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The birth of a child is meant to be a joyous and exciting time in the parents’ life. Seeing your newborn baby for the first time should be a magical moment, but when an injury occurs during birth, joy can soon turn to terror. Birth injuries can turn one of life’s most special occasions to one filled with fear, worry, and grief.
If a hospital, medical provider, or birthing center, was negligent in the delivery of your baby and caused an injury, you are now facing something for which no parent can prepare. Mounting medical bills are the least of your concerns, as you worry about the health and welfare of your baby. You may not know what tomorrow holds, and you wonder what you should do next.
The Lopez Law Group is here to help if you think the birth injury was caused by the negligence or failure to render a standard of care. We will evaluate your case and give you an honest assessment of whether your claim satisfies Florida’s definition of medical malpractice.
What is a Birth Injury?
As the name implies, a birth injury is an injury to the baby, which occurs during the birth process. The injury might happen before birth, during the delivery, or after the baby is born, but they are all considered birth injuries.
Some of these injuries are temporary and will resolve with time, but some of them result in impairments that will be with your baby, and you, for the rest of their lives. Some examples of common birth injuries include:
- Erb’s Palsy
- Fractures or broken bones
- Cerebral Palsy
- Brain injuries
Causes of a Birth Injury
Birth injuries can be caused by factors well outside the control of medical staff, but they can also be caused by injuries that happen due to the facility or staff failing to render a standard of care. The things that cause birth injuries can include:
- Delayed Birth—When outside circumstances cause a delay in the delivery of the baby, it is called a delayed birth, and it can cause significant medical issues, cognitive-developmental disabilities, and even risk of fetal death.
- Oxygen Deprivation—Occurs when a healthcare prover is not able to recognize that there is a problem and provide solutions promptly. Oxygen deprivation can cause Cerebral Palsy, a stroke, other developmental delays, or the ultimate death of the baby if the issue is not addressed.
- PreEclampsia—A condition in the mother characterized by high blood pressure and early signs of damage to other organs such as the kidneys or the liver. Pre-eclampsia is one of the top reasons for premature birth in the United States.
- Eclampsia—When Pre-Eclampsia is not controlled, it can progress to Eclampsia, which causes severe hypertension that can lead to a stroke. Seizures are common, and the condition is life-threatening to both the mom and baby. The only cure for Eclampsia is delivery.
- Excessive medication—The overuse or misuse of medicines given to the mom can lead to problems for the baby.
- Trauma to the mom or baby—Trauma usually occurs pre-birth when the Mom is in a car accident or suffers a fall. The third trimester is a tricky time for most moms-to-be. Their center of gravity is off, the baby has moved lower and closer to the birth canal, so the mom’s gait can be affected, and she often cannot see tripping hazards, leaving her susceptible to falls.
- Shoulder misplacement—the struggle to traverse the birth canal can naturally displace an infant’s shoulder, but it is far more likely when assistive devices, such as vacuum extractors and forceps, are used.
- Umbilical cord prolapse—A prolapse occurs when the cord collapses and drops through the cervix into the vaginal canal ahead of the baby. The baby can then compress the cord during delivery, cutting off the baby’s oxygen supply.
Birth injuries can be identified before a baby is born, but they are far more commonly discovered soon after birth.
How Does a Birth Injury Happen
Situations can cause birth injuries that a physician could do nothing about, but there are times when the decisions or actions of medical providers contribute to the injury. Trauma during the delivery process contributes or is the sole cause of some birth injuries.
Pressure and force used during the delivery process may result in bruising or broken bones for the baby. It can also result in nerve damage that affects the facial muscles or other parts of the baby’s body. Nerve damage can be temporary or result in a long-term problem. It can cause pain, or the inability to control certain muscle groups, such as the ones that control the mouth.
Meconium aspiration syndrome is another well-known birthing injury. It occurs when the baby’s first stool is released and mixes with the fluids already present during the birth. The baby can aspirate the fluid into the airway or lungs, resulting in pneumonia or other serious health issues.
If the nursing staff or physician fails, in any way, to care for the baby or the complications that arise, this is also viewed as a birth injury. Newborns, especially those who suffered a traumatic birth, should be closely monitored after birth. If the staff fails to render the proper standard of care and attention, and the baby becomes sick or injured as a result, the medical providers should be held responsible.
How Does Birth Cause Cerebral Palsy?
Preventable birth injuries result from miscommunication during the labor and delivery process. One member of the medical team may fail to report the signs of infant distress, leading to a delay in treatment. A physician may wait too long to decide a c-section is required, leading to an injury before or during birth.
Cerebral Palsy can be a result of a brain malformation that occurs while the brain is developing. Thought traumatic for parents, there is little that can be done to prevent this type of Cerebral Palsy. Unfortunately, any trauma during or after the birthing process, that causes the brain to bleed can also cause Cerebral Palsy. Even worse, the physician and other members of the care team might not recognize the problem right away. Some children are not diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy until months after the delivery.
Risk Factors for a Birth Injury
Certain factors can put your baby at an increased risk for a birth injury. These factors include:
- Babies that weigh 9 pounds or more
- Babies born prematurely, before the 37th week of pregnancy
- A difficult labor or delivery process
- Breech birth, or other abnormal fetal positions at birth
- Labor that is prolonged
What is Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is the term used to describe the failure of a health care provider, or facility, to provide a professional standard of care and that failure leads to an injury to the mother or baby. Florida’s laws regarding medical malpractice make it a difficult path to pursue.
The Florida Comprehensive Medical Malpractice Reform Act has given a two-year statute of limitations on most cases and sets forth a strict pre-suit process. That process, unlike any other personal injury claim, places a significant burden on the plaintiff, or their attorney, of steps that must be followed before a malpractice claim can move forward.
It is crucial that you find a personal injury attorney who is experienced in medical malpractice claims in Florida. At The Lopez Law Group, we know the pre-suit process and the importance of expert testimony to make your case.
If your baby suffered a serious birth injury, they might need special care for the rest of their lives. Not only does that place a significant emotional burden on parents, but a financial one as well. A successful medical malpractice claim can help you recover damages that can help offset the financial burden that the injury, and subsequent car, have placed on your family.
Why You Need a Florida Personal Injury Attorney
We know that money will never replace what you, or your child, have gone through if they suffered a birth injury due to the negligence of a facility or medical staff. At The Lopez Law Group, we realize that the most important thing to you is probably holding the person or facility that contributed to the injury responsible.
We never charge a fee for a consultation on birth injuries or medical malpractice, and one of our skilled team members will give your case a thorough review. We will never mislead you with false expectations, but instead, we will provide you with an honest assessment of the strength of your case and what to expect, legally, moving forward.
Give us a call today at 727-933-0015 to schedule a consultation to review your case. We suggest that you keep meticulous records of the events leading up to the birth injury. We recognize that it is almost always impossible to do so when you are terrified and worried in the immediate aftermath but suggest you write down everything you remember from the time you realize that there is a problem, as soon as possible. Note-taking will help keep the preserve your memories while they are fresh and could be invaluable if a medical malpractice suit does arise.
We want you to know that we are sorry you found this page because if you did, it is most likely because you, or someone you loved, experienced the trauma of a new baby who suffered a birth injury. A time of joyful excitement was taken, and instead, the arrival of your baby was probably clouded with worry and fear. We will help you determine if you have a malpractice claim, and if so, we will do all the work. We know that you have enough on your plate caring for your little one, especially if their injury was one that did not resolve quickly.
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What Our Clients Say
Mr. Lopez was a Godsend and really helped me with my situation. Him and the entire firm were very diligent and helped speed the early stages of the process along due to a pressing situation. Throughout my experience working with the firm, they were always responsive and available any time I had a question or wanted to check on the state of affairs. Hopefully I won’t have to recommend Lopez Law Group to my friends or family, but if those unfortunate circumstances arise then there’s only one name I would trust. Thank you again for all your help!
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