Birth Injuries

Medical Malpractice Before, During and After Delivery

Obstetricians, OB/GYNs and the nursing staff that assist these doctors have one of the most important jobs in the medical field: to care for pregnant women and deliver healthy babies. Like all other medical professionals, they have an obligation to their patients to provide a standard level of treatment and care. This applies if they are conducting prenatal tests, diagnosing a pregnant mother's medical condition, administering treatment to a pregnant woman or delivering a baby through natural childbirth or a cesarean section or assisted delivery.

Unfortunately, mothers and babies do not always receive the level of treatment they deserve. If an obstetrician or nurse is negligent or careless before, during or after delivery, this may lead to serious birth injuries that will forever change a child's life.

Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a term used to describe a number of medical conditions that affect brain function and body movement. Cerebral palsy may be caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain or a serious injury to the brain in the womb, during delivery or after birth. In some cases, cerebral palsy may be linked to medical malpractice. A delayed c-section or improperly addressed vaginal birth, for example, may cause a baby's brain to be injured or may cause a lack of oxygen to the brain. Symptoms of cerebral palsy may not present immediately after birth and may include developmental delays, involuntary movement or abnormal muscle tone.

Delayed C-Section
When an obstetrician discovers that vaginal birth is too risky, he or she should take action as quickly as possible to perform a cesarean section. Delays in identifying a problem or performing a c-section can pose a great deal of risk to both the mother and the baby during a difficult childbirth, possibly leading to preventable birth injuries.

Erb's Palsy
Erb's palsy is a type of birth injury that is caused by injury to the brachial plexus, a set of nerves running through the neck and shoulder. This type of injury may occur during childbirth if the baby's shoulder is caught behind the pubic bone or if the baby's neck is twisted unnaturally during delivery. In some cases, the damage will heal itself, in others surgery may be required and at times the damage will be permanent.

Improper Post-Delivery Care
The care that a mother and baby receive after delivery is just as important as the care they receive during delivery. Whether it was a vaginal birth or c-section, both the mother and baby may require specific medical treatment in order to avoid any complications. Negligence in post-delivery care may include medication errors, delays in identifying problems in the newborn or improper treatment of the newborn or mother.

Improper Prenatal Care
Improper medical treatment during pregnancy can be just as dangerous as medical malpractice during childbirth. Pregnant women have an obligation to properly care for themselves, avoiding drugs, alcohol and smoking and ensuring they get proper nutrition through the food they eat and prenatal vitamins. Their doctors also have an obligation to properly inform their patients of proper prenatal care, to perform necessary blood tests, ultrasounds or other tests to see how the pregnancy is progressing and also to properly diagnose and treat any medical conditions that arise during pregnancy. Improper prenatal care can lead to miscarriage or serious birth injuries.

Premature Delivery
An obstetrician should be able to properly identify the signs of preterm labor and take the proper steps to address this, whether it is to administer medication that will stop labor and aid in lung and brain development or to deliver the baby and provide neonatal care that will help the newborn live a long and healthy life. A failure to recognize or properly treat preterm labor can lead to serious complications and health problems for both a mother and baby.

Birth Injuries & Your Legal Rights

A family that has suffered as the result of malpractice leading to a birth injury may be able to take legal action against the at-fault doctor or medical facility. If your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, is showing signs of developmental delays after a particularly difficult birth or is suffering from any type of birth injury, you may wish to consider finding a qualified attorney who can help you seek justice and recover financial compensation that will pay for your child's medical care.

For more information about birth injuries, find a medical malpractice lawyer near you.