A birth injury is devastating to families and may require extensive and expensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and care. When a birth injury is the result of medical malpractice it is caused by negligence on the part of the doctor or medical staff. Generally speaking, there are 3 main possible causes of malpractice injuries to newborns. Negligence may occur in the mistreatment of high-risk pregnancy, in the failure to properly treat fetal distress, or in the improper handling of an assisted birth.
Negligence during Pregnancy Treatment
Doctors must perform medical examinations, evaluations, and tests of the mother and fetus during the pregnancy. The failure to diagnose a significant medical condition that could be cause for complications or problems is likely considered medical malpractice. Pre-eclampsia is one of several common pregnancy complications that are treatable when diagnosed early and managed properly. If a mother’s physical condition is not adequately diagnosed and treated, the baby may suffer harm.
Failure to Quickly Treat Fetal Distress
Fetal distress is most likely to occur during prolonged or difficult labor. The baby’s oxygen supply may be diminished which can result in serious brain damage. Monitoring of both the infant and mother during labor is necessary. Immediate action is required if any problems are detected. In some cases, a c-section should be performed immediately to prevent the infant from suffering hypoxic asphyxia. Lack of oxygen, even for just a minute, may cause harm to the brain.
An infant in distress should be immediately cooled in order to reduce the effects of lack of oxygen. If this is not done, the outcome may be less optimistic. Any time an infant suffers distress during birth a complete evaluation and diagnosis must be immediately done and proper treatment administered.
Mistakes Made With Assisted Births
Sometimes the birth of a baby requires help from the doctor. For example, the infant may become stuck during delivery. In this case the doctor must use forceps or a vacuum to assist. If proper care is not used, the device can cause damage to the baby. Brachial plexus injuries can happen which can result in diminished use of the arm, paralysis of the face can occur, or even serious spinal damage could take place. Improper use of devices can also result in broken bones, bruises, and head injuries.
Resolving Negligence of Doctors
Doctors and other medical professionals are held to a high standard of care. They are expected to provide proper diagnosis and treatment to patients. When a birth injury occurs because of a mistake, the physician should be responsible. The victim is entitled to compensation for any damages that were incurred including medical costs, ongoing treatment, rehabilitation and care. Additionally, when the child’s injuries are disabling, lifelong care may be necessary. The child will no longer be able to lead a normal life. The costs associated with these types of injuries can be astronomical.
If your child was seriously hurt because of medical negligence during birth, contact the experienced legal team at Levin & Perconti to schedule a consultation.
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