Could My Baby’s Injury Have Been Prevented?
When a baby is injured at birth, your first questions will most likely be, “How did this happen?” and, “Could it have been prevented?” It’s natural to feel guilt as the new parent of an injured baby, but chances are there was nothing you could do to prevent the injury. However, the same may not be said for your medical team.
A baby could be injured due to a challenging pregnancy or a complicated delivery, but it could also happen due to medical mistakes during birth. This could result in learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, paralysis, or other serious conditions. This would be a challenge for any family, but it can be especially difficult to cope with when you know none of it ever had to happen.
In situations where your baby’s injury could have been prevented, you and your baby’s rights must be protected. Scenarios surrounding a baby’s birth injuries can differ significantly, but what they have in common is that a medical professional failed to diagnose or act appropriately given the situation.
When your baby’s injuries occurred due to a doctor’s malpractice or negligence, you may need to file a malpractice case. Keep reading for more insight into birth injuries and the legal aspects of a birth injury case.
Types of Birth Injuries
The following list is not a complete list of everything that could possibly go wrong during birth, but it does cover the most common types of injuries.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder that often occurs due to a lack of oxygen to an infant’s brain. It can also be caused by obstructed delivery, the use of vacuum extractors or forceps, and mismanaged second stage labor. CP causes complications in muscle tone, movement, and motor skills.
Other problems that can be associated with cerebral palsy include cognitive impairment, learning disabilities, lung infection, speech difficulties, limited vision or hearing, and poor bone density. If a mother over 35 years old expects triplets or twins or has complications of the placenta, she and her baby need to be closely monitored.
When a baby requires oxygen or fetal distress is detected, it may call for an emergency C-section. If a medical professional doesn’t monitor the infant’s condition or doesn’t perform a C-section when necessary, that is considered to be medical malpractice.
Shoulder dystocia can happen when the fetus’s head is delivered but its shoulders are stuck. This occurs when a baby is large or its shoulders are too wide to fit through the birth canal. Causes of shoulder dystocia include a diabetic mother, multiple births, obese mothers, or delivering after the due date. Injuries to the baby could include damage to the nerves in the baby’s hand, arm, or shoulder, causing paralysis or tremors.
The pressure on a baby’s head during birth can lead to a fracture, especially in cases where forceps or vacuum extraction are used. Large infants, breech births, and difficult, prolonged labor can also cause skull fractures in a newborn.
In some cases, the fracture will be minor and it won’t cause significant complications. However, in more serious cases, a skull fracture can cause bleeding, bruising, listlessness, and even seizures. Serious fractures can also give your baby’s head a misshapen appearance.
Aspects of a Medical Malpractice Claim
Medical professionals who work in labor and delivery must uphold the very highest professional standards when it comes to the care of mothers and babies or birth injuries can occur. Many birth injuries could have been prevented if only it weren’t for the poor decision-making of a doctor, nurse, or other member of the medical team (Source: https://birthinjurylawyer.com/).
To show malpractice on the part of a medical professional or facility, you need to establish the following factors:
- Duty of care: You need to prove that the medical practitioner is legally responsible for your care.
- Breach of Duty: You need to show that the duty of care was breached.
- Causation: You need to provide proof that negligent conduct caused your baby’s injuries.
- Actual Damages: You must have evidence of the damages that were caused by the injury.
Show Medical Negligence
A personal injury attorney will demonstrate the defendant’s medical negligence by telling you what kind of evidence you’ll need to prove your case. They’ll help you collect supporting documents such as medical records, parents’ statements, and medical records.
Most states require medical malpractice claims involving infants to present an affidavit. Affidavits are sworn oaths or statements from medical experts. Since the medical industry is diverse and requires comprehensive training, the judge will use expert statements from other medical professionals.
Since medical malpractice legalities and baby birth injuries involve sophisticated legal and medical issues, it is prudent to have the representation of a lawyer who specializes in birth injury cases. A lawyer will fight for you and on your child’s behalf while you concentrate on your newborn’s health.