At Deratany & Kosner, our experienced Chicago childbirth injury attorneys understand that a baby with a birth injury may suffer lifelong physical and/or mental limitations. Although most women give birth in a hospital surrounded by medical professionals, a birth injury can happen at almost any point during labor and delivery. These injuries are most often the result of medical negligence or error. The most common birth injuries are cerebral palsy, oxygen deprivation, mental retardation, Erb’s Palsy, Klumpke’s Palsy, and Brachial Plexus injuries.
The ability to file a medical malpractice claim when birth injuries are of a permanent nature provides the possibility for both the newborn and its family to recover monetary damages for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future loss of earnings
- The cost of future care (i.e., aides, devices, counseling, physical therapy, tutoring)
- Conscious pain and suffering
- Loss of services
Deratany & Kosner has a strong track record protecting the rights of injury victims looking to file a claim against hospitals and other health care providers for injuries sustained during pregnancy or childbirth.
Common types of birth injuries include the following:
Negligence during pregnancy can include a failure to diagnose a medical condition affecting a mother or fetus, failure to order appropriate tests or screenings or a failure to properly manage high-risk births. In addition, doctors may also fail to properly estimate the size of a fetus or explain genetic testing options to patients.
Negligence during pregnancy can lead to the following serious medical conditions:
- Excessive vaginal bleeding
- Placental abruption
- Gestational diabetes
- Excessively long labor
- Hemorrhage of the mother during pregnancy
During the course of labor and delivery, complications can occur which result in various health problems for a newborn. Collectively, these problems are referred to as birth trauma or birth injuries. Birth injuries are generally caused by operative deliveries, whether vaginal or abdominal and are affected by circumstances such as:
- Oxygen deprivation
- Mechanical trauma
- Mistakes made by any of the numerous participants on the delivery team.
- Improper or incomplete prenatal testing/monitoring that results in a medical team being unprepared for delivery
These scenarios complicate the labor and delivery process, resulting in a statistically greater probability of occurrence of injury or death. When childbirth injuries are so severe that full recovery does not occur, they can cause devastating and debilitating health problems for the newborn which can last a lifetime.
Cerebral palsy is a serious medical condition referring to a motor coordination problem linked to head trauma. The brain controls coordination and voluntary movement. When a child is born prematurely, he or she can develop cerebral palsy before the brain is fully developed. Babies born at full term can develop the condition if there is hypoxia – a deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching tissues – or an oxygen deficiency during childbirth.
Symptoms can include facial tics, muscle spasms, underdeveloped motor control skills and posture problems.
Erb’s palsy is nerve damage resulting from damage to the brachial plexus, a mass of nerves in the armpit that is responsible for transmitting nerve signals to the arm. This damage commonly occurs due to the child’s shoulder being stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone and if a doctor does not act quickly enough to relieve the complication.
Shoulder dystocia is a medical term referring to a difficult childbirth in which a baby’s head has exited the mother but his or her shoulders are still trapped inside the mother’s pelvis. Depending on the severity of the injury and length of time the baby is locked in this position, the child can suffer a wide variety of injuries, including:
- Nerve damage, specifically in the upper brachial plexus nerves in the shoulder, resulting in a brachial plexus injury.
- Klumpke’s palsy. Partial paralysis of the brachial plexus
- Erb’s palsy. Paralysis of the arm caused by injury to the upper arm’s main nerves
- Oxygen deprivation, resulting in brain damage
childbirth. When an obstetrician or any other member of an OB/GYN department injures a baby during delivery – whether by using too much force, administering dangerous drugs that make the baby sick, or making other delivery room mistakes – your child’s future quality of life can be jeopardized.
Injuries sustained during childbirth can have a dramatic effect on the life of your family and your child. They may suffer from motor disorders that impair mobility and brain function. Your child may have severely damaged neurological function in terms of behavior, intellectual development, perception, and communication. They may require extensive therapy, surgery, and other long-term complications due to a brain injury.
When performing a C-section, it is essential that obstetricians not only perform the procedure correctly but make sound decisions regarding whether a C-section is in the best interest of their patients. In some cases, a C-section may be used in emergencies where a mother or child’s well-being is compromised. In other cases, doctors and surgeons may fail to uphold the standard of care necessary to successfully complete a procedure.
There are many common causes of C-section injuries, including:
- Performing an unnecessary C-section
- Failing to perform a C-section
- Birth injuries sustained in surgery
- Injuries sustained to the mother during surgery
- Internal organ damage to the mother
- Infections to mother or child as a result of a C-section