While the birth of a baby is a joyous time in a family’s life, a certain amount of worry over your unborn child’s health and safety is common. As prospective parents, you depend upon your medical providers to take the appropriate actions and to perform the necessary tests and procedures to ensure that both baby and mother stay healthy and strong. Unfortunately, medical mistakes and errors are all too common, and can result in serious, potentially disabling, and even life threatening harm to your child.
At the Joye Law Firm, our experienced birth injury attorneys provide the compassionate care parents need, while using our legal knowledge and experience to ensure responsible parties are held accountable for the damages they have caused. At a time like this, we know how important it is for you to have a strong legal advocate on your side, fighting to ensure your family’s rights are protected and your future needs are provided for.
Causes and Risk Factors for Birth Injuries
According to Medscape, a leading provider of consumer health information, while infant mortality and injury rates have decreased over the years due to the improved quality of medical care for pregnant women and their unborn children, birth injuries continue to affect roughly 80,000 newborns and their families each year. These types of injuries generally occur during the process of labor and delivery, and can occur due to the use of forceps and other extraction methods, as well as failures in monitoring the fetus or the progress of the labor.
Common risk factors for birth injuries include the following:
- Problems with regulating the infant’s heart rate during labor;
- Slow progressing labors that put increased stress on the unborn baby;
- Induced labors requiring the use of drugs, such as Pitocin;
- Problems with blood flow due to the position of the fetus;
- Cases in which the placenta collapses or becomes wrapped around the baby;
- Problems with the fetus moving through the birth canal.
In addition to the above, preeclampsia is a potentially dangerous condition which can end up resulting in birth injuries as well as trauma for the mother. According to the Preeclampsia Foundation, the condition affects as many as 300,000 pregnant women each year, generally occurring during the second or third trimester. Telltale signs include high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine, and left untreated can result in low birth weights and increased risks for liver and kidney problems as well as blood clotting issues which could put the mother’s life in jeopardy.
It is up to obstetricians and other medical staff to carefully monitor pregnant women and their unborn children both throughout pregnancy, as well as during labor and delivery, to help avoid situations that could result in serious injuries. In addition, while doctors are trained to use the utmost care and discretion in using forceps and other extraction devices, a single error or mistake in the use of these instruments can have long ranging impacts of both the child and their family.
Types of Birth Injuries
According to the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, the world’s leading medical textbook, some birth injuries are minor and will clear up on their own without medical treatment, while others are more serious, and can have long term impacts on the developing child.
The most common types of birth injuries include the following:
- Head injuries: Occurring as the result of forceps deliveries or due to pressure on the infant’s head as it travels the birth canal, head injuries can result in skull fractures, bleeding in the brain, and serious disabilities related to brain trauma, such as cerebral palsy.
- Nerve injuries: Nerve damage caused by fetal positioning and forced extraction methods can result in conditions such as Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy, which involve paralysis in the hands or arms, as well as nerve damage in the diaphragm that can make it difficult for your newborn to breathe and get the oxygen they need.
- Problems with blood and oxygen flow: Issues relating to your infant’s breathing or heart rate can cause serious, potentially life threatening, and permanent damage to internal organs, including the heart, brain, and lungs.
- Bone fractures: Broken bones can occur in the upper legs and arms, as well as in the clavicle or collarbone if the doctor uses too much pressure or pulls the baby too hard from the birth canal during delivery.
- Shoulder dystocia: A potentially life threatening situation for both mother and baby, shoulder dystocia occurs when the infant gets stuck with one shoulder out during delivery while the other remains in the birth canal. This can result in serious distress for the infant, as well as excessive bleeding in the mother.
How Our Myrtle Beach Birth Injury Lawyer Can Help You
Doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers can be held legally liable when birth injuries occur. Under Chapter 79 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, doctors and their staff are expected to provide a reasonable level of care and monitoring to their patients, in accordance to guidelines set down by the medical community and similar to the way another doctor would treat a patient under similar circumstances. Doctors who fail to monitor their pregnant patients for conditions that could affect their unborn baby and those whose errors or mistakes result in birth injuries can be held accountable for their actions through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
At the Joye Law Firm, we know that no amount of money can ease the pain and heartache you suffer when your baby is injured. At the same time, compensation in these types of cases can help you meet the costs for medical care and support your child will need, both now and in the future. Damages you may be entitled to in a medical malpractice lawsuit include costs associated with medical expenses and ongoing care, lost wages due to tending to the needs of your child, and pain and suffering caused by the injury. If you or someone you care about has a child who has suffered a birth injury in Myrtle Beach, contact our experienced birth injury attorney right away.