Most birth injuries are minor and occur as a result of the birth process. Some birth injuries cause more significant injuries and may have disabling effects. In other cases, birth injuries are caused by negligence on the part of the medical provider. When birth injuries are the result of a medical provider’s actions, it is possible to sue them to hold them accountable. Here are some things to know about birth injuries and your legal options for compensation.
What is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury occurs during childbirth, either to the mother or newborn baby. Some birth injuries are mild, such as a bruise that will heal on its own. However, some birth injuries cause life-long impacts, such as facial paralysis or cerebral palsy.
Sometimes birth injuries, like bruising, are unavoidable. In other cases, negligence on the part of the healthcare provider caused the birth injury. For instance, the use of forceps and vacuum-assisted birth can cause birth injury, especially when used in the earlier parts of the birth process. The use of these tools has become less common as a result.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, just 3% of births used forceps or vacuum extraction. More commonly, a c-section is recommended for difficult births where forceps would have been used only decades earlier. If the baby measures in a very high size percentage or if birth is otherwise prolonged, the provider’s failure to recommend a c-section could be considered negligence and tried as medical malpractice.
Types of Birth Injuries
There are many different types of birth injuries. Some of the more common birth injuries are:
- Cerebral palsy from inadequate access to oxygen during birth
- Brachial plexus injuries from the baby pulled on too forcefully on their neck and shoulders
- Brain damage related to assisted labor or lack of oxygen
- Fetal death in utero
- Spinal cord injuries
- Group B strep infection when a mother doesn’t receive the IV antibiotic medication that is needed to prevent passing the infection to the baby
- Infant meningitis
This list characterizes some of the common types of birth injuries newborn babies experience. However, it is not a comprehensive list. If you or your child experienced any kind of birth injury due to healthcare provider negligence, you can discuss what happened with a birth injury lawyer to see if you have a case.
Birth Injury Risk Factors
According to Stanford Children’s Health, some factors can contribute to the likelihood of a birth injury, including:
- ●Birth weight over 8 lbs. 13 oz
- ●Birth before 37 weeks gestation
- ●Cephalopelvic disproportion
- ●Breech presentation
- ●Prolonged labor
Birth injuries can happen to anyone. Even if you do not have any of these risk factors, it is possible to experience a birth injury due to negligent medical care.
Birth Injuries and Medical Malpractice
When obstetricians and midwives are negligent during childbirth or toward the end of a pregnancy, this could put both the mother and her baby at risk. There are certain standards for monitoring, testing, and care that patients should expect during the last trimester and childbirth. This includes testing for Group B strep, gestational diabetes, and pre-eclampsia.
In the labor process, the mother and child must be carefully monitored to know when medical interventions are necessary. If the medical provider fails to monitor the patient properly or intervene and it compromises the quality of care, it is a type of medical malpractice.
Treatment for Birth Injuries
The treatment required for birth injuries depends heavily on the type and severity of the injury. Some minor injuries may go away without treatment on their own. However, other birth injuries require costly, long-term treatment that includes medication, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and surgery.
Taking Legal Action for Birth Injuries
These treatments are costly. By taking legal action against negligent healthcare providers that contributed to the birth injury, it is possible to get compensation to cover some of these expenses. After all, the years after a birth injury should be spent getting your child the care they need.
Contact a Savannah Birth Injury Lawyer Today
You can schedule a consultation with a Savannah birth injury lawyer to learn more about your legal options, including filing a medical malpractice claim against the negligent provider. Phillips Carson & Phillips has experience helping families of birth injury victims get the compensation they need. Contact us to schedule a consultation by calling (912) 232-0081 or using our online contact form. We are here to help your family learn more about your legal options.