For so many people, pregnancy is supposed to be a joyous time full of happiness. It’s a time when expecting parents can celebrate. But what happens when something goes wrong during either the pregnancy or during the actual labor?
This is the unfortunate reality for countless expecting parents each year. Something goes wrong during the pregnancy or during delivery–putting the baby and mother at risk of serious injury. Unfortunately, this happens far too often.
Understanding what birth injuries are, what causes them, who may be responsible, and the long-term impacts, can be difficult. However, for parents, there are some things to consider regarding taking legal action and what to do to move forward.
What Is Considered a Birth Injury?
By definition, birth injuries are those that are caused by various individuals during the pregnancy, delivery, or labor process. Understanding what exactly a birth injury is should be a top priority to help either prevent a problem, or to determine what options you have if your baby has suffered.
There are a number of brain injuries that can occur, and the baby may suffer long-term damages as a result. Most of the time, brain injuries are caused by oxygen deprivation. Typically, these situations are labeled as anoxia, hypoxia, birth asphyxia, and perinatal asphyxia.
The most common brain-related birth injuries are cerebral palsy and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Most brain injuries during pregnancy are caused by failure to monitor, failure to identify prolapsed umbilical cord, or failure to use tools correctly when assisting with birth.
Cerebral palsy affects nearly 800,000 children and can be a result of maternal infections, infant infection, infant stroke, and oxygen deprivation. In some situations, though, proper monitoring can allow for preventative measures when it comes to cerebral palsy.
Muscle and Physical Injuries
Typically occurring during the delivery process, there are multiple different muscle-related injuries that can be sustained, and the baby may be left to suffer. These are the common physical and muscle-related injuries that can occur:
- Brachial plexus: The upper extremity of the arm is injured
- Erb’s palsy: The nerves of the upper arm are affected, causing loss of feeling or weakness.
- Klumpke’s palsy: The lower nerves in the arm are damaged.
- Shoulder dystocia: An injury to the baby’s head and shoulder when trapped behind the pelvic bone during delivery.
Some of the injuries that can be caused by misuse of forceps or vacuum extractor include broken bones, lacerations, and skull fractures. These are often dependent on how the physician handles the delivery, and whether or not they monitor the situation properly.
Who Is Considered Responsible?
Determining liability is dependent on the actual injury sustained and the cause. However, there are some individuals who are more often considered responsible than others. These include the delivering doctor, nurse, or even the medical facility, if they acted negligent during the pregnancy or labor.
For instance, if there is an injury sustained during the delivery or there is a failure to monitor during pregnancy, fault may be placed on the obstetrician. If there is an issue with monitoring during the labor, a nurse may be responsible.
If equipment is not adequate or there are various issues with the facility itself, the hospital can be considered liable for the damages sustained.
Long-Term Effects of a Birth Injury
Birth injuries are some of the most unfortunate that can be sustained, because they often result in lifelong issues that must be overcome. For instance, if there is a brain injury sustained during the pregnancy or in labor, it can lead to cognitive and developmental troubles moving forward.
For infants who suffer muscle and physical-related injuries, this may not only leave them with certain physical growth difficulties, but it may also require special needs and expenses for equipment and medical care throughout their lifetime.
In these situations, there may be issues regarding the long-term medical expenses, physical therapy costs, lack of income or ability to earn income, and more. As infants grow with injuries and developmental issues, there are countless obstacles they must overcome. This is where legal help comes into play.
What Legal Options Exist for Birth Injury Cases?
There are various legal avenues that may be taken following a birth injury, specifically when negligence is involved. Knowing what to do means taking the time to research your options and learn about what you can do to move forward.
Before you do anything, though, you should speak with a Baltimore birth injury attorney who can help you understand what rights you may have to file a birth injury lawsuit against the negligent parties. You may be able to seek compensation for the economic and non-economic damages you have endured.
At Brown & Barron, we have the experience, knowledge, and skill necessary to guide you through the process, help you understand your rights, and pursue the compensation you deserve. You can trust that our team is here for you when you need us most.
No matter what kind of injury your child or you may have sustained as a result of malpractice during the pregnancy, labor, or delivery, you have rights. We’ll work hard to protect them and hold the responsible party accountable for the long-term expenses that come along with the injuries.
If your child has suffered a birth injury, you can speak with our team in a free case evaluation to determine what options you may have. Call us at (410) 698-1717 today to schedule yours and discuss your potential case with one of our legal professionals.