Doctors, nurses, and other team members involved in bringing a child into the world have a responsibility to do all they can to keep mom and baby safe and healthy. Nearly all cases of birth injury result from a failure to uphold this duty. If you suspect your child’s birth injury was a preventable one, and you would like to hold the negligent person legally accountable for the harm caused, an experienced birth injury attorney can help.
How Negligence Happens
Negligence during labor and delivery may occur when a doctor or other medical professional’s actions cause harm, or when failure to take the necessary steps results in preventable harm.
There are a number of different reasons why a medical professional may become negligent, including lack of training, fatigue, and plain old carelessness. A doctor may fail to use or read an infant heart rate monitor or other medical technology properly, or cause C-section injuries by deviating from the accepted procedural standards. Sometimes, labor and delivery staff may overlook certain warning signs of fetal distress.
If an obstetrician fails to order the proper testing to evaluate the mother’s health, or if test results are misread, this can also lead to serious birth injury. If a doctor makes medication errors, it can cause irreparable harm to the baby.
Types of Labor and Delivery Negligence
There are many different ways a doctor or medical worker can make a mistake and cause harm during birth. Examples of labor and delivery negligence include the following scenarios.
- Lack of oxygen to the brain (asyphxia) can cause a wide range of health issues, including brain damage, cerebral palsy, and breathing disorders.
- Use of excessive force can cause physical deformities like Erb’s palsy, cranial and spinal cord injury, bone injury and fractures, and infant brain damage.
- Failure to read heart rate monitor reports correctly can cause doctors to miss important signs of fetal distress.
- Failure to order a C-section at the right time can put a child in danger.
- Failure to take transmission-prevention steps in HIV-positive mothers can cause infection in children.
- Failure to treat high-risk pregnancies with necessary caution can cause birth injury.
- Misuse of vacuum extraction can cause vacuum birth injury
- Failure to prevent or treat umbilical cord strangulation can have fatal consequences.
Determining the Truth
When were signs of distress discovered? Who was in charge of fetal monitoring? Were changes in condition reported to the correct physician and how were they handled? Does the chronological timeline of your child’s delivery make sense?
Your birth injury attorney should be able to evaluate labor and delivery reports to identify signs of negligence. He should have a deep understanding of the C-section standards set forth by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG). Finally, he should work with other medical experts to investigate your child’s birth and discover if medical mistakes occurred during delivery.