The birth of a child is an amazing experience for parents, but a birth injury can cast a pall over what should be a joyous time. A birth injury is any injury to a newborn or the baby’s mother before, during, or immediately after childbirth. Birth injuries have the potential to leave babies with permanent disabilities and other medical complications, so it’s vital for parents to understand their rights when these injuries occur.
Birth injury lawsuits fall under the purview of medical malpractice law. After experiencing a birth injury, parents of an injured baby should seek to secure legal representation as soon as possible. Medical malpractice claims are complex affairs that often involve multiple defendants, expert witness testimonies, and extensive litigation. Parents of injured children in the Roswell, GA, area should contact Kaufman Law, P.C. for more information about medical malpractice claims in Georgia.
Types of Birth Injuries
Physicians who perform childbirth procedures must carefully monitor a mother in labor to look for signs of fetal distress and other complications that may harm the child. They must also exercise good judgment when it comes to selecting the way to perform childbirth. For example, a mother with narrow hips may not have a birth canal wide enough for the baby to exit, necessitating a Caesarean section.
Doctors must make sound medical decisions during childbirth procedures. In some childbirths, a baby will need help clearing the birth canal. A doctor may use surgical instruments or apply reasonable pressure to different spots to make it easier for the baby to exit his or her mother, but it is essential that doctors use these techniques with care. Some of the most common birth injuries include:
- Cerebral palsy. This condition describes brain damage sustained before or during childbirth, typically due to oxygen deprivation. It is not a progressive condition, so it will not worsen with age, but the symptoms can vary and have the potential to be extremely debilitating.
- Erb’s palsy, or brachial plexus. The shoulders are the widest part of a baby that must clear the mother’s birth canal, and too much pressure or the wrong angle can damage the baby’s collarbone, shoulder, or upper arm. An injury like this can cause Erb’s palsy, which may limit motor function and use in the affected arm. Over time, children born with Erb’s palsy may improve with physical therapy and other treatments.
- Wounds from surgical instruments. Forceps and other surgical instruments can cut or otherwise harm a newborn. Some doctors will use a vacuum tube extraction device to help a baby through the birth canal, but the suction force on the baby’s head can cause bleeding between the skin of the head and the skull.
This is not an exhaustive list, and a birth injury case can result from injuries to mothers, too. If the doctor failed to adequately monitor a mother in childbirth, disregarded her medical history, or otherwise failed to meet an appropriate standard of care for the situation, the doctor is liable for medical malpractice.
Suing for Medical Malpractice
A medical malpractice suit follows roughly the same framework as a personal injury lawsuit, with a few key differences. First, the plaintiff must prove that an official doctor-patient relationship existed between the plaintiff and defendant. Next, the plaintiff must prove that the doctor was negligent, and the negligence caused the birth injury. Medical malpractice claims also require testimony from expert witnesses.
Medical malpractice claims may be complicated, but that shouldn’t deter parents from seeking compensation for the damages caused by a negligent doctor or other medical professional. If you or a loved one has recently experienced a birth injury in the Roswell, GA, area, Kaufman Law, P.C. is here to help. Contact us today for more information about medical malpractice claims in Georgia or to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our attorneys.