All parents want to have a healthy baby, but sometimes it is simply out of their control. Statistics show that out of every 1,000 infants born in the United States, between 6 to 8 of them will be born with some type of birth injury. Birth injuries can have a lasting effect on the infant as well as the infant’s parents and family members.
What Is a Birth Injury?
Birth injuries commonly arise due to physical pressure during the birthing process. This typically happens in or around the birth canal. Sometimes, an infant will suffer injuries that simply heal themselves and resolve without the need for any medical treatment or future procedures. Others are not as lucky.
Some of most common birth injuries are as follows:
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Brachial plexus
- Perinatal asphyxia
- Shoulder dystocia
- Facial paralysis
Causes of Birth Injuries
Nearly 28,000 newborns across the United States suffer injuries either during or shortly after childbirth. Generally speaking, birth injuries can arise out of natural causes or the liability of a healthcare professional, doctor, or hospital. Sometimes, a combination of both can be in play.
- Natural causes – birth injuries may occur and there’s nothing that anyone can do about it. Congenital defects may arise and develop while the fetus is still in the womb. Sometimes, doctors monitoring a pregnant woman can identify abnormalities, while other times they are not known until the baby arrives. Naturally caused birth injuries can include down syndrome, autism, congenital heart defects, and cleft palates.
- Medical negligence – in contrast to birth injuries that occur as a result of natural causes or factors, others are caused by the negligence of a doctor or healthcare professional. Medical malpractice is often defined as a failure to meet proper standards or the standard of care of the medical community in which the treatment took place.
Examples of Birth Injuries Caused by Healthcare Negligence
To assert a valid birth injury case, it is not enough just to show that your child was born with a birth defect. Instead, an extra step must be taken – it must be proven that it was caused by medical error, negligence, or malpractice. In each case, the specific facts of the delivery will be critical, as will the medical history of the parents. To show that a doctor caused a birth injury like cerebral palsy to occur, you will need to show that he or she did not act as other doctors would have acted given the circumstances.
What are examples of a deviation from the relevant standard of care in properly delivering a baby? Consider these examples:
- Excessive force causing trauma
- Failing to perform a C-section when necessary
- Delaying to perform a C-section
- Prematurely delivering a baby
- Failing to properly identify or treat an infection
When a parent has a baby with a significant birth defect, the most important concern is how to properly care for the newborn. Consistent and competent medical care will always be needed, as birth injuries will require extensive care and attention. To learn whether you may have a potential case for medical malpractice, it is recommended that you consult with a qualified attorney that specializes in birth injury cases. At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, our personal injury attorneys have the resources to get started immediately on your case. For example, we can gather relevant medical records, consult with expert witnesses, and take other steps needed to properly assert your case.
Even though you have immense responsibilities in caring for your loved one, please note that every state has a specific statute of limitation for personal injury and medical malpractice claims. In Tennessee, for example, the statute of limitation on a medical malpractice or healthcare liability action is one year from the date of incident or date of the learned mistake. It is critical to allow enough time to fully investigate the facts of your situation and comply with the proper legal requirements. For a free consultation with our personal injury lawyers in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, or Missouri, call us at 800-529-4004 or fill out our online form.