newborn baby holding hand with someone

How Can Medical Malpractice Lead to Birth Injuries?

The birth of a child is a wonderful milestone. But for many families, it’s a bittersweet event. Many children are injured before, during, and after birth, and some mothers also suffer injuries in these cases. If your child has experienced a birth injury due to the negligence of a healthcare provider, you may have the right to pursue legal action. Talk to a Chicago medical malpractice attorney about your case.

Birth injuries should be distinguished from birth defects. A birth defect is a condition caused by genetic or environmental factors. Cases like these are usually not actionable, but not always. During the mother’s pregnancy, the doctor can perform certain tests to determine whether the child will be born with a defect. If a defect is found, the mother may need special care both for her and for her unborn child. Failure to provide this care could be an act of malpractice.

Most Common Birth Injuries

Pregnancy and labor are sensitive times for the baby and the mother, and there’s a lot that can go wrong. These are some of the most common birth injuries that can occur during these periods:

  • Erb’s palsy. This is a form of paralysis in the baby’s arm caused by nerve damage.
  • Cerebral palsy. This neurological disorder affects the child’s balance and movement.
  • Preeclampsia. Another name for this condition is toxemia, and it results from high blood pressure and distress to the mother.
  • Birth asphyxia. Causes interruption of oxygen flow to the baby.
  • Spinal cord injuries. Result from compression of the baby’s spinal cord during delivery.
  • Intracranial hemorrhage. Serious bleeding in the baby’s brain that causes numerous complications.
  • Shoulder dystocia. When the baby’s shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pelvis.

How Are Some Birth Injuries Caused?

Although every case has to be considered individually, birth injuries are frequently caused by medical malpractice. Some examples of malpractice that may cause a birth injury are:

  • Failure to identify or properly address issues with the mother that arise during pregnancy
  • Failure to identify genetic and other complications with the unborn child that require attention
  • Dosage errors and other medication mistakes
  • Umbilical cord entanglement and other mistakes that cause oxygen deprivation
  • Delayed use of a C-section to deliver the baby
  • Misuse of birth equipment such as forceps or vacuums
  • Premature delivery and the complications that arise with it
  • Failure to monitor the baby or mother before, during, or after birth

Remember, not every case of a birth injury necessarily points to medical malpractice. It’s up to parents to prove negligence, often by showing that one or more of the above complications took place. Medical malpractice means the doctor or other healthcare professional failed to adhere to established standards of medical care. Another way of describing it is that the professional committed errors or omissions that were unreasonable in light of the circumstances.

Proving malpractice is essential to winning the compensation that the baby and mother will need to pay for medical bills and related expenses, to cover the time the mother missed from work to recover, and to cover future medical costs that the child may need. Some children suffer long-term or even permanent injuries and may require care for the rest of their lives. A medical malpractice lawyer can help obtain compensation for these and other damages.

Birth injury cases are complicated, and doctors and hospitals are defended by well-funded attorneys and powerful insurance companies. If you or your baby suffered a birth injury, you need an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Reach out to Hale & Monico today.