A birth is supposed to be one of the most joyous moments in a family’s life. It marks the beginning of a new phase of a family. When doctors and other medical professionals are careless, negligent, or otherwise inattentive to the needs of a mother and a baby during childbirth, the outcome can be devastating.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured during, or as a result of, the birthing process, it is important to understand why. Some parents may realize that their child has particular developmental or cognitive impairments long after birth, but may remember something strange in the birthing process. No family should be forced to shoulder the burden of medical bills or the costs associated with raising a child with disabilities when the injury was caused by medical malpractice.
If you or your loved one suffered a birth injury, we are prepared to bring our medical malpractice expertise to work for you. Please speak with us at 877-416-5457 or contact us online today to learn more.
We Will Work For Compensation And Justice For Your Family
We at the Law Firm of Johnstone & Gabhart, LLP, have more than 50 years of combined experience working on some of the most complex personal injury cases in West Virginia. We understand that this is a very difficult time, and your family can rely on our care and compassion.
Our attorneys are prepared to bring a hands-on approach and comprehensive knowledge to work on birth injury cases involving:
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Injuries to the brachial plexus
- Brain injuries
- Cesarean section injuries
- Improper use of forceps
- Failure to recognize fetal distress, including oxygen intake issues
- Hypoxic and anoxic brain injury
- Obstetrical complications
- Forceps injuries
This list is not exhaustive. If you have suffered a birth injury due to any type of medical malpractice, we urge you to schedule a free initial consultation.
We understand that when a child has suffered a birth injury the parents often have many questions about what has happened and what can be done. Following are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about birth injuries and birth injury claims.
What Are The Most Common Causes Of Birth Injuries?
There are often many people involved in the labor and birth process. Mistakes made by any healthcare professionals can result in birth injuries. Some of the most common causes include:
- Failure to recognize maternal or fetal distress
- Medication errors
- Failure to treat maternal infections
- Improper use of tools such as forceps or vacuum extractors
- Premature delivery complications
- Waiting too long to perform an emergency C-section
- Improper use of anesthesia
Large babies (over 8lbs 13oz), prolonged pregnancy, and long or difficult labor also raise risks for injuries at the time of birth.
What Are Some Of The Most Common Birth Injuries?
Mistakes made during the labor and birth process can result in many different types of birth injuries. Some of the most common injuries include:
Erb’s Palsy (also known as brachial plexus palsy or brachial palsy) is the result of damage to or tearing of the nerves that supply the arms and hands (the brachial plexus) during delivery. It is most common when there is a problem delivering the baby’s shoulder (shoulder dystocia). The child can lose the ability to flex, move, or rotate the arm and hand. Erb’s Palsy can be temporary or permanent depending on the severity of the nerve damage.
Bell’s Palsy is a form of facial paralysis. It is the result of injuries to facial nerves during labor or delivery. It can be caused by the use of forceps.
Babies with Bell’s Palsy will not be able to move on side of their face or close the eye on the injured side. Depending on the severity of the nerve damage, it can gradually heal over a few weeks or it could require surgery.
Cephalohematoma is bleeding in the area between the skull bone and its fibrous covering. It may appear hours after birth as a large bump on the baby’s head. Over time, the body will usually reabsorb the blood. Some babies, however, may develop jaundice as the red blood cells break down.
Clavicle (collarbone) fractures are the most common type of fractures that occur during birth. They often occur when there are problems delivering the shoulder. A baby with a broken or fractured clavicle usually will not move the arm on the side of the fracture.
The three most common causes of oxygen deprivation are:
- Placental separation (placenta separates from the wall of the uterus)
- The umbilical cord becomes wrapped around the baby’s neck
- Problems that delay movement of the baby through the birth canal.
When the brain is deprived of oxygen, damage can occur within minutes. Brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation at birth can cause a range of problems including blindness, hearing loss, learning disabilities, and cerebral palsy.
What Is The Difference Between A Birth Injury And A Birth Defect?
A birth defect is something that develops in the fetus during pregnancy. A birth injury is something that occurs at the time of labor or birth and causes harm to an otherwise healthy baby.
Birth defects may be naturally occurring (genetic) or they may be caused by an outside influence such as prescription drugs, drinking alcohol, or unhealthy environmental conditions.
How Do Birth Injury Claims Differ From Other Personal Injury Claims?
The average personal injury claim usually involves someone who has been hurt as the result of an accident or someone else’s negligence. In most cases, both the injury and its cause are fairly obvious. For example, if someone is in a car accident, there is no arguing that a broken bone was the result of that accident.
In birth injury cases, an attorney needs to be familiar with both the legal and medical aspects of the claim. The source of the injury may not be as clear cut and it will take a certain level of familiarity with medical procedures used during labor and birth to prove negligence or medical malpractice.
This is why it is essential that you speak with a knowledgeable and qualified birth injury lawyer and don’t just take legal advice from any personal injury attorneys that you find in a Google search.
Speak With A Qualified Charleston Birth Injury Lawyer
If your child has suffered birth injuries or you believe they may have suffered injuries during the labor and birth process, our team of experienced Charleston birth injury attorneys can help. We will stand by you and fight to protect your rights and make sure that you receive the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled. You and your family don’t have to deal with the legal issues and consequences of serious birth injuries alone.