While many births occur without incident, some babies suffer injuries during labor and the birthing process. While the majority of birth injuries will resolve with no lasting effects to the child, some can cause permanent disfigurement or disability.
Birth injuries are unfortunate and it is understandable that parents would want to seek justice and compensation for their baby’s injuries, but it is important to note that not all birth injuries are the result of malpractice. Unless you are able to prove that the doctor acted negligently by operating outside of the industry’s standard of care, you do not have a case.
If you believe your case was due to a medical professional’s negligence, call a New York birth injury lawyer from Buttafuoco & Associates for help: 1-800-NOW-HURT.
Types of Birth Injuries
There are many types of birth injuries. Some result in serious consequences while others resolve with a short amount of time. The following are some of the most common birth injuries that might occur due to negligence.
- Hypoxia and brain damage: fetal oxygen deprivation, causing irreversible brain damage
- Brachial plexus injuries: where the fetus’ shoulder nerves are compressed, causing a limp arm or difficulty grasping
- Cerebral palsy: several issues can cause this condition including lack of oxygen to the fetus, maternal infections, and premature births
- Fetal death: which can occur due to lack of oxygen, distress during a breech or prolonged delivery, or complications inside the womb
- Injuries due to medical errors: These can include injuries to either the mother or the baby
Many minor birth injuries, such as skin discoloration, lacerations, and minor hematomas, will fade or heal within a few days or weeks with proper care. Birth injuries that require litigation are often the ones that cause long-term or permanent damage to the infant.
Risk Factors for a Birth Injury
Some birth injuries appear during labor or delivery, while others may not manifest until the infant is a few days old. Certain risk factors may increase the potential for a birth injury:
- Large fetal size or weight (i.e., macrosomia)
- Use of instruments (e.g., forceps, vacuum extraction) during delivery
- Vaginal breech delivery (e.g., can cause oxygen deprivation, brain damage)
- Abnormalities in the mother’s body
- Pregnancy-related conditions (e.g., preeclampsia, gestational diabetes)
- Extreme prematurity
Identifying a Preventable Birth Injury
Identifying a preventable birth injury requires that you identify actions taken by your doctor that defied the standard of care (i.e., all medical professionals have a duty to give the best care possible under the industry standard for their specific field).
For example, your doctor should monitor your baby’s position in the womb before active labor and assess whether vaginal or cesarian delivery of a breech birth is the best option.
Your doctor must also have monitored conditions inside your body that could affect your baby’s health. For example, if your doctor did not monitor your gestational diabetes and it caused injury to your baby, you may be eligible to file a claim.
As long as you can prove that your doctor acted outside of a reasonable standard of care and that action caused your infant harm, you have the right to seek damages.
Note: Remember that an injury that occurs when the doctor was acting under accepted protocol is likely not malpractice. For help determining and establishing malpractice, call a New York birth injury attorney from Buttafuoco & Associates.
Long-term Complications and Compensation for Your Damages
Serious birth injuries such as brain damage from lack of oxygen can create life-long damages for your infant and your family. Raising a child with severe brain damage or physical or mental limitations is costly and may require one parent to stop working to provide full-time care.
The potential losses from a birth injury are many:
- Medical costs of post-birth care
- Parental work loss
- Future medical care
- Medical devices
- Home health care or enrollment in a special school
- Cost of caring for a permanently mentally or physically challenged child
- Home or vehicle renovations
- Pain and suffering (emotional damages)
Do not accept a birth injury settlement until you have reviewed the situation with a New York birth injury lawyer. Your lawyer can help you estimate the full scope of damages, calculate future expenses and losses, and negotiate a settlement that takes care of your needs.
Talk to the birth injury attorneys at Buttafuoco & Associates for information about your situation and options. Call 1-800-NOW-HURT to set up a free case review.