Birth Injury Caused by Negligent Medical Care

Medical professionals are among the most highly trained individuals working in the United States today. In order to be a successful physician, nurse, or medical technician you must show high levels of intelligence, poise, and on-the-spot decision-making.

Due to the sensitivity of their job duties, when medical professionals get it wrong or act negligently, significant injury can result – especially when treating women who are pregnant or in labor and delivery.

Birth Injury

Every year between 25,000 and 30,000 children suffer from birth injuries in the United States, many of them due to the negligence of one or more medical professionals. Though there are various kinds of birth injuries, some of the more common to include:

  • Cerebral palsyCerebral palsy is a relatively common physical disorder which principally affects a child’s muscular development. Those suffering from cerebral palsy often experience problems developing speech and motor skills, and may require significant care for their entire lives in order to cope with the ailment.
  • Erb’s palsyErb’s palsy (or brachial plexus injury) can result from a physician or other medical professional pulling too hard on an infant during the birthing process, resulting in damage to the nerves in the infant’s upper arm. Such damage can cause paralysis to the infant’s arm, and may require surgery for treatment.
  • Brain damage – There are a number of negligent acts during the birthing process which may result in an infant suffering from brain damage. Often such damage is irreversible, and may require significant care for the affected child for his or her entire life.

Kinds of Negligent Medical Care

In any given birthing process physicians and attending medical care professionals must perform hundreds of actions, all of which are required to successfully deliver the baby. If any of these actions is done improperly, is rushed or is not done it all, a birth injury may result.

Some common negligent actions that may lead to a birth injury include:

  • Failure to identify and treat complications during pregnancy or birth
  • Misidentification of complications during pregnancy or birth
  • Failure to perform a caesarean section when required
  • Failure to notice and treat symptoms of fetal distress
  • Failure to properly treat the baby during birth, including providing oxygen when necessary
  • Improper use of medical equipment, such as diagnostic machines
  • Improper and use of medical tools, such as forceps
  • Refusal to treat a woman who has gone into labor

Responsible Parties

While it is impossible to list every action (or lack of action) that may constitute negligent medical care, generally speaking medical professionals act negligently when they fail to follow widely recognized standards of care for a pregnant mother and/or infant. In such cases the responsible parties, including physicians, nurses, and the hospitals in which they work, may be responsible to compensate the family of the infant who suffered the birth injury.

If you or a loved one believe you may have a birth injury claim, please contact our attorneys for a free case evaluation.