A child’s birth should be a time of celebration for the parents and family. Tragically, some children are injured before, during, or shortly after birth due to medical negligence. What should have been a joyful moment can quickly turn bittersweet as parents come to grips with the reality that their newborn has been harmed. In some cases, the mother may have also been hurt during her pregnancy and the birthing process. A Suburban Maryland birth injury is not just emotionally devastating. They can mean substantial medical bills and other damages. In the case of injured babies, these expenses could last the rest of the child’s life. If you or your baby suffered a birth injury because of medical malpractice in Maryland, you deserve the seasoned legal counsel of Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP.
Common Birth Injuries To Children
- Pregnancy and labor are sensitive times for mothers and their unborn babies. Medical doctors responsible for monitoring the mother’s and child’s progress and overseeing the birth must therefore take care. A lot can go wrong, resulting in these and other injuries to the child:
- Erb’s palsy. Paralysis of the baby’s arm caused by nerve damage. It can cause muscle weakness and loss of motion, among other conditions.
- Cerebral palsy. A neurological disorder due to abnormal brain development. This injury affects the child’s balance and movement.
- Preeclampsia. This is also known as toxemia, and it results from high blood pressure and distress to the mother.
- Birth asphyxia. This occurs as a result of interruption of oxygen flow to the baby. Asphyxia can occur before, during, or immediately after birth.
- Spinal cord injuries. Usually caused by compression of the baby’s spinal cord during delivery. Any improper delivery of the baby can cause damage.
- Intracranial hemorrhage. Serious bleeding in the baby’s brain that causes additional injuries. Possible complications include developmental problems or even death.
- Shoulder dystocia. The baby’s shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pelvis. It can cause harm to both the baby and the mother.
Common Birth Injuries To Mothers
Newborns are not the only ones who can suffer birth injuries. Although some of these are mild and will clear up in a matter of days, others can cause significant complications. Here are a few examples:
- Uterine rupture. May occur before or during labor and delivery as a result of trauma or the size of the baby. This can lead to hemorrhaging and even death.
- Uterine inversion. If the placenta remains attached to the uterus during birth, it can pull the uterus inside out, resulting in potentially life-threatening problems.
- Vaginal tearing. The size and position of the baby, and speed of the delivery, may cause tearing. While minor tears are common, more serious ones could require surgery.
- Broken bones. Improper delivery of the baby may cause broken bones, which can take months to heal.
- Pelvic prolapse. Pelvic organs, such as the uterus, can become prolapsed because of the birth. There are different stages of severity.
When Is A Suburban Maryland Birth Injury The Result Of Malpractice?
It’s important to note that not all birth injuries to the child or mother are the result of medical malpractice. Some injuries occur naturally and in a manner that is simply unavoidable. Contrary to popular belief, even a medical mistake is not itself proof of malpractice.
There are generally four elements that must be proven to establish medical malpractice, also called medical negligence:
- Duty of care. This arises out of the doctor-patient relationship.
- Breach. This is an act or omission that violates the duty of care.
- Causation. The breach must have actually caused injury to the mother and/or child.
- Damages. As a result, the mother and/or child suffered damages (e.g. medical bills to correct the injury).
What Counts As A Breach?
Proving a breach is one of the most difficult parts of a birth injury lawsuit. A simple mistake is not enough; rather, the mistake must be unreasonable in light of the circumstances. Another way of describing this is that the doctor, hospital, or other individual or entity failed to treat the child and/or mother according to accepted standards of professional medical care.
Every case of malpractice is different. But these are the most common examples of breaches that cause birth injuries:
- Failing to identify or address issues with the mother that arise during pregnancy
- Failing to identify or address genetic and other complications with the unborn child
- Medication errors, such as improper dosage or administering the wrong drug
- Oxygen deprivation to the child, which may result from umbilical cord entanglement
- Delayed use of C-section to deliver the child
- Misuse of birth equipment such as forceps and vacuum
- Complications that result from a premature delivery
- Failing to properly monitor the mother or baby before, during, or after the birth
Possible Damages In A Maryland Birth Injury Lawsuit
Depending on the nature of the injuries to the mother and/or child, the victims may be entitled to compensation for these and other types of damages:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses and related costs
- Physical disability expenses and caretaking services for the child
- Loss of future earnings for the child
- Lost wages and lost future wages for the mother
- Loss of companionship of the child
- Loss of quality of life for mother and child
- Occupational therapy and counseling
- In-home nursing services and care
- Special vehicles, adaptive medical equipment, and home modifications
- Pain and suffering and emotional distress
Contact Our Maryland Birth Injury Attorney Today
Doctors and hospitals are backed by powerful law firms and insurance companies who will fight any claim of malpractice tooth and nail. If you or your child have suffered a birth injury, you’ll need skilled legal counsel that is ready to fight for you from day one. Count on the trusted attorneys of Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP. Call today.