Birth injuries have devastating consequences that can permanently alter the course of a child’s life. Parents, siblings, and other family members also find their lives changed after a child suffers a birth injury. You need to hold medical providers and facilities accountable for their negligence and enforce your legal right to be compensated for the injuries and losses your family will suffer. Our attorneys are experienced birth injury lawyers who know how to handle these complex cases.
Call our Saginaw personal injury attorneys at Michigan Injury Lawyers for your free initial consultation.
When Can a Child Suffer a Birth Injury?
Birth injuries can occur before, during, or immediately after a child is born. Obstetricians must be vigilant in monitoring a baby at all stages of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Here are some of the most common mistakes that can be made at each stage:
Prenatal Medical Malpractice
Proper preparation for a healthy birth is one of the easiest ways to prevent birth injuries. An obstetrician must carefully monitor a pregnancy to identify and diagnose any medical conditions in the mother or child that could complicate delivery.
- Genetic anomalies
- Gestational diabetes (this can produce a larger baby, which in turn makes delivery more complicated)
- Preeclampsia (a potentially life-threatening condition in which a mother’s blood pressure drops dangerously low due to the pressure the baby exerts on her blood vessels)
Some conditions cause damage to the baby in utero, and others complicate the delivery. A doctor has a legal obligation to reduce the risk by diagnosing the condition properly and preparing for it before birth.
Labor is an intense process that puts significant pressure on a baby’s vulnerable body. If labor does not progress appropriately, the physical trauma of prolonged labor can cause permanent damage to the baby. Because of this, obstetricians must constantly monitor both mother and child throughout labor. If labor does not progress appropriately on its own, the doctor might need to induce labor with medications or deliver the baby via cesarean section.
The medications that are used during labor are powerful. Even the slightest error in dosage can have fatal consequences - especially to an unborn baby who is still completely dependent upon its mother’s body for protection. An epidural is an especially delicate procedure. Not only could the anesthetists deliver the wrong dosage or wrong medication, but an epidural can permanently damage the spinal cord of the mother if the injection is not made in exactly the right place.
Delivery is a physically traumatic event, and there are many ways a baby can be injured during the process. Twisting, pulling, or otherwise forcing the baby out can result in permanent nerve damage. It is also easy for the doctor to break the baby’s delicate bones during delivery if he or she uses too much pressure. The instruments used to extract a baby (such as forceps or a vacuum) can also injure a child if they are not used properly.
Deliveries via C-section are rising at an alarming rate. NPR reports that the rate of cesarean deliveries has more than tripled since 1990 (from six percent of all births to about 21 percent). This is troubling because cesarean deliveries pose unique risks to both the mother and child. Doctors who negligently perform this intense surgical procedure can be liable for birth injuries that occur as a result.
Immediately After Birth
Most birth injuries are not apparent until the child is born (especially if they occurred during delivery). The moments after birth are absolutely critical, and early intervention offers the best chance of combating most diseases and injuries. If a doctor delivers a baby who is found to have an illness or injury, the doctor has a legal obligation to take the appropriate steps as soon as possible. This might mean giving the baby extra oxygen, immediately setting broken bones, or admitting the baby to the NICU for monitoring.
Whatever steps the doctor must take, he or she must take them as quickly as possible. Delays in treatment lead to lost opportunities, and your child’s injuries could be made more severe or more permanent as a result.
How Do I Know if My Child Has Suffered a Birth Injury?
Birth injuries can affect your child mentally or physically. One of the biggest indicators of mental injuries is the failure to meet developmental milestones like holding up the head, crawling, walking, and talking. Your child might experience learning disabilities and other intellectual challenges in school later on in life. It can be difficult - if not impossible - to identify mental disabilities in a newborn child who is unable to communicate verbally.
Physical disabilities can be easier to observe. Nerve damage causes obvious signs, such as drooping facial muscles. If the brachial nerves are damaged, your child might be unable to use the arms or hands. The child might be sensitive to touch or cry excessively. Here, too, early intervention offers the best treatment options. Doctors who fail to recognize physical signs of birth injury, or who fail to render appropriate treatment, can be held liable for the lasting effects of that injury.
Call Us Today for a Consultation With a Saginaw Birth Injury Lawyer
There are many ways a child can be injured before, during, and after birth. It is important to work with an experienced lawyer who knows how to handle a challenging birth injury case.
At Michigan Injury Lawyers, our skilled birth injury attorneys have helped many Saginaw families protect their legal right to compensation for medical negligence that occurs at birth. Call (989) 297-3420 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.