1. What are the most common types of birth injuries?
There are a wide variety of injuries associated with the birthing process. Some of the most common and most devastating include:
- Brain injury caused by improper use of vacuum extractors or forceps
- Untreated jaundice
- Shoulder dystocia
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy / brachial plexus injuries (neuroma, rupture, avulsion)
- Fetal distress
- Excessive bleeding
- Meconium aspiration
2. What are the most common forms of medical negligence in a birth injury case?
The most common instances of medical negligence are related to unsuitable responses by the doctor or anyone on the medical team. These responses are usually related to circumstances such as a larger than expected infant, an unexpected shift in the child’s position and other unanticipated complications, including:
- Shoulder dystocia (shoulder becomes caught, and the baby has difficulty breathing)
- Bleeding, distress or lack of oxygen experienced by mother or baby
- Delay in decision to perform a necessary Caesarean section
- Use or misuse of vacuum extractor or forceps
- Umbilical cord entrapment or compression
- Delay in recognizing or treating infections, bacterial meningitis and viral encephalitis
- Long labor
- Breech position for the baby
- Fetal distress
- Excessive water retention and/or weight gain by mother
- Inadequate medical care during pregnancy.
3. What is the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect?
Birth injuries usually happen because something went wrong during the baby’s delivery, while birth defects indicate harm that took place before the birth due to something that happened during or before the pregnancy.
4. My baby was diagnosed with a birth injury called cerebral palsy. What is cerebral palsy and how is it caused?
Cerebral palsy indicates a group of disorders that impact a child’s ability to control his or her own movement. The condition results from injury to the cerebrum, the largest portion of the brain, which involves voluntary muscle activities, sensations and higher mental faculties. Cerebral palsy can be caused by injury to the brain before, during or after birth.
5. What would indicate that my child’s cerebral palsy was the result of medical malpractice?
- Placing a full-term baby in the intensive care unit (NICU)
- An emergency Caesarean section (C-section)
- Seizures in the first few days after birth
- Floppy baby (poor muscle tone and/or poor sucking response)
- Baby needs resuscitation after birth
- Poor APGAR scores
- Low umbilical cord blood gases
- Blue skin color
- Meconium (fecal matter) on the infant’s body or in the amniotic fluid after delivery
- Baby was not delivered within 24 hours of water breaking.
6. My baby was diagnosed with Erb’s palsy or brachial plexus palsy. Can this be the result of medical malpractice?
Any excess stress on the child’s neck during delivery may result in injuries to the baby’s nerves. This can cause paralysis of the arm, making it limp or dysfunctional. Injuries like these are classified by severity. Neuroma is when the nerves are torn, but scar tissue is formed during the healing process. This can disable the arm. Avulsion rupture is when the nerves are torn away at the area of the spine. A rupture occurs when the nerves tear at other locations.
7. What could the medical team have done to deliver the child properly?
- The doctor can remove the baby surgically with a Caesarean section to avoid a difficult vaginal delivery.
- The physician can perform a vaginal delivery with an episiotomy.
- The doctor can attempt to relieve shoulder dystocia (trapped shoulder) by performing a Woods and/or a McRoberts maneuver.
8. What should I do if I suspect my doctor’s negligence caused my baby’s birth injury?
As soon as you suspect that negligence may be the cause of your child’s birth injury, you should contact The Law Offices of Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP. Facts and evidence must be gathered right away. Do not delay, because there is a statute of limitations for filing medical malpractice claims. Contact us today.
9. How do I know if medical negligence caused my baby’s birth injury?
Birth injury lawyers can use several tools that to prove an injury was caused by a doctor’s carelessness or negligence. An experienced legal team will closely investigate every part of your pregnancy and childbirth. The attorney will carefully study the medical records, including labor and delivery records, neonatal records, the fetal heart monitor strip and your newborn’s records. Any imaging studies performed on the baby, including ultrasounds, CT scans, or MRIs of the head need to be carefully studied. Any deviation from the standard of care is an indication of medical negligence. The Law Offices of Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP, has experience with these types of cases and how to investigate them. Contact us today to discuss your case.
10. What are other types of birth injuries?
Other types of birth injuries include:
- Intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding in the baby’s head)
- Depressed skull fractures
- Bruising/forceps marks
- Fractures – fractures of the clavicle or collarbone are most common
- Spinal cord trauma
- Cephalohematoma – an area of bleeding beneath the scalp, which can lead to jaundice
- Cranial nerve trauma
- Facial paralysis
- Temporary body paralysis
- Swelling, bleeding, bruising or discoloration of the scalp
- Group B strep infections
- Spasticity – a condition where certain muscles are continuously contracted
- Soft tissue injuries
- Skin irritation.
11. Should I hire an attorney to help with a birth injury claim?
Yes. Contacting or hiring a lawyer does not necessarily mean you will sue anyone. If you feel you have a case, it’s a good idea to do this. Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP, will be able to evaluate your case during the first meeting and advise you of your rights and options for the case.
Please contact our Syracuse birth injury lawyers at your convenience. We’re happy to answer any questions and talk about the details of your case. Call Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP, at (315) 314-5390 or (877) 713-8573 or contact us via our online contact form for a FREE case review.