The birth of a baby is supposed to be one of the happiest times in a couple’s life. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
Pregnancy, labor and birth of a child can be rewarding, fulfilling and inspiring. But even if everything goes right, it can be frightening because of unfamiliar feelings, strange medical terms, detached doctors and the potential for harm.
All patients depend on their doctors and other health care providers to guide them through this important time. Most physicians deliver healthy babies. Sometimes, however, the birth process does not go the way it should.
No doctor goes into the delivery room with the intention to cause harm to a baby. Whether because of inexperience or inattention, doctors sometimes make mistakes. These mistakes can have catastrophic effects on the new lives they are bringing into the world, as well as the lives of their families.
Doctors must make sure the pregnancy is properly managed and the baby regularly and accurately monitored. Doctors have a legal obligation from the initial sonogram to the time of birth to follow medical standards of care to protect both the baby and the mother. Failure to follow these standards can lead to pregnancy complications and birth injuries.
A birth injury is defined as any trauma or injury sustained during the course of being born. They range in seriousness from minor bruising to severe infant brain damage. Many can be treated in the hospital and some heal on their own in a few days or weeks. Some, however, result in a life-long disability. The most severe trauma can cause stillbirth or the premature death of a child.
According to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, “Nearly 157,700 potentially avoidable injuries to mothers and newborns occurred during childbirth in 2006, and obstetrical traumas occurring during vaginal births with instruments accounted for the highest injury rates”.
The most common birth injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Infant brain injury
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Shoulder dystocia
- Developmental delays
- Poor muscle control
A birth injury, unlike a birth defect which involves harm that arose during the pregnancy, is caused by complications during the birthing process. Sadly, many babies would be born perfectly healthy had these complications not occurred.
The following are some examples of potential causes of birth injuries:
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a medical condition involving the mother or baby
- Delayed C-section
- Negligent monitoring of the fetus during labor or delivery
- Medication error
- Improper use of forceps
- Oxygen deprivation during birth
- Improper handling of shoulder dystocia or breech delivery
- OB/GYN error
There may be different causes of birth injuries, but when these stem from malpractice or any form of negligence of wrongdoing on the part of a medical professional, the family may be able to work with an attorney to file a birth injury lawsuit.
If your child suffered any type of birth injury, please do not hesitate to contact a lawyer at the San Bernardino personal injury law offices of Welebir | Tierney to schedule a consultation regarding your case.
We are dedicated to helping parents understand their child’s condition and guiding you through the process of securing the care and support you need.