Watching a child suffer is tremendously difficult for any parent. Whether the suffering is due to a short-term injury or a lifelong medical condition, many parents struggle to deal with overwhelming feelings of helplessness. When your child is suffering as a result of medical malpractice during pregnancy or delivery, the physical, emotional and financial strain on the family is immense. At Staples Ellis, we understand the seemingly insurmountable physical, emotional and financial burdens facing medical malpractice victims and their loved ones. We can help to lift those burdens by standing by your side and aggressively fighting for your rights. While no amount of money will undo the trauma, it is crucial to provide for all of your future medical and financial needs. If your child suffered from a birth injury as the result of medical mistakes or negligence on the part of a doctor, nurse or hospital, please contact our office and let us help in getting the care and assistance you and your child need.
Most Common Types of Birth Injuries
While children may suffer illness or disability for a variety of reasons, a “birth injury” is an injury that results from inadequate or negligent medical care before and during delivery. This negligence could be on the part of your doctor, nurses or anyone involved in providing care for the mother or child. Unfortunately, birth injuries as a result of medical negligence are common. According to the CDC, a baby is injured as a result of medical negligence every 20 minutes. That’s almost 30,000 babies a year.
Although birth injuries can manifest in a variety of ways, there are certain types of injuries to a baby that frequently result from trauma during childbirth. Most often, it is during delivery that a complication arises. Doctors and medical professionals are trained to handle these emergencies safely and without harm to the mother or child. However, if your doctor or medical team mishandles the situation, your child may be injured as a result. Some of the most common types of preventable injuries are:
- Nervous System Damage: the nervous system connects the brain to the body through a network of nerves. During delivery, your child’s nervous system may have been permanently damaged. The most common type of nerve injury during childbirth is to the nerves that run from shoulder down the spine, known as Erb’s palsy. Erb’s palsy can cause loss of sensation or paralysis of either arm or shoulder. Other types of nerve damage may result from improper use of medical equipment or improper techniques during an emergency. These types of nerve injuries are preventable if your doctor follows correct medical procedures.
- Oxygen Deprivation/Cerebral Palsy: a constant flow of both blood and oxygen must be maintained to your child’s brain. When the supply of oxygen or blood to the brain is lost or interrupted, even for a very short time, brain cells can die or become damaged. Once a baby’s brain cells have been damaged due to lack of oxygen, they do not regenerate. Cerebral palsy is an incurable condition caused by brain trauma and loss of oxygen to a child’s brain during childbirth. Symptoms of cerebral palsy include loss of speech, vision, hearing, motor skills, muscle control, and coordination. A child with cerebral palsy will likely need a lifetime of care.
- Broken Bones: the most commonly broken bone is the collarbone or clavicle. A baby’s shoulders are the widest point on his/her body and the shoulders can get caught behind the mother’s pelvis. If not handled correctly, for instance by improperly using forceps to dislodge the baby, the doctor or nurse may end up breaking the collarbone.
Common Types of Medical Mistakes
In many instances, a birth injury, especially to the brain, are caused by mistakes made by doctors, other medical professionals or hospitals during the delivery process. Medical errors that can cause birth injuries include:
- Failure to identify and correct problems during pregnancy such as infections, pregnancy-induced hypertension or gestational diabetes
- Failure to respond correctly to hemorrhaging, umbilical cord entanglement or fetal distress
- Prescribing a medication to the mother with dangerous side effects to the infant
- Improper delay in performing a Cesarean section (or C-section)
- Misuse of a vacuum extractor or forceps
- Neglecting to properly monitor the mother’s or baby’s condition immediately after birth
- Medication errors, e.g. administering the wrong type or dosage of medication
If you suspect any of these mistakes were made before, during or after your child’s delivery, please contact our office to discuss your case with one of our attorneys.
What Can Be Done?
Birth injury cases are diverse and often complicated. A proper and thorough investigation should be conducted to understand exactly what occurred. Fortunately, hospitals create and maintain extensive medical records of every stage of the delivery process. Our attorneys are well-trained and experienced in reviewing medical records to determine if a mistake rising to the level of malpractice caused a birth injury to your child.
If your child suffered a birth injury, Florida law allows you to recover:
- Medical expenses due to injuries, including past, present, and future medical care
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy costs
- Physical pain and suffering resulting from the injuries
- Emotional pain and anguish
- Costs of special education and in-home care
- In some extraordinary cases, punitive damages
Contact Our Pensacola Birth Injury Attorney Today
If your child suffered an injury due to medical negligence, you have a right to have the person responsible pay for the consequences of the mistake. At Staples Ellis, we have years of experience litigating birth injury cases. Our experience has shown us the lifelong impact a birth injury can have on a family. As a result, we are dedicated and tough and fight for your family. If you need help finding the legal guidance to understand what to do following your child’s birth, please contact our office and let us help.