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Birth Injuries Caused by Medical Mistakes

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

Birth is one of those magical moments life provides. The joy of a new child and the building of a family is something most of us aspire to. But when something goes wrong during labor and delivery, that joy may turn to concern. Just under 158,000 preventable injuries – to mother or baby – occur every year during delivery.

When an injury happens to a baby during delivery, our initial focus will always be on the well-being of the child. But later, we will start to ask questions. Who was responsible for any injuries? Could the injuries have been avoided? Do I have the right to pursue a claim?

Medical Negligence Can Cause Several Types of Birth Injuries

There are a number of types of injury which can occur due to negligence. These include:

  • Erb’s palsy
  • Bruising or swelling
  • Brain damage resulting in developmental problems
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Death
  • Fractures of the skull or collarbone
  • Bleeding in the skull
  • Ruptured blood vessels in the eyes
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Infection

Medical Negligence During Pregnancy

Medical negligence during pregnancy is much like negligence in any other area of medicine. It happens when there is a breach in the standard of care shown by medical professionals which leads to some form of injury or even death.

There is an expected standard of care from all health professionals. This should include good judgment, caution during any procedures, and adherence to professional conduct.

During pregnancy, this negligence can include things like giving the wrong medications, incorrect doses or treatments. It can also include misdiagnosis, and failure to spot conditions which can lead to birth defects or premature birth,

Medical Negligence During Birth

During labor and delivery, one of the main causes of birth injury can be due to oxygen deprivation – known as asphyxia – both pre- and post-delivery. This can cause both short and long-term problems and the potential long-term effects include cerebral palsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, and seizures. Some of these conditions may mean the child requires some form of specialized care in the future.

Another injury which may happen due to negligence during delivery is a brachial plexus injury. This is an injury to the nerves which control the arms and can lead to some level of paralysis. It can be caused by over physicality during the birth or by an incorrect use of tools.

Medical Negligence After Birth

Negligence after birth can take a number of forms. Failure to spot any problems or failure to diagnose a condition can result in delays in treatment which may worsen the condition or cause further damage. Negligence can also take the form of administering the wrong medication or the correct medication in wrong dosages.

Effects of Medical Negligence

The effects of medical negligence at any stage of the birthing process can lead to anything from relatively minor injuries which will easily heal to devastating effects such as death or permanent disability.

Contact a Michigan Birth Injury Lawyer as Soon as Possible

If you suspect, or know, that any injuries caused to mother or baby were as a result of negligence, then you should contact our law firm. Where there are long term effects from any injury, the need for specialized care and medications means that costs will mount up over time.

An attorney at our law firm can seek redress for any case where negligence has led to some form of birth injury including a brachial plexus injury, Erb’s palsy, or other injuries.

Birth Injury Lawyer

Some Common Medical Error-Caused Birth Injuries

Some other common injuries due to negligence can include:

  • Anoxia – where there is complete deprivation of oxygen to the baby’s brain. Even a few minutes of anoxia can have a whole-life impact.
  • Hypoxia – this is where there is a decreased flow of oxygen to the baby’s brain. As with anoxia, it only takes a few minutes of decreased flow to have a devastating impact.
  • Physical trauma to the head – poor birth procedures such as improper use of forceps, over-physical pulling, etc. can lead to damage to the head, neck, brain, or spine.
  • Infections – where the mother has had any sort of infection during pregnancy – or has contracted one – then there is the possibility of that infection passing to her baby or causing some sort of injury including brain damage. If attending health professionals fail to spot and deal with an infection which results in an injury to the baby, then they can be judged negligent.

How To Prove A Doctor Committed Errors During Delivery

It can be difficult to prove negligence in birth injury cases. Both hospitals and doctors want to protect their reputations and medical malpractice suits can be costly. A jury will consider all the facts presented – including expert testimony by specialists – and will decide whether the proper standard of care was deviated from or if there was willful negligence.

During the discovery part of any lawsuit, your attorney can obtain all relevant records and information from any health professionals involved in your case.

When Do Birth Injuries Lead to Legal Action?

It is not just about assuming there was some level of negligence leading to a birth injury. The first step is to assess what the level of expected care was in the circumstances.

The next step is to decide whether that standard of care was not reached or was deviated from in some way. That can be assessed by finding out what an equally skilled doctor or specialist would have done in the same situation.

Filing a Birth Injury Lawsuit Against Negligent Doctors and Hospitals

Where negligence is suspected or known to have happened, your first step is to engage the services of a law firm who have experience in medical malpractice cases.

At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. we evaluate all aspects of your case then discuss the best way to progress. We will gather affidavits and testimony from expert witnesses, requesting copies of your medical records and other pertinent documents from all involved healthcare professionals, and the filing of a claim with the court.

Under Michigan law, the statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases is two years from the date of the incident occurring.

How Much is Your Injury Claim Worth?

The amount of any award can vary greatly according to the severity of the birth injury and the costs that will be incurred by long-term care and medical intervention. In these sort of cases, you can actually sue more than one party. So, for example, your suit may be against the attending doctor, the hospital or clinic, and any supervising nurses.

In making an award, the court will take multiple factors into consideration. These will include all potential medical costs, possible loss of earnings if a parent has to give up work to care for the baby, the cost of medication etc.

Final Word

There may be nothing more devastating than to realize that your child has suffered some form of birth injury. And if that injury has been caused by inaction or negligence, then there will be understandable anger, especially if the injury had been preventable.

Filing a lawsuit for medical malpractice is not just about seeking justice, it is about ensuring that you can afford any level of care your child may need in the future. Having a law firm with extensive experience in medical malpractice can be key to making sure that those levels of care are affordable.

Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. operate on a contingency fee basis, so you will only have to pay us if we win your case. We also offer a free consultation to evaluate all aspects of your case and discuss a plan on how to proceed.

We are also in a unique position of having Eileen E. Kroll on our team, a qualified attorney and an experienced registered nurse. She can decipher any medical jargon and communicate proficiently with any medical staff involved in the case. To schedule an appointment with us, you can call us toll-free at 1-866-MICH-LAW.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Steve is a former criminal justice worker. With degrees in psychology and social work, he spent most of his life helping those with addiction issues before switching to criminal justice. He was responsible for writing court reports and advising judges on sentencing. He also supervised offenders, including sex offenders, in the community and carried out risk assessments and probation appraisals. He now lives in SE Asia and is working on his 5th novel.



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