The birth of a child is one of the most incredible moments in anyone’s life. Unfortunately, tragedies occur if the medical professionals delivering the baby are negligent in their duties, and there are numerous injuries a newborn infant may suffer as a result. Any expectant parent should know their rights in case a birth injury affects their family.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
There are countless factors that will influence a newborn’s health and quality of delivery, but any injuries to the newborn that result from careless or irresponsible actions of negligent medical practices may entitle the parents to claim legal damages. Some of the most common types of birth injuries to newborns that their parents sue for include:
- Cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy, which may result from birth complications or oxygen deprivation
- Bone fractures from improper delivery procedures or mishandling the infant
- Shoulder dystocia, a condition that affects babies with higher-than-average birthweight where the baby is essentially stuck after the head exits the mother
- Hypoxia or perinatal asphyxia, conditions that result from oxygen deprivation
- Cephalohematoma, which causes pooling of blood between the skull and surrounding skin
- Fetal lacerations, in which the infant is injured by surgical instruments during a caesarian-section (C-section) delivery
- Spinal cord injuries
- Wrongful death
There are many more, but the most important thing to remember is that the health care professional presiding over the delivery should be able to identify and address any complications that may cause these conditions.
Birth injury cases may not only involve the infant. The health care professional delivering the baby must also be able to monitor and assess the health of the mother, and ensure that she does not bleed or suffer excessively. For example, preeclampsia, which describes a mother’s high blood pressure prior to delivery, is a common health concern that the doctor, midwife, or health care professional should be carefully monitoring.
Proving Negligence and Pursuing Damages
Birth injuries are extremely traumatic experiences. What should be a joyous occasion can quickly become the most emotionally devastating experience of the parents’ lives if negligent medical practices cause a birth injury. In order to claim damages, the parents must prove negligence on part of the defendant. This includes:
- Establishing a medical relationship existed between the victim and the doctor or health care professional
- The defendant owed the victim a duty of care to ensure a safe delivery and do no harm to the mother or her infant
- This duty was violated in some capacity through a negligent action or inaction
- The injuries to the newborn or the mother were the direct result of this breach
Birth injuries typically fall under the purview of medical malpractice law. If another reasonably skilled medical professional would not have made the same error, then the victims probably have cause to pursue damages.
In birth injury cases, the victims may be able to claim damages for additional medical expenses they incur as a result of the malpractice. They may also be eligible to claim damages for the cost of the ongoing treatments their child or the mother may need from any birth injuries, as well as the pain and suffering that accompanies tragic events like birth injuries or the wrongful death of a newborn. The attorneys of Douglas, Haun & Heidemann believe that negligent health care professionals should be held accountable for their irresponsible actions and pay for the physical and emotional damage they cause.
The birth of a child should be one of the happiest times in a family’s life, and medical malpractice can quickly turn such occasions into tragedies. For any birth injury cases in the Springfield, Mo., area, the legal experts of Douglas, Haun & Heidemann will fight on the behalf of victims so they can focus on healing. Reach out to our team to start discussing your case today.