Medical Malpractice during Birth

By Peter DePaolis

The birth of a child is a special time for most parents, but unfortunately, for others, injuries to babies during birth happen occasionally. In the United States, the birth injury rate is about seven for every 1,000 births, which amounts to 76 a day. The rate is worse for private, non-profit hospitals versus for-profit ones and larger ones versus smaller ones.

Over the past year, judges and juries throughout the country have been recognizing the damage caused by negligent medical professionals when a child is being born. A California judge approved $5.75 million for a family whose baby boy suffered severe and permanent brain injury because of a lack of oxygen to his brain during birth. A jury in South Carolina recently awarded a family $4.4 million, alleging that a nurse failed to monitor the baby’s heart rate and realize that he required urgent medical attention. The boy was born with cerebral palsy and died at the age of five as a result.

If your newborn has experienced complications and injuries because of something medical professionals did or failed to do, a Washington, D.C. or Northern Virginia personal injury lawyer can help you receive compensation for your medical bills and suffering.

Preventing Baby Birth Injuries

Causation of more common injuries that occur during birth includes:

  • Cerebral palsy – Deprivation of oxygen during the birthing process that results in brain damage of the child.
  • Broken bones – For most babies born with broken bones, the injuries will heal without any problem, but for others, the injuries may be painful and surgery may be required.
  • Facial paralysis – Caused by pressure on the baby’s face by the use of forceps during the delivery. The paralysis may improve over the first few weeks, or it may require surgery.
  • Bruising – Caused by forceps, the use of vacuum extraction, or the trauma of passing through the birth canal. These marks and cuts usually go away on their own.

Medical malpractice liability applies to medical professionals when they:

  • Fail to anticipate birth complications that would have been reasonable to anticipate
  • Fail to respond to fetal distress
  • Misuse forceps or a vacuum extractor during the delivery of the baby
  • Use improper or incorrect doses of drugs
  • Perform negligent and dangerous acts

Contact an experienced Northern Virginia or Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyer at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P if your child experienced complications relating to his or her birth.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.