth & Delivery
Many birthing injuries involve oxygen deprivation, which leads to brain damage and disability later on in life. Caring for a mentally or physically disabled child is difficult and costly. In addition to working toward getting you fair compensation, our team will also help you to plan for your child’s future care.
Contact a Dallas Birth Injury Lawyer at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP
Our Dallas personal injury lawyers at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP have the experience and legal expertise necessary to investigate and, if negligence is found, get you compensation for the losses caused by your child’s birth injury. Contact our Dallas birth injury lawyers today at (214) 231-0544. We will fight for the compensation you deserve.