Having a child should be a joyful experience, however, problems during pregnancy or delivery that result in birth injuries can turn the joy to sorrow. If these injuries are caused by the negligence of an obstetrician, a hospital, or other healthcare providers, then there may be a basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Because birth injury claims are complex, often involving several medical disciplines, the best decision you can make to protect your child and your family’s future is to consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
Cooper Schall and Levy represents families whose children have sustained birth injuries arising from a healthcare provider’s negligence. If your obstetrician failed to diagnose potential problems or failed to respond to a problem during delivery, we can help. Regardless of the circumstances, we believe that you deserve compensation to ensure that your child will have long-term financial security and access to needed treatment and services. Knowing how devastating a birth injury can be to your child and your family, we will offer you knowledge, compassion, and superior personal service.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries can result from complications during labor or delivery, the improper use of medical techniques or devices (e.g. forceps, vacuum pump), as well as from other delivery room errors. Common types of physical trauma to newborns include:
- Erb’s Palsy (Brachial plexus injuries) — The nerves connecting a newborn’s spinal cord to the arms and hands can be damaged when excessive traction is applied to a baby’s head or neck during childbirth. Erb’s palsy may manifest itself in paralysis of the child’s shoulder, arms or neck, or a loss of muscle control or sensation in the arms or hands. Minor nerve damage may heal in time; however, more substantial damage will not.
- Cervical dystonia (spasmodic torticollis) — Injuries to the newborn’s head, neck or shoulder can result from medical mistakes during delivery that cause the neck muscles to contract, which can lead to a child’s head tilting forward or backward or twisting to the side.
- Shoulder dystocia — Shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby’s head and shoulders get trapped behind the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery, which can result in severe complications for both the mother and child and even lead to death if not managed properly and quickly by the doctor and his or her staff.
- C-Section Injuries — A poorly performed C-section can cause facial lacerations, fractures, cervical cord injuries, or nerve damage to newborns. Some newborns also suffer respiratory distress during a C-Section that can cause long-term health problems.
- Hypoxic Encephalopathy — When a baby experiences oxygen deprivation in utero during any phase of labor, anoxic brain damage can occur, which can lead to injuries such as cerebral palsy (CP). Children with CP typically have difficulty with muscle control and motor skills and may suffer muscle spasms and speech impediments. Severe cases of cerebral palsy can cause paralysis, intellectual deficits, epilepsy, and other impairments that require lifelong care.
- NAIT (Neonatal Alloimmune Thrombocytopenia) — NAIT is a rare condition where maternal-fetal platelet incompatibility leads to the formation of maternal antibodies that result in fetal and neonatal thrombocytopenia, or low platelet counts, which can cause fetal growth restriction, brain hemorrhages and death. Once NAIT occurs in one pregnancy, it is likely to recur and be more severe in subsequent pregnancies.
- Infections — Newborns can sustain birth injuries from infections, such as group B strep or meningitis, that are passed from the mother to the child in the birth canal. In addition, infections are also caused by folic acid deficiencies, anemia, or spina bifida. Such birth injuries are preventable if the doctor makes a correct and timely diagnosis.
Grounds for a Birth Injury Claim
In sum, having a valid birth injury claim requires demonstrating that a healthcare professional failed to provide the mother and/or child with appropriate and accepted medical care, and that this failure caused injury to the child. Doctors must be diligent at all times during the pregnancy, recognize potential risks to the mother and child, and provide proper medical care when necessary. Given the technology available today to monitor the health and position of a fetus in utero (e.g. ultrasounds), many birth injuries can be avoided if doctors provide adequate care.
Contact Our Philadelphia Birth Injury Attorney
While no amount of money can undo the physical and emotional harm of a birth injury sustained by a child, negligent parties must be held accountable. When you consult Cooper Schall and Levy, we will help you obtain compensation that is essential for your child’s future security and medical and financial needs.
If your claim is successful you may be awarded damages to cover past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of future earning capacity and other economic and non-economic losses. We know that seeing your newborn harmed is an overwhelming experience and we will do everything in our power to right this wrong. Above all, we will offer you powerful representation and caring, efficient service when you need it most. Please contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.