All expecting parents have one thing in common: the most important thing to them is the health of their newborn. This desire is part of what makes birth injuries so devastating and emotional. If your child has recently suffered a birth injury and you are unsure of where to turn or what to do next, the experienced Charleston injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm will advocate for your family.
Types of Birth Injuries
There are many ways in which a child can be injured during the birthing process. Some of the most common types of birth trauma include:
- Brachial plexus injuries. Brachial plexus injuries are one of the most common types of birth traumas. Referring to a collection of nerves within the shoulder, the brachial plexus controls motor functions of the hand and arm. If the brachial plexus is injured – for example, if the baby’s arm is pulled on too forcefully during delivery – the child may suffer total or partial loss of use of the upper or lower arm, or of the hand. In most cases, brachial plexus injuries heal completely.
- Bell’s palsy. Bell’s palsy, also referred to as facial palsy, is a condition in which the nerve that controls the facial muscles is impaired. This may occur during birth if pressure is placed on the infant’s face during birth. The condition is characterized by a lack of control of the facial muscles, symptoms of which may include facial droop and drooling.
- Traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury, when sustained during gestation or birth, is often permanent. Typically, the biggest cause of brain injury in a fetus/newborn is oxygen deprivation; the longer the period of oxygen deprivation, the more severe the brain injury will likely be. Cerebral palsy, which refers to abnormal development of the brain, and is extremely devastating, is sometimes caused by lack of oxygen to a fetus’s brain.
- Fractures, bruises, and more. In addition to the above, other common injuries include fractures, bruises, cephalohematoma, subconjunctival hemorrhaging (bursting of the blood vessels in the baby’s eyes), and scalp swelling.
Causes of Birth Injuries in Charleston, SC
Not all birth injuries are completely preventable. For example, unforeseeable factors may lead to the umbilical cord becoming wrapped around a child’s neck, resulting in oxygen deprivation. Or, a baby may be of a very large birth weight, and its shoulders may become stuck behind the mother’s pelvis during vaginal delivery, increasing the chances of a brachial plexus injury.
That being said, most birth injuries are foreseeable and preventable. Even in the above examples, it is often the case that swift and efficient action on the part of the doctor can mitigate the chances of the baby sustaining any serious harm. On the contrary, the failure to act quickly and appropriately increases the chances of the child sustaining birth trauma.
Some factors that increase the risk of – or cause – birth injuries include:
- Instrumental delivery, including the use of forceps and vacuum extractors;
- Failure to monitor mother and fetus, including oxygen levels;
- Failure to perform emergency cesarean section if necessary;
- Applying too much force on a baby during delivery; and
- Poor communication between hospital staff, nurses, and doctors.
Liability for Birth Injuries
When a birth injury occurs that could have been prevented but for the negligence of a medical professional, the parents of the harmed child have the right to seek damages. In order to recover compensation, the parents will have to prove the liability of the at-fault party. Those parties who may be held liable in a birth injury suit include:
- A doctor who failed to properly diagnose a condition suffered by the mother or identify a potentially dangerous birth situation (i.e. a mother giving birth who suffers from high blood pressure);
- A doctor who failed to properly diagnose a dangerous condition suffered by a fetus (i.e. low oxygen levels);
- The manufacturer of a dangerous drug;
- The doctor or pharmacist who prescribed/filled the dangerous drug for the pregnant mother;
- A nurse or hospital staff member who failed to correctly document a patient’s medication, history, etc.;
- A doctor who failed to take appropriate action in an emergency situation, or otherwise acted without care; and
- The hospital where the doctor or nurse is employed.
If you can prove liability, then you may be able to recover damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, future healthcare expenses for your child, loss of earning capacity, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
How a Charleston Birth Injury Attorney Can Help
When something goes wrong during birth, it is not always obvious what happened or who – if anyone – is to blame. If you suspect that medical malpractice was the cause of your child’s birth injury, a seasoned Charleston birth injury attorney can assist you in validating that belief. An attorney will work with medical and birth injury experts who can testify as to whether or not the medical standard of care was breached, and can help you to build a claim against any responsible parties.
Filing a lawsuit against your doctor or hospital is not an easy thing to do. Not only is the process emotional, but it is also incredibly challenging from a legal standpoint – hospitals have highly paid lawyers ready to represent them. When you hire a Charleston birth injury attorney, you level the playing field.
Contact Joye Law Firm Today
The experienced Charleston birth injury lawyers at Joye Law Firm are devastated by the stories of birth injuries in our community. We believe that nothing is more precious than the life and wellbeing of an infant, and are disturbed when medical malpractice is the cause of a child’s harm.
If your baby has been hurt because a doctor failed to do their job correctly, let our team help you. We will advocate on your behalf to improve your chances of recovering your full compensation amount. While nothing can undo what your child and family has suffered, we can help you to hold a doctor liable for their errors. Contact us today for your free case review to get started.