Birth Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice
There are few things more heartbreaking for a parent than to find out their baby was born with a birth injury. This is especially horrendous when the birth injury was avoidable and caused by the negligence of an OB/GYN, doctor, hospital, midwife or other healthcare professional. Victims may be entitled to substantial compensation for medical treatment, pain and suffering and more in birth injury medical malpractice cases.
A birth injury may be one that occurs before, during or after delivery. Most birth injuries occur in hospitals with highly trained OB/GYN's and state-of-the-art medical equipment.
Types of Birth Injuries
There are various types of birth injuries, including the following:
- Brain damage – brain damage has many causes in deliveries and may result in mental disabilty, autism, epilepsy, loss of bodily control and functions
- Cerebral anoxia – brain is completely deprived of oxygen
- Cerebral hypoxia – brain receives insufficient levels of oxygen
- Cerebral palsy – severe condition affecting motor skills, muscles, reflexes, communication skills, intellectual development and overall functioning
- Erb’s palsy – nerve injury to the shoulder and upper arm, often causes degrees of paralysis
- Brachial plexus injuries – tearing, stretching or damaging brachial plexus nerves
- Shoulder dystocia – a result of the baby’s shoulders and head getting stuck behind mother’s pelvis
- Spinal cord injuries - can result in full or partial paralysis
- Injuries caused by umbilical cord – may choke baby, resulting in brain, neck or other damage
- C-section-related injuries – failure to perform a C-section or delay in performing one
Birth Injuries Caused by Forceps and Vacuum Extractor
When the physician or medical professional chooses to use medical instruments to assist in the delivery, there are additional risks of injury. One of these instruments is the forceps. The forceps is shaped somewhat like a pair of spoons and is used to pull the baby out of the birth canal. Because of the extremely delicate nature of a newborn, even the slightest amount of excessive pressure of the forceps may cause damage, including facial tears, trauma to the eyes, skull damage or fractures, internal bleeding within the head and more.
The vacuum extractor, another medical instrument used in deliveries, may result in injuries to the newborn and/or the mother. The vacuum extractor has a rounded cup that is applied to the baby’s head in the birth canal, secured by vacuum pressure. Injuries may include a cephalohematoma to the baby’s head – a large, raised bruise, jaundice and retinal hemorrhage, or bleeding in the eyes. As well, the mother may experience vaginal or anal tears.
Who May Deliver a Baby in Florida?
There are several professionals that specialize in women’s healthcare, pregnancies and deliveries, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Obstetrician – medical doctor who specializes in the care of pregnant women
- Gynecologist – medical doctor who specializes in women’s healthcare and reproductive issues
- OB/GYN – medical doctor who specializes in pregnancies and women’s reproductive and healthcare issues
- Family doctors – some family medical doctors and general practitioners are involved in all aspects of pregnancies, including deliveries
- Certified Nurse Midwife - see below for details
Midwives are Licensed Medical Healthcare Professionals in Florida
The Certified Nurse Midwife, or CNM, is a licensed maternity care provider in Florida. Practicing midwifery in Florida without a license is a felony. Midwives are involved in prenatal and postnatal care and generally only engage in low risk pregnancies. Midwives often work in collaboration with physicians in birth centers, clinics, homes, hospitals, medical offices and elsewhere. Midwives must refer high risk pregnancies to medical doctors. Midwives must adhere to their appropriate standard of care in the same way that medical doctors must, and of course may also be liable for negligent conduct and malpractice.
Damages: Compensation for Birth Injuries Due to Negligence
Truly, birth injuries affect not only the injured newborn, but the entire family. The pain and suffering that the family endures is indescribable. Medical expenses alone may run into hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.
Depending on the case, damages may include:
- Past and future medical and related expenses resulting from the injury- These are often extensive and may include past and future surgeries, rehabilitation, medication, home health care treatment, house and vehicle alterations, educational and vocational training and much more.
- Lost income – this includes past and future lost income related to the injury. Parents often lose months or years of income caring for their child. Some parents must take care of their child full time.
- Pain and suffering – both the child and the parents may be compensated for their pain and suffering and mental anguish
You can reach Personal Injury Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email J.P. directly at [email protected].