ERNST & YOUNG
A baby’s entrance into this world is a joyous event that should hold a special memory for a family. Unfortunately, 6 to 8 infants out of every 1,000 born in the United States are delivered with a birth injury. This translates to about three birth injuries every hour. Most injuries are as a result of medical malpractice. They affect the mother, baby, or both and alter the quality of their life forever. Sometimes, the injuries lead to the loss of life in the hands of a medical practitioner entrusted with a patient’s life.
Medical malpractices during child delivery are in various forms. They span from physical injuries to illness and brain injury. Medical attorneys can attest that birth injuries rank among the most common medical malpractice claims in the United States.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice refers to harm caused to a patient by negligence on the part of a healthcare provider. Their actions fail to adhere to the outlines standard of care. Failure to act or respond correctly as another healthcare provider would under similar circumstances amounts to negligence.
Medical malpractice can happen at any point in healthcare delivery. This includes diagnosis, prescription, treatment, or aftercare. Birth medical malpractices are heinous as they result in critical conditions, both for the mother and child.
Categorize childbirth-related malpractices into two broad classes. These are injuries that occur to the mother and those that occur to the infant. Below is an explanation of these malpractices to help you determine whether it’s time to file a lawsuit.
Injuries Caused to the Mother
Injuries can occur to the mother due to negligence before or after childbirth. Insufficient care during pregnancy is one of the factors that lead to childbirth injuries. Unfortunately, many people don’t know. Treatment should commence as soon as the pregnancy is discovered to increase the chances of an uncomplicated delivery.
Administer regular assessments to reduce the risks associated with:
- Small stature and build
- Obesity and excess weight
- Gestational diabetes
- Post-term pregnancy
- Multiple births
- Umbilical cord issues
- Autoimmune disorders
- High and low blood pressure
- Insufficient iron and other nutrients
These conditions are preliminary to high-risk pregnancies and can be mitigated if discovered and managed early enough. It’s an obstetrician’s job to provide the necessary prenatal care to access possible risks that can occur during delivery.
Molar pregnancies, which involve the growth of a tumor misdiagnosed as pregnancy, is also malpractice. In this category also falls a misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancy.
Injuries During Birth
It’s uncommon for a mother to develop gestational diabetes. However, if negligence happens during prenatal care, it can lead to preeclampsia and complicated health issues. Untreated preeclampsia can result in heart health issues, blindness, liver problems, strokes, seizures, and post-natal hemorrhaging.
Other injuries during delivery include uterine prolapse. This occurs when a doctor doesn’t recommend a cesarean section when needed, causing the overstretching of the pelvic floor. It also weakens and falls out of its position.
Other cases of malpractice include retained foreign objects inside a patient after surgery. Common medical tools left behind include scalpels, scissors, needles, sponges, knife blades, and cotton wool.
Lastly, nerve damage can result from misplaced epidurals. Delayed vaginal delivery is also medical negligence that can cause postpartum nerve damage. The results are reduced functionality and sensation of the mother’s legs, either temporarily or permanently.
Infant Birth Injuries
Infants are also exposed to a variety of injuries during birth. They can cause nerve injury, brain damage, broken bones, or even death. The most common injuries that result include
- Cephalohematoma related to faulty vacuum extraction processes.
- Caput Succedaneum or newborn scalp swelling. This is caused by a difficult delivery and sometimes the vacuum-removal process.
- Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy or Erb’s Palsy, which is damage to the nerves. It happens when the infant’s shoulders or neck overstretch during birth.
- Birth fractures involving the collarbone and clavicles.
- Subconjunctival Hemorrhage, caused by pressure on the body of the baby. It involves the rupture of blood vessels in the eyes.
These injuries are usually due to common medical errors. They include the failure to ensure sufficient energy supply to the baby’s brain. At other times, a medical practitioner will fail to use the medical tools as requires.
The improper use of forceps, underestimating the baby’s size, and failure to treat the mother for an infection are common.
Babies injured during delivery have an uncertain future ahead of them. They have special long-term needs that can change over time. The expenses that result can be draining on the parents, and failure to take legal action on time could lead to losses.
When to Take Legal Action
A mother or a child who is subjected to negligence and sustains injuries during childbirth deserves compensation. They deserve to live a high-quality life without having to worry about finances. Life plans change in such an occurrence, medical expenses escalate, and mothers may lose their jobs.
A birth injury qualifies as a result of malpractice if it meets the following criteria:
- Shows a deviation from the standard code of care
- There’s evidence of harm that resulted from the malpractice. If there was negligence by the doctor but no damage caused, a patient can’t claim medical malpractice. Sometimes, the hardest thing to prove is the relationship between an injury and malpractice.
- The damage caused must be significant. Medical negligence lawsuits are expensive and involve expert testimony.
Seek Justice for Childbirth-Related Medical Malpractice
Have you or your loved one been subjected to childbirth medical negligence that led to injuries? It’s your right to file a lawsuit to get compensation for the trouble. Since the process can be quite involving, let an attorney with experience in medical malpractice cases help you. Talk to Weltchek Mallahan & Weltcheck Trial Attorneys today and have your case settled.
Who Can You Trust with Your Case?
Have you or a loved one been injured due to negligence? We want to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you believe you have a case; time is an important factor. Interested in learning more? Get in touch with us so we can better evaluate and serve your needs in getting the justice your loved one deserves. You may very well be entitled to compensation.
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