Having a baby is often an exciting yet stressful time for new parents. The stress of raising a child can be substantially magnified if you learn that your child suffered an injury at birth. Even minor birth injuries can require medical treatment, which will result in more medical bills in addition to the expenses of your labor and delivery. More serious birth injuries can result in impairments and disabilities with which your child may struggle their entire lives. Furthermore, serious birth injuries can mean a lifetime of medical and personal care and limitations on work and activities. If a birth injury occurs due to medical malpractice, you have the right to hold your negligent1 doctor liable for all of the costs – monetary and otherwise – of the birth injury.
Improper Testing During Pregnancy
As part of prenatal care, doctors often should perform a variety of tests to determine the health of both the mother and the fetus. These tests can identify whether a mother has health conditions that need to be managed or addressed, can help predict any possible complications during the birth, and can determine whether the baby has any life-threatening or otherwise severe birth defects. If a doctor fails to perform necessary tests or does not relay test results back to the parents, it can constitute malpractice if any birth injuries result.
Failure to Monitor Vital Signs During Labor
Hospitals have equipment that can monitor a baby’s and mother’s vital signs during the labor process. If it appears that one of their heart rates are falling or if there are signs the baby is not receiving enough oxygen, immediate action should be taken to stabilize the situation and take necessary steps to prevent lasting injuries. If medical professionals do not take proper action when their are signs of distress, they can be responsible for injuries.
Failure to Order a C-Section When Needed
There are many situations in which a mother should have a C-section instead of a vaginal birth. This can be due to medical conditions or infections in the mother, high-risk pregnancies, some pregnancies after previous C-sections, due to unsuccessful delivery, because the baby or mother is showing distress, among many other reasons. Doctors should be able to identify when a planned or emergency C-section should be ordered and if they fail to do so, they may be found negligent.
Misuse of Birthing Tools
In some cases, a baby may need some assistance to be guided and pulled through the birth canal. Doctors may use forceps or vacuums to assist in a delivery, though these tools should always be used with proper technique and care. If a doctor does not use such birthing tools properly, different injuries can occur to the child and the child can even be permanently disfigured.
Inadequate Care Following Birth
Another highly important part of the birth process is post-birth care for both the mother and the baby. If a baby is suspected to have any health issues, birth defects, or was in distress during the delivery, the medical team should immediately evaluate the baby and provide any care needed for stabilization. This can include taking the baby to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and keeping the baby until it is entirely safe to release them to be taken home. In addition, the mother should be carefully monitored in the hours following birth to ensure she is not losing too much blood or showing other signs of dangerous health problems. If doctors do not provide the appropriate care for a mother or her baby and they suffer injury, the doctor should be held liable.
Birth injuries can be costly in both money and future opportunity and enjoyment of life. Babies with cerebral palsy2 or other serious and permanent conditions due to birth errors have the legal right to be compensated for their tragic losses. Proving that a doctor’s error rose to the level of medical negligence and malpractice can be complicated, however, so if you believe your doctor injured your child, you should consult with a highly experienced birth injury attorney as soon as possible.
Discuss Your Rights with a Ft. Lauderdale Birth Injury Lawyer Today
At The Law Office of Joseph J. LoRusso, PA, we are committed to helping parents and their children stand up to doctors who have harmed them. We have the resources to handle complex medical malpractice cases, so please do not hesitate to call to learn more about how we may help you. Call (954) 715-3260 for a free consultation today.