Was There a Medical Error? Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer Today

The birth of a child, whether your first or your fifth, should to be a moment for celebration and rejoicing. Although childbirth has become somewhat routine, between six and eight infants out of every thousand born will experience a birth injury. It may surprise you to learn that the United States has the worst maternal mortality ratio in the industrialized world. Mistakes can happen, and you should call a birth injury lawyer in Baltimore when they do.

Many of these injuries are natural consequences of the strenuous act that is childbirth. Nevertheless, medical professionals have a duty to provide proper care to prevent and resolve any injuries that may occur during childbirth. While the mere presence of a birth injury does not automatically justify legal action, failure on the part of the medical team to adequately treat it is. When negligence or carelessness are involved, you have the right to pursue justice.

Was There a Medical Error? Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer in Baltimore Today

Common Birth Injuries to Mothers

To begin, we should consider what kinds of birth injuries commonly occur. Some injuries are more likely to occur during childbirth than others. Even when an unusual injury appears, medical staff need to take the proper action to resolve the problem and ensure it does not cause lasting harm to the patient. In the case of mothers, specifically, there are several injuries that frequently occur and others that may be the result of poor medical practices.

Torn Tissue

Among the most common injuries to mothers during childbirth is torn tissue. Although the birth canal can expand considerably to accommodate a newborn, many patients experience some degree of tearing. Minor tears only damage the outer layers of the perineal skin, while more severe tears can damage muscle tissue. These latter cases may call for surgery, which your doctors must perform correctly.

These injuries are more common in forceps-assisted deliveries. While doctors are responsible for choosing the best methods in every scenario, unnecessarily using tools that are known to increase injury can be seen as a sign of negligence.

Broken Bones

Broken bones are more common in the infant than the mother, but can be the result of poor positioning on the delivery bed or inadequate bedding. Pelvic bones and the coccyx are the most commonly damaged bones in these cases. Doctors have a responsibility to follow up on reports of any residual pain and confirm whether bones in these areas have been damaged.

Organ Damage

Several internal organs can be injured during childbirth. While these are far less common, they present doctors with complicated decisions that need to be made quickly. These are the scenarios where mistakes are commonly made. For instance, damage to the uterus during birthing may force doctors to perform an emergency hysterectomy.

Organs can also prolapse, requiring doctors to secure them or, in severe instances, perform surgery. Pelvic organs such as the bladder are particularly susceptible to prolapse during childbirth. Cases like these call for the utmost care from medical staff.

Common Birth Injuries to Infants

Infants’ fragility makes them vulnerable to injuries during the arduous birthing process. In some instances, however, these injuries may be caused by overzealous doctors or through carelessness. Many newborn injuries are minor and clear up on their own with little intervention. Others can have life-long
impacts on your child.

Cerebral Palsy

One of the most tragic injuries is cerebral palsy. Unlike brachial palsy, cerebral palsy starts in the brain and cannot be cured as of yet. Often, cerebral palsy is the result of not getting enough oxygen during childbirth. This oxygen deficiency damages brain cells, which leads to poor communication between neurons in the brain later on.

If your doctors failed to respond in a timely manner to a complication during childbirth, they may have contributed to the development of cerebral palsy. For instance, the decision to abort a natural birth and choose a cesarean may not have been made in time, leading to this debilitating condition.

Bone Fractures

Perhaps the most common injury is a broken collarbone. A great deal of stress is placed upon your baby’s shoulders during delivery. Given how common this is, your doctors should verify your child’s condition and ensure you don’t leave the hospital unaware. Fortunately, these injuries typically heal themselves quite quickly thanks to how fast newborns recover from birth.

Nerve Damage

Similarly, intense pushing through the birth canal can pinch and even damage nerves, which can cause several minor injuries. Facial paralysis can be caused by forceps in addition to natural causes. This typically improves over the course of a few weeks without additional medical attention. Only in extremely rare cases where nerves have been torn would doctors need to intervene with surgery.

A more serious injury known as brachial palsy can occur when the nerves leading into the arms and hands are damaged. This may take a few months to resolve and should be accompanied with a light therapeutic regimen to restore range of motion.

C-Section Injuries

While we’re on the topic of cesarean births, know that they are not a panacea. Complications can occur with C-sections, and they introduce a slew of new concerns that doctors have to manage. Due to the more invasive nature of a C-section, doctors must exercise additional caution. Mistakes during C-section births can have severe consequences that can even complicate future pregnancies.

Infections

Any time a patient undergoes a surgical procedure, there’s a risk for infection. However, that risk is amplified when the surgical wound is larger. Few incisions are larger than the ones used in this procedure. Doctors must maintain strict compliance with sanitary protocols to prevent infection.

Should you experience an infection shortly after your C-section, this may be a sign that protocols were not followed. Conversely, an infection that occurs several days or weeks after the procedure is more likely to have resulted from poor care of the wound.

Complications With Anesthesia

Anesthesia may be used during a natural birth, and it’s a requirement for cesarean births. Spinal and epidural blocks may not be properly placed, leading to unnecessary pain or discomfort during delivery. Furthermore, poor placement may cause mild nerve damage in the area which can cause discomfort for some days after birth.

Although rare, some people do have allergic or other adverse reactions to anesthesia. It’s your doctor’s duty to review your file and make every effort to rule out the possibility of this happening.

What Should You Do If You Believe a Medical Error Caused a Birth Injury?

If you or your newborn experienced any of the aforementioned injuries, or one that we did not consider, you may want to contact a birth injury lawyer. Birth injury lawyers represent mothers and their children when a birth injury occurs and results in injuries, and have extensive knowledge in the field of medical malpractice law. If a medical error did occur, you are entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, in addition to recovering past and future medical expenses.  Both parents are typically entitled to compensation when injuries occur to their newborn as a result of medical negligence.

Local lawyers know the local medical scene well. Put your trust in attorneys based in Baltimore, close to home and ready to help. Call Peter Angelos Law in Baltimore, MD to have someone review your case and determine the best approach for you.