There perhaps is nothing more devastating than to have one of the most exciting days of a person’s life turned into a lifelong tragedy as the result of a birth injury.
When birth injuries occur because of negligence, we demand full compensation for our clients from all those who may be responsible. We offer a free consultation, and we advance litigation costs on behalf of our clients so that they will not need to come out of pocket for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs typically required to proceed with a birth injury case.
We Provide Full Service Representation
We’ll help you with gathering medical bills and responding to hospitals and others seeking payment. We’ll help with contacting your insurance company to ensure that you and your child are receiving the full benefits to which you are entitled. When a birth injury occurs, your focus should be on caring for your child and your family – not in dealing with bills and insurance companies.
We’ll be there when you need us.
We know that you will have many questions – we make ourselves available (even on off-hours) to answer client questions.
What is a Birth Injury?
The term “birth injury” generally refers to not only injuries that occur at birth, but also to injuries that may have been sustained prior to birth or in the period after birth. As an example, a birth injury can occur during pregnancy from inadequate testing to ensure fetal well-being; a birth injury can occur during labor and delivery as the result of lack of oxygen to the baby during labor and delivery; and a birth injury can occur from the failure to provide appropriate after care to a newborn baby, such as providing help breathing after birth, performing appropriate lab testing of blood sugars and bilirubin levels, or monitoring the baby’s condition.
Some birth injuries may be temporary. As an example, a newborn may suffer a broken bone during the delivery process, which may heal relatively quickly. Other birth injuries, unfortunately, may be permanent and last a lifetime, and may require substantial care.
Irrespective of the duration of the injury, if a medical mistake was made, injured babies and children deserve full compensation under the law – no matter how long the injury may last.
Birth Injury Medical Malpractice
When a professional fails to meet the standards expected in the performance of providing services and damages or injury result, the professional will be said to have committed malpractice. The key to a medical practice case, including a case for birth injury, will be (i) establishing the standards required by the professional, and (ii) proving how the professional failed to meet these standards.
To make a birth injury case, we retain noted medical experts, including obstetricians, maternal fetal medicine doctors, and nurse midwives and labor and delivery nurses, in order to establish the level of care that was required, and how the doctor or medical provider failed to meet this standard.
It’s important to understand that not all cases of birth injury are the result of medical malpractice. In accepting a new case, we will want to review the full records and consult with medical professionals to determine whether a reasonable basis for establishing a medical malpractice case exists.
Common Birth Injuries in the United States
Common birth injuries include:
- Cerebral Palsy. Babies that suffer brain or head injuries from birth may be diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy is disorder of movement, affecting muscle tone or posture. Cerebral palsy represents neurological dysfunction in the brain. Brain injury to the white or gray matter of the brain can be suffered by babies as a result of medical mistakes during pregnancy, at or near the time of birth, or after birth.
Babies with cerebral palsy may be late in meeting physical milestones such as holding their head up, sitting up, rolling over, crawling, and walking.
- Cognitive & Developmental Delays. Babies with brain or head injuries from birth may also be cognitively or intellectually delayed. They may be delayed in cognitive milestones such as tracking objects with their eyes, delayed in responding to their name and commands, and delayed in talking.
Children with cognitive and developmental delays may also require extra educational assistance and be diagnosed with learning disabilities. These children often require evaluation through an Individualized Education Placement and Plan (known as an IEP), which will help them obtain extra services and support in school.
- Seizure Disorder. Babies that have brain injuries or neurological injury from birth may also have seizure disorder.
Babies with seizure disorder often have abnormal electroencephalogram (EEG) results, which shows abnormal electrical signals in the brain.
Physically babies may present with seizures differently than older children and adults. Seizures for a baby may look more like them staring into space, not breathing/becoming blue around their fact or lips, or by making bicycling movements with their legs. Older children with seizures may present with staring, drooling, or convulsive movements.
Typically, recurrent seizures require treatment with anti-seizure medications such as Phenobarbital, Keppra, or Trileptal.
- Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE). HIE birth injuries are the result of brain damage that occurs when the baby’s brain is deprived of adequate oxygen at or near the time of birth. Often, this condition occurs when the umbilical cord becomes twisted during the baby’s birth, a condition referred to as “umbilical cord occlusion” or “umbilical cord compression.” Other birth conditions can also lead to HIE, including:
– umbilical cord knots;
– cord around the baby’s neck;
– low amniotic fluid;
– cord compression;
– cord prolapse (when the umbilical cord delivers before the baby);
– preeclampsia (elevated maternal blood pressure, protein in the urine);
– placental insufficiency;
– placental abruption;
– placenta previa (where the placenta covers the birth canal and is at risk for bleeding);
– vasa previa (where the umbilical cord is at risk for bleeding);
– placenta accreta or percreta (where the vessels supplying the placenta grow into the muscle of the uterus or grow into other organs);
– fetal growth restriction (where the baby is smaller than appropriate for age);
– uterine tachysystole (too many contractions, which create stress for the baby during labor — too many contractions can result from the use of drugs such as Pitocin or Cytotec);
– uterine rupture; and
– failure to perform timely C-section delivery where there is fetal distress.
A common sign that a baby suffered HIE is if the baby is born not breathing, if the baby is born with low or no heart rate, and if the baby suffers seizures after birth. Babies with an HIE diagnosis often receive hypothermia cooling therapy treatment within six hours after birth. Babies with HIE may have injury to the grey and white matter in their brain on head imaging such as MRI, CT or head ultrasounds.
Obstetricians and nurses are trained to carefully monitor both the baby’s and the mother’s conditions throughout the birth process, as immediate attention and action are required if potential oxygen-deprivation conditions occur. If proper action is not quickly taken, the baby can suffer permanent brain damage from oxygen deprivation.
- Other injuries from delivery. There are other injuries that can result from a negligence at delivery, including head injury, skull fracture, broken bones, and other complications. Often, these injuries are the result of a misuse of vacuum extractors or forceps, or from cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD), when the baby’s head is larger than the birth canal and is unable to fit through the pelvis. Babies can suffer permanent brain injury from injury to the head during delivery.
- After birth (neonatal) injuries. Babies can all suffer injury as the result of medical mistakes after birth. In the nursery or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), babies can also suffer brain injuries from improper ventilation (improper assistance breathing), failure to timely administer medications or blood transfusions, failure to treat low blood sugars, failure to treat extreme jaundice from hyperbilirubinemia or kernicterus, failure to appropriately monitor, and failure to appropriate manage brain bleeds, blood loss, or hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain).
- Brachial Plexus Injuries (or BPI). The brachial plexus consists of bundles of nerves responsible for hand and arm movement. During birth, a baby’s shoulders can become trapped in the mother’s birth canal, leading to what is known as shoulder dystocia. In an effort to free the baby’s shoulders, a physician can cause damage to the brachial plexus, resulting in nerve damage.
Two common types of brachial plexus injury are Klumpke’s Palsy and Erb’s Palsy.
Klumpke’s Palsy consists of injury to the lower brachial plexus nerves, which in turn can result in damage and paralysis to a baby’s forearms, wrist, and hands.
Erb’s Palsy is a type of paralysis that occurs as the result of damage to the upper nerves of arms, which can include severing of what are known as the C5-C6 nerves. This type of injury is almost always the result of shoulder dystocia occurring during birth. Damages can range from short-term injury which can cure on its own or through therapy to long-term paralysis, arm and muscle atrophy, and loss of feeling.
In addition to these birth injuries, there are numerous other injuries that can result from negligence during the birth process. If you believe that your child suffered from a birth injury, please contact our firm. We offer a free consultation, and have nurses on-staff that can review medical records as we will seek to determine whether medical malpractice occurred.
Life Care Plans for Birth Injuries
For babies who have severe birth injuries, we work with doctors, other medical experts, care nurses, and certified life care planners to develop a plan for the injured child. Such plan, referred to as a “Life Care Plan,” will address a wide variety of child-specific needs, including medical and care costs, medications, the ongoing care required by nurses and other care providers, housing, education, therapy, and many other matters. Similarly, other factors, such as the expected rate of inflation must be taken into account with the assistance of experts.
Not only are we concerned about covering medical and associated costs, we also want the injured child to have the resources to live and grow as their needs allow, which may require special education care, specialized wheelchairs, and even games.
The goal of the Life Care Plan is to fully compensate the injured child for the remainder of his or her life based upon the injuries sustained. We take extreme care in documenting all future needs of a severely-injured child, as there will be only one opportunity to prove full damages at trial. At trial, we demand that defendants provide compensation equal to the full cost of the Life Care Plan based upon their proportionate share of negligence and malpractice.
Special Needs Trusts
In the case of severe birth injuries, the amount required to fund the Life Care Plan may well reach into the millions of dollars. In a settlement or jury award, the amount paid in the case of severe birth injuries is typically placed into a Special Needs Trust. This money can then only be used for the care and welfare of the child.
Call Us for a Free Consultation
We would look forward to meeting with you and learning about your child’s case. Once we learn about the nature of your child’s birth injury, we can explain how we can help.
There are no fees unless financial compensation is obtained, and we advance litigation costs so that you will not need to be out of pocket any money as your case progresses.