Medical mistakes can cause birth injuries before, during, or after delivery and affect a child for the rest of his or her life. In addition to the emotional challenges that the child and family are likely to face, life-changing birth injuries can lead to steep medical bills and expenses. To help relieve the financial burden many families of children with debilitating birth injuries may be able to seek compensation with a birth injury lawsuit.
Medical Mistakes That Cause Birth Injuries
There are several medical errors that can lead to birth injuries. Some mistakes can cause minor injuries from which infants may make a full recovery. Others cause severe life-changing injury, potentially necessitating lifelong care for the affected child. Some preventable injuries that doctors and other medical professionals could cause through negligence include cerebral palsy, pediatric stroke, or hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and subsequent brain damage.
Potential medical mistakes that healthcare professionals could make include:
Medication errors occur throughout labor or delivery and could increase the risk of injury for both mothers and infants. Medications such as Pitocin, which is used to induce labor, have strict regulations in place to prevent improper use that causes complications. All staff should only administer the medications necessary to facilitate a safe birth in the correct dosages.
Failure to Monitor for Complications
Doctors and nursing staff who are responsible for facilitating birth and delivery are required to consistently monitor the vitals of the fetus, including heart rate and oxygen levels. Failure to monitor or misreading vitals, possibly due to defective medical devices, could drastically increase the risk of birth injuries.
Depending on the circumstances of the delivery, doctors may use traditional techniques or medical tools to deliver a child. However, injuries could develop if either is used improperly. For example, improper use of tools such as forceps and vacuum extractors could lead to disfigurement, lacerations, brain damage, or paralysis. Without tools, a doctor could push or pull on the fetus with excessive force, potentially causing irreversible nerve damage.
Neglecting to Perform a Necessary C-section
Oftentimes, C-sections are required for safe delivery. Complications, such as strangulation via the umbilical cord, potentially lead to brain damage or death if the procedure isn’t performed promptly. Failure to perform a timely C-section could make medical staff liable for injuries resulting from an avoidable delay.
Any of these medical mistakes can cause serious injuries to infants that impact the rest of their lives. It is for this reason that medical staff must meet standards of care in place for every birth and delivery.
Determining Liability in Birth Injury Cases
Birth injury cases are especially complex due to the intricacy of medical malpractice and liability. A lawsuit will entail determining who was responsible for the birth injuries, whether the injuries were preventable, and whether negligence or a breach of duty of care caused the injuries.
Damages Recoverable in Birth Injury Cases
Parents of infants injured during birth can recover a variety of damages. Medical bills, equipment, long-term treatment costs, prescriptions, and loss of earning potential in adulthood can be compensated for in a claim.