Childbirth is a precious milestone for any family. It is also a highly delicate process – one which healthcare providers are obligated to handle with the highest care. But while most doctors, nurses, and hospitals successfully deliver joy to families, there are also many medical professionals who fail this standard of care. This results in birth injuries to mothers and infants.
Aside from increasing the risks and suffering for a mother, birth injuries typically harm newborns, causing health conditions that are often irreparable. Sadly, research has shown that 1 in every 1,000 births in the US has a birth injury. That’s about 28,000 infants every year. Further, a study has found that in 2006 alone, almost 157,700 birth injuries to mothers and newborns could have been potentially avoided.
Have you or a loved one suffered a possible birth injury? Discuss it with an attorney. The law may entitle you to compensation and a sense of justice, helping your family overcome this unfortunate experience. Talk to us at Kassel McVey for effective yet family-like legal services.
Was It A Birth Injury Or A Birth Defect?
Because childbirth is such a fragile event, there are many ways it can lead to undesired outcomes. However, not all bad outcomes are from birth injuries. It’s important to understand this when considering a legal claim.
Certain medical conditions in infants are from birth defects, which could develop even before birth. Some common birth defects are cleft lip or cleft palate, sickle cell disease, clubfoot, and Down Syndrome. Generally, birth defects are unavoidable, and the medical community has not yet determined their exact causes. This means that childbirth caregivers are not legally liable for these conditions.
On the other hand, birth injuries may be caused by human actions, or more specifically, human errors. While childbirth does entail a few expected injuries such as minor bumps and bruises, there are injuries that can severely harm the mother or the newborn. Many of these serious injuries result from the negligence of the attending physician or healthcare provider. Thus, a parent or family may be able to pursue a legal claim against these professionals.
Examples Of Birth Injuries
Among mothers, an injury during labor or birth can pose life-threatening risks and increase their pain during the process. Examples of birth injuries to a mother include abnormal uterine bleeding, Caesarean section injuries, reproductive system infections, broken bones, vaginal lacerations, fissures, and eclampsia (convulsions in pregnant women with high blood pressure).
It is also possible for a woman to suffer mental conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a particularly distressing childbirth. Whether the mother’s injury is physical or mental, families should not be afraid to talk to a trusted physician about what potentially went wrong during the procedure.
Among babies, birth injuries often lead to lifelong disabilities; in some cases, they result in death. Here are some examples of health conditions in infants with birth injuries:
- Broken bones
- Cerebral palsy – a form of brain damage resulting from a lack of oxygen and causing the baby to become crippled
- Cranial hemorrhage – bleeding of the brain, which can be life-threatening
- Erb’s palsy – arm disability caused by nerve damage in the shoulder area
- Oxygen deprivation – medically known as hypoxia, this can lead to various complications like brain damage, limited motor abilities, and paralysis
- Shoulder dystocia – damage to the shoulder or arms as a result of the infant’s shoulders being stuck for a long time in the birth canal
- Spinal cord problems
Most of these conditions, when not fatal, limit a child’s growth and future. He or she may require surgeries and therapies, and even then, the disabilities may remain permanent. For the family, this means massive lifelong expenses for the child’s special needs. Beyond that, they have to face the lasting emotional strain brought on by these health conditions.
The financial and emotional burdens from a birth injury are something that a family may be compensated for. While monetary compensation cannot undo the devastating experience, it can greatly relieve the family’s financial stress, help secure a better life for their child, and help them cope with their situation.
How Birth Injuries Happen
Numerous birth injury cases are a result of medical malpractice. Unfortunately, medical professionals are able to deny liability by dismissing injuries as ‘complications’ instead of a product of their mistakes.
In our decades of experience at Kassel McVey, we have seen various forms of medical negligence that led to devastating birth injuries. There have been childbirth professionals that failed to look out for warning signs of a complicated birth; doctors that refused to perform a needed Caesarian section delivery; and caregivers that used excessive force on the baby. There have also been medical staff that administered inappropriate drugs; physicians that failed to monitor vital signs; and hospitals that failed to provide safe and adequate birthing equipment.
Understandably, it can be difficult for a lay person to pinpoint a medical professional’s error during labor and delivery. In addition, parents and families who question their childbirth doctors are often met with confusing justifications that are wrapped in medical jargon.
This is why it is crucial for families to have the opinion of a reliable physician as well as an experienced lawyer to determine whether a birth injury constitutes a malpractice case. In the Columbia, SC area, Kassel McVey has access to medical experts who are competent and honest, helping families get to the bottom of their birth injury. This, combined with the legal proficiency of our lawyers, leads the way to a successful injury claim.
Contact Kassel McVey
If you suspect that a doctor or healthcare professional made a mistake in a childbirth procedure, please don’t hesitate to talk to us at Kassel McVey. Our compassionate and highly experienced attorneys are ready to provide you with knowledgeable legal guidance, and can effectively represent you in a malpractice case.
Act right away, as South Carolina’s “Statute of Limitations” sets deadlines on medical malpractice lawsuits.
Call Kassel McVey today at (803) 256-4242 for a free case evaluation.
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1330 Laurel Street
Columbia, South Carolina 29201
Post Office Box 1476
Columbia, South Carolina 29202
Phone: (803) 256-4242
Toll Free: (855) 256-4242
Fax: (803) 256-1952
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