What Is Birth Injury Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a health care professional fails to meet the basic standard of care, resulting in harm to a patient. When medical malpractice occurs at birth, the resulting birth injuries may affect a newborn for the rest of their lives.
Birth injury malpractice can cause:
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy (brachial plexus injuries)
- Shoulder dystocia
- Spinal cord injury
- Brain damage
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
- Wrongful death
Failure to protect a mother or baby from harm during birth may result in a birth injury malpractice lawsuit. These lawsuits help families afford treatments to care for their injured child.
If you believe medical malpractice led to your child’s birth injury, you should consider consulting with a lawyer. Skilled birth injury attorneys can study your case and help you file a lawsuit to access financial compensation.
Do you suspect your child’s birth injury was caused by medical malpractice?
Causes of Child Birth Injury Malpractice
The primary cause of birth injury malpractice is careless or reckless behaviors exhibited by healthcare professionals in the delivery room.
Healthcare providers receive many years of training so they can properly care for their patients. However, some doctors disregard their training and make careless mistakes that may result in serious injury or death.
In 2015, a lawsuit was filed against a doctor for using excessive force while under the influence of alcohol during childbirth which resulted in an Erb’s palsy injury.
Examples of Birth Injury Malpractice
- Failure to diagnose a maternal infection that causes harm to the baby
- Failure to order proper tests for the mother before delivery, such as blood tests
- Failure to recognize symptoms of jaundice or other neonatal conditions
- Improper use of forceps or vacuum extraction tools
- Lack of aftercare for mother and/or child
- Misdiagnosing a life-threatening birth trauma as a less serious condition
- Performing risky surgeries or not performing a needed surgery on time
- Prescribing medications that can injure an unborn baby
The mother can also suffer from permanent injuries sustained during childbirth.
Maternal health issues include:
- Blood clots
- Uterine rupture
Types of Birth Injury Malpractice
Birth injury malpractice is sometimes identified by the specific condition a child has been diagnosed with. Learn how birth injury malpractice can cause health problems such as Erb’s palsy and cerebral palsy below.
Cerebral Palsy Malpractice
Cerebral palsy is a permanent disability caused by brain damage that affects muscle control and/or mental function. While some cerebral palsy cases develop due to unpreventable factors such as genetic mutations, most cases are linked to brain injuries from medical negligence.
Examples of cerebral palsy malpractice include:
- Failure to treat meningitis, encephalitis, or jaundice (all of which can cause brain damage)
- Improper use of delivery tools, like forceps, that leads to brain damage
- Incorrect monitoring of fetal heart rate during delivery
In 2015, a Tennessee family was awarded $15 million by a jury for their child’s cerebral palsy. The birth injury was caused by failure to properly monitor fetal distress.
A birth injury attorney can help determine if your child developed cerebral palsy due to medical malpractice.
Erb’s Palsy Malpractice
Erb’s palsy occurs when a group of brachial plexus nerves in the shoulder are pulled away from the neck. This can lead to numbness, weakness, or even paralysis of the arm, shoulder, and/or hand.
In 2016, a Connecticut family was awarded $4.2 million when a jury found the midwife responsible for their child’s Erb’s palsy. The injury occurred due to improper pulling on the child during birth.
What to Do If You Suspect Birth Injury Malpractice
If you believe your child was the victim of malpractice during the birthing process, it is important to make sure their condition is not immediately life-threatening. For example, meningitis or other infections can be fatal if left untreated.
Once you know your baby is not in immediate danger, take note of their health and identify any symptoms of the birth injury. It is important to get a diagnosis if you haven’t already done so.
You may want to consider contacting an experienced birth injury lawyer to get a free consultation and file your medical malpractice case.
Do you suspect your child’s birth injury was caused by medical malpractice?
Seeking Birth Injury Malpractice Compensation
Birth injuries can put emotional and financial burdens on the family affected. For example, care costs for a child with cerebral palsy can be 26 times higher than someone without the condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Thankfully, you may be able to access compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit to help may for your child’s birth injury treatment.
Birth injury malpractice compensation can help cover:
- Adaptive equipment
- Birth injury care plans
- Emotional damages (pain and suffering)
- Loss of earnings
- Medical expenses (medication and surgery)
- Physical, speech, and occupational therapy
To pursue compensation, connect with an experienced birth injury attorney. Your lawyer can build your case and help you file a birth injury lawsuit against the doctors that are responsible for your child’s injury.
How Do You Prove Birth Injury Malpractice?
To prove a birth injury malpractice case, your lawyers will need to show that the doctor who delivered your child did something they knew could cause potential harm.
Steps to prove birth injury malpractice:
- Prove the mother was a patient of the doctor and was under their care
- Show how the doctor in question was negligent
- Explain how the doctor’s negligence harmed the child
- Determine what damages were caused by this injury (such as loss of income, pain and suffering, medical bills, etc.)
Lawyers will typically gather evidence such as medical records and testimonies from you or your loved ones to support your birth injury malpractice claim.
Contact a Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
If your child suffered a preventable birth injury because of medical malpractice, it is your right to seek legal compensation.
Caring and skilled lawyers are available to listen to your story and start the legal process if you qualify. It is best to consult a birth injury law firm that has handled other medical malpractice and personal injury claims successfully.
To see if you’re eligible to file a cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy malpractice claim, our team of Patient Advocates can connect you with a legal partner. Get started today with a free case review.
Birth Injury Medical Malpractice FAQ
How common is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is one of the leading causes of death after cancer and heart disease. In 2016, Johns Hopkins Medicine found that medical errors accounted for 250,000 deaths In the United States. These statistics cover patients of all ages, but birth injuries specifically are a common occurrence in malpractice cases.
Many hospitals and health care centers avoid these topics of conversation for obvious reasons. However, it is essential to know that negligence is not impossible.
What is the most common reason for malpractice?
Malpractice involving newborns most commonly occurs when doctors don’t properly treat injuries.
According to data released in 2019, 63% of all birth injury cases involving infants were related to the treatment of childbirth injuries. The second most common cause of birth injury malpractice lawsuits, at 14%, was failure to diagnose.
What is the difference between medical malpractice and medical negligence?
In a birth injury malpractice case, a doctor understands the possible risks to a patient but ignores them. Medical negligence is slightly different: it is any mistake that a doctor makes that harms the patient.
For example, a doctor who uses excessive force to deliver a baby may have committed malpractice since they knew doing so could cause harm. On the other hand, a doctor who fails to diagnose an infection in an expectant mother may be guilty of medical negligence since they made a mistake.
Is birth injury malpractice difficult to prove?
Birth injury malpractice is not hard to prove if you have the right lawyer by your side. A skilled birth injury attorney can build a strong case on your behalf to show how the doctors that delivered your child committed medical malpractice.
What is the average payout for a birth injury malpractice claim?
According to a study by the TDC Group, medical malpractice claims relating to injury incidents for children less than a month old were awarded an average of $936,843.
The value of your birth injury malpractice claim may depend on the type of birth injury, the strength of your evidence, and the total of estimated medical costs. Contact our team today to get a free case evaluation to learn more about your potential case value.