When a baby is injured during the birthing process, the injury may be a result of a medical error or it could have happened naturally as they were being born. Because it isn’t easy to decipher when a newborn’s injury was caused naturally or by a negligent doctor, it is always recommended that you consult with a Daytona Beach, FL personal injury attorney who can help determine this. The lawyers at Pappas and Russell, P.A. have a great deal of experience with handling cases stemming from birth injuries and can assist you with determining whether you have a viable case against a doctor and/or hospital.
Why do birth injuries happen?
There are several reasons why babies suffer an injury during the birthing process. Stanford Children’s Health highlights these as some of the more common reasons:
- The baby is large.
- The baby is not head-first as he/she enters the birth canal.
- The baby is born too early (i.e. prematurely).
- The size or shape of the mother’s pelvis or birth canal makes it hard for a normal vaginal birth.
- Labor is difficult or very long. For instance, if a mother’s contractions are not strong enough to push the baby through the birth canal, the delivery could become strenuous for the baby and result in him or become injured or harmed.
- The mother is overweight.
- The baby is delivered by cesarean (C-section).
- Doctors used certain devices such as a vacuum or forceps in order to deliver the baby.
Examples of Birth Injuries
Some of the more common types of birth injuries that occur include:
- The baby suffered swelling or bruising of the head.
- The baby had bleeding underneath one of the cranial bones.
- There was a breakage of small blood vessels in the baby’s eyes.
- One or more facial nerves were injured.
- The baby suffered an injury to the group of nerves that runs through the arms and hands.
- The baby suffered a clavicle or collarbone fracture.
It is important to understand that when a baby’s injury could have been prevented had the doctor or another health care professional been more attentive or acted on certain health issues, they could be held liable for the baby’s injury.
Examples of When a Doctor or Hospital Could be Held Liable for the Injuries a Baby Suffered at Birth
There are many things physicians and nurses are expected to do both before and during delivery to ensure a mother and her baby are unharmed. From monitoring an unborn baby’s heartbeat to checking the mother’s vital signs consistently, health care professionals must always be assessing a mother and her baby’s condition to assure the delivery is free from complications. While there are times when complications arise naturally, there are other instances when they could have been prevented had one or more physicians/nurses been providing their patients with the standard level of care.
On August 16, 2014, Tequila Snow arrived at West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, IL, concerned as she could no longer feel her unborn baby moving, says ABC 7. The health care professionals at the facility did an ultrasound that confirmed the baby had not been moving yet the information was not relayed to a doctor. Nothing had been done to address Snow’s concerns and five hours later, her baby boy was born “limp, pale, and wasn’t breathing.” The medical staff even had to resuscitate him, says the news source.
Snow’s son had been born with severe brain damage, a condition that could have been prevented had the medical staff addressed the mother’s concerns when she first arrived at the hospital. While doctors could have potentially reduced the chances of the baby being born without any brain damage by having Snow undergo a cesarean delivery, she ended up delivering naturally and giving birth to a baby boy who would need around the clock care for the rest of his life.
Because Snow realized the medical staff had neglected to provide her with the standard level of care, she hired a lawyer and filed a lawsuit. After years had passed, Snow managed to walk away from her case with $101 million, enough to help her afford the care her son needs so that he can stay at home and not have to rely on outside facilities to help take care of her son.
Example # 2
When Nyelle Brown, now six-years-old, was delivered at Franciscan St. James Health in Chicago Heights in 2011, she suffered severe brain damage, according to the Chicago Tribune. Apparently, “the hospital failed to act quickly enough, including not delivering Nyelle earlier, when she showed signs of distress,” which resulted in her becoming injured. The family decided to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in 2013 and it wasn’t until a few years later that the family walked away with a $15 million settlement.
What should I do if my child suffered an injury at birth in FL that could have been prevented?
We recommend that you contact Pappas and Russell, P.A., a personal injury law firm located in Daytona Beach, FL to speak with a lawyer who can assess your situation. Given you have a viable medical malpractice case, our skilled FL personal injury attorneys will explain to you what your rights are as a parent and what you need to do in order to recognize the doctor and/or hospital for their negligence.