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Medical Malpractice and Birth Injuries

Injuries to a newborn during birth can have devastating, life long effects. The improper use of forceps or suction errors, the failure to monitor for fetal distress, or hypoxia (lack of oxygen) or oxygen-related injuries can lead to brain damage that will never recover.  This can lead to permanent cognitive and physical impairments.

Parents not only suffer the emotional impact of knowing their child was injured by a medical professional they trusted, but they also may need to spend far more time, energy, effort and money (possibly for the rest of the child’s life) to care for the child than if the child was born healthy. We help parents in these difficult situations seek compensation.

Medical Malpractice During Childbirth

Birth-related medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, hospital, or other medical staff acts negligently (by an act or omission by a health care provider, which falls below the accepted standard of care in the medical community) and causes an injury to the child.

Some examples of medical malpractice that can cause birth-related injuries include:

  • Failing to anticipate birth complications with a larger baby, or in cases involving maternal health complications,
  • Failure to respond appropriately to bleeding,
  • Failing to observe or respond to umbilical cord entrapment, which can cut off oxygen to the newborn,
  • Failure to respond to fetal distress (including irregularities in the fetal heartbeat) which can be a sign of injuries,
  • Delay in ordering cesarean section (c-section) when medically necessary,
  • Misuse of forceps or a vacuum extractor during delivery, which can cause head injuries and brain damage, and
  • Inappropriate administration of Pitocin, a synthesized hormone used to induce or augment (speed up) labor.

Early Indications Trouble may Occur During Childbirth

Injuries to a baby are more likely to happen during a difficult delivery. Warning signs of a difficult delivery include:

  • The baby’s size. Injuries are more likely if a baby is large (more than eight pounds, thirteen ounces) or born prematurely (before 37 weeks),
  • Cephalopelvic disproportion (the size and shape of the mother’s pelvis is not adequate for the child to be born by vaginal delivery),
  • Prolonged labor, and
  • The baby’s position (a “breech birth”) where the child’s buttocks or legs present first.

If the newborn is injured, the parents can bring legal action acting as guardians for the infant. They can ask for general and special damages (such as mental and physical pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, expected future medical expenses) and may name the hospital and health care professionals they believe are responsible as defendants.

Contact Our Office

If you believe your child suffered from a birth injury, contact us for a free initial consultation. To schedule a meeting to discuss your potential medical malpractice claim, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Our office is open Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but we will meet with you evenings or weekends upon request. We will travel to your home or the hospital if necessary.