Few moments in life are as joyous as the birth of a child. However, when a child is harmed during labor and delivery, the moment can turn into one of shock and dismay. Family members may have to adjust their lives to care for a child harmed during birth. The child may require immediate medical attention as well as long-term care for a disability that directly results from the birth injury.
If the unthinkable occurred, and your child was harmed during birth, you could be eligible to take legal action against the doctor, nurse or other parties responsible for it. While the compensation obtained through a settlement or verdict would not undo what happened, it could provide you with the means to care for your child as your family moves forward.
If your child suffered an injury during birth in Indiana, you should not wait to seek legal representation. The medical malpractice lawyer at the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson has more than 15 years of legal experience with helping parents to pursue justice. Contact us today to learn more about how we can serve you. Our lawyer will review your case and help you to understand your legal options.
Birth Injuries Caused by Medical Negligence
Birth injuries are not the same as birth defects. A birth defect is a condition that occurs before or during birth because of an inherited medical condition. On the other hand, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines a birth injury as “structural damage or functional deterioration of a newborn secondary to a traumatic event that occurred during labor, delivery or both.”
The traumatic event and resulting serious injury to the baby may be the result of a negligent act or omission by a medical professional. Many physicians and other medical care providers treat babies and the mothers carrying them with the utmost care. However, oversights or improper performance of specific duties frequently causes birth injuries. Common forms of medical negligence that lead to birth injuries include:
- Improper use of forceps, vacuum extractors or other delivery instruments
- Improper administration of medications
- Failure to diagnose maternal medical conditions
- Failure to identify and adequately respond to fetal distress or plan for complicated or high-risk deliveries
- Failure to order a timely Caesarean section (C-section)
- Failure to recognize and address umbilical cord issues.
Most medical care providers will challenge any liability for their negligence. It can also be difficult to prove these types of claims. However, an attorney will know how to investigate a case and consult with highly knowledgeable medical professionals in order to determine whether negligence occurred in your child’s birth injury case.
Birth Injuries Involving Newborns
Birth injuries include a wide range of ailments that can range from minor to extremely severe. Some infants can be treated and quickly recover, while others may suffer injuries that require a lifetime of treatment. Some of the most common kinds of birth injuries which newborns suffer are:
- Brachial plexus injury, including Shoulder Dystocia, Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy
- Brain damage
- Cerebral palsy
- Facial paralysis
- Head trauma
- Hypoxic-Ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
- Oxygen deprivation
- Blood tests.
A Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (H-CUP) statistical brief which the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released several years ago provides an idea of how often medical negligence contributes to birth injuries. According to the brief, nearly 157,700 injuries to mothers and newborns that occurred during childbirth were avoidable. The brief stated that 8,877 hospitalizations for potentially preventable injuries to mothers and newborns during delivery over the course of a single year involved birth trauma or injury to a newborn.
Birth Injuries Involving Mothers
The phrase “birth injuries” typically refers to the children involved. However, mothers can also suffer severe injuries during the childbirth process. Just like birth injuries to newborns, birth injuries to mothers can also stem from medical negligence.
Mothers can suffer from many other types of injuries associated with childbirth due to medical malpractice, including:
- Post-natal post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Post-partum hemorrhage (PPH)
- Ruptured uterus
- Prolapsed uterus
- Fourth degree vaginal tear
There are also instances of maternal death as a result of medical malpractice following delivery.
Birth Injury Compensation
The financial and emotional burdens that new parents and a child must face due to a birth injury can be overwhelming. If a medical professional’s negligence during pregnancy and/or delivery directly resulted in a birth injury, families in Indiana may pursue damages that include:
- Past medical expenses related to the medical malpractice
- Future medical expenses (typically based on an expert’s opinion)
- Diminished quality of life
- Special education costs
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress.
The specific types of damages and the amount sought will depend on the unique facts and circumstances of a case. For this reason, it is important to meet with an experienced birth injury lawyer who will know how to investigate and assess the potential liability and damages in your child’s birth injury case.
Additionally, a lawyer will know how to navigate the complex medical malpractice lawsuit process in Indiana. The process requires review by medical experts as well as presentation of the case to a medical review panel before a lawsuit can be filed in a court.
Our Indianapolis Birth Injury Lawyer Wants to Help You
Did your child suffer a birth injury during labor and delivery? Are you a mother who suffered injury during your child’s birth? If so, you should learn more about you rights and options. Contact the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson today for a free consultation.