Need Assistance with a Birth Injury Case?
Pennsylvania Birth Injury Lawyers Review You and Your Child’s Medical Records
Birth injuries are among the most devastating events in a family. Sadly, they can go unnoticed in the delivery room in the midst of so much medical activity. Unfortunately, a significant amount of these injuries will continue to deeply impact the child, parents, and loved ones for a lifetime.
Many individuals do not understand, and were not told, that the very reason their baby is suffering from is actually due to medical negligence. In fact, some common birth injuries have been connected to certain cases of cerebral palsy, hypoxia, and brain damage, among many other things. Medscape tells us that the amount of serious birth injuries each year is roughly 6 out of every 1000 births. Living with these health conditions is not only extremely painful and painfully stressful for the child and family, but the unavoidable medical expenses that continue to pile up are also a source of hardship.
If you believe there is a possibility that medical malpractice caused injury to your child during birth, it is important that you speak to a qualified birth injury lawyer for professional guidance and representation. Personal injury attorneys who have experience in med mal cases review medical records and offer legal advice to parents at no charge, so there is no reason to remain in the dark when you suspect something happened to you or your child during labor and delivery.
3 COMMON BIRTH INJURIES AND HOW THEY OCCUR
As stated before, there are many injuries that can occur during birth. These injuries tend to involve the brain, skull, nerves, spine, skeleton, and/or organs. Here, we will take a closer look into how cerebral palsy, perinatal hypoxia, and brain damage can be caused by a birth injury. We will also list some of the symptoms. It is important to know that although some symptoms show up right away, others aren’t recognized until after several months or even years.
Immediate symptoms to determine birth injury:
- Skull fractures
- Difficulty suckling, eating, swallowing
- Arched back while crying
- High-pitched crying, grunting, overall fusiness
- Low oxygen levels
- Lowered heart rate
- Sensitivity to light
- Excessive drooling
- Hand curled into a claw-like shape
- Weak or absent reflexes
- Muscle stiffness/looseness
Every case of cerebral palsy is unique to the individual, but there are many instances when the cause is revealed to be from physicians improperly monitoring, identifying, or neglecting medical issues. Traumatic consequences can occur when physicians and staff:
- Fail to acknowledge concerns, such as irregular heartbeat, despite heart rate monitors and alarms
- Fail to detect that mom has an infection that could harm her or her baby
- Fail to schedule a crucial C-section
- Fail to properly use birth-assisting tools
- Fail to ensure the infant has adequate oxygen throughout the process, including failure to correct umbilical cord when necessary and respiratory treatment after
Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
First and foremost, if a parent notices these symptoms in their child, they must seek medical care right away and learn how to manage these as soon as possible. Doing so will help decrease the severity of this disability.
Developmental Delays (could be the first indicator)
|Indicative Age||6 weeks||4 months||6 months||2 years||3 years|
|Cognitive Ability||Should be able to smile||Should be able to roll over without assistance||Should be able to sit up without assistance||Should be able to walk||Should be able to climb stairs and stand on one foot for a few seconds|
- Struggles with coordination, stiffness/ looseness, difficulty grasping, favoring a side of the body, using an unusual method to move around (arms to pull self around while dragging legs), slowness, unable to use facial muscles (excessive drooling)
- Misses cognitive milestones, low IQ
- Behavioral Disabilities
- May show signs of severe frustration and angst through mood swings, socially
- withdrawing, severe anxiety, and long bouts of crying and tantrums.*
*It has been said this negative behavior is possibly due to the individual feeling trapped in their body; they may feel misunderstood despite earnest attempts by both them and the other party.
When a baby is deprived of oxygen to their bodily tissues before, during, or after the birth process, they develop perinatal hypoxia, and this can lead to serious complications. One of the most upsetting things about this condition is that it can often be avoided as long as the right measures are taken. Some ways that this can be traced back to medical malpractice is through pinpointing:
- Failure to detect and treat maternal anaemia
- Failure to detect and swiftly resolve birth asphyxia
- Failure to adequately monitor the fetus
- Failure to prevent traumatic brain damage
- Failure to prevent placental abruption
Symptoms of Perinatal Hypoxia
The major indicator of this is when the baby is not breathing properly after birth. If this happens, neonatal therapeutic hypothermia is a treatment that can still be used within 6 hours to help the baby to survive and potentially diminish the potential long-term neurological disorders.
Some medical conditions connected to perinatal hypoxia:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Severe Seizures
- Cognitive Disabilities
- Behavioral Disorders
Brain Injury and Brain Damage
Brain damage has occurred when the brain is unable to functionally normally due to hypoxia, head injury, a serious accident, or trauma.
These are the causes for of infant brain damage:
- Oxygen deprivation
- Infant jaundice
- Physical trauma, which is due to some form of overly aggressive delivery or a faulty forceps extraction injury
Symptoms of Brain Injury
Some of the symptoms will not surface for several years, but there are still some symptoms that you may be able to notice immediately after birth.
Common symptoms include:
- Abnormally large forehead
- Abnormally-shaped spine
- Distorted facial features
- Unusually small head
- Stiff neck
- Difficulties focusing eyes
- Difficulty sleeping in lying position
- Excessive crying
- Problems feeding
- Excessively fussy for what seems to be no reason
Potential emerging symptoms
As the child grows, it will be important to continue to pay attention to their development in order to look out for cognitive, perceptual, functional, and physical symptoms.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU AND YOUR BABY ARE VICTIMS OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
- Make note of all of the symptoms that your baby is experiencing. It might also help you to videotape certain odd behaviors that show cognitive disabilities.
- Recall Details from how the pregnancy was up to delivery day and on up to current symptoms and odd behaviors. For example, if an physician fails to adequately monitor an infant immediately after birth, it could be suffering brain injuries, but they might miss it. The more names of hospital staff that took part in your child’s birth, the better.
- Ensure that your baby gets medical care as needed for these symptoms. It is good to express concern and discuss the symptoms, but be careful not to say too much to the hospital insurance representative before getting advice from a lawyer.
- Gather paperwork and keep in a safe place.
- Find a lawyer that you can trust to help you.
As you gather this information, a lawyer will determine whether these elements can be proven in a court of law:
NEGLIGENCE– What did the physician or staff neglect to do properly?
CAUSATION– How did the negligence cause the injury?
HARM– Be able to prove that the infant is indeed injured, and be able to quantify the damages.
Many birth injuries, such as cerebral palsy and any form of brain damage, will require mandatory lifelong treatment on top of the usual costs to raise a child. Although compensation will not undo the damage caused by the negligent doctor or nurse, at least negligent medical professionals will be held accountable and you will be provided with the financial relief that you now need to care for your child. It can be intimidating to challenge an entity such as a hospital or their insurance. In fact, birth injuries are listed among the most complex forms of legal litigation. That is why it is imperative for you to get the help of a qualified lawyer to guide and advise you through the process. There really is no need to struggle through this alone. It’s time to ask the lawyers.