Birth Injuries And Liability
For the average woman, undergoing childbirth is a rewarding experience. However, it is a well-known fact that bearing a child can be a particularly painful process. Generally, the pain experienced during childbirth subsides shortly after the birth of the child. Nevertheless, for those new mothers who bear a child that suffers an injury at birth, the physical pain that manifests during labor and delivery can transfer to a lifelong emotional pain after she realizes that the birth injuries has either permanently or severely disabled her newborn child.
What is more is that this newly discovered emotional pain is also be felt by fathers, who now also have to care for a baby that has been either permanently or severely disabled.
So, what can parents do when they discover that their baby has suffered a birth injury? They can file a medical malpractice claim against the doctor, hospital staff, or hospital responsible for the injury.
Common Causes of Birth Injuries
While some birth injuries are unforeseeable or the result of unavoidable complications, others are the result of medical negligence and are 100% avoidable. Some common causes of avoidable birth injuries include:
- Failure to properly and timely maneuver the child through the mother’s birthing canal
- Failure to diagnose high risk pregnancies or foreseeable complications prior to delivery
- Failure to monitor the child and mother before and during delivery
- Failure to properly handle a breech baby during delivery
- Improperly using medical tools and devices such as forceps during delivery
- Failure to perform a proper Cesarean section surgery when the procedure is either planned or medically necessary
- Failure to determining whether the mother’s pelvis permits her to have a vaginal birth
Common Avoidable Birth Injuries
In line with the common causes of birth injuries listed above, there are certain birth injuries that commonly denote that said injury was the result of medical negligence and not an unforeseeable or unavoidable complication. These injuries include:
- Erb’s palsy, also known as brachial palsy
- Cerebral palsy
- Spinal cord injury
- Facial paralysis
- Shoulder dystocia
- Brain damage resulting from lack of oxygen to the brain at birth
- Cerebral hemorrhage
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage
- Bone fractures
Liability for Avoidable Birth Injuries
In order to prevail on a medical malpractice claim for any avoidable birth injury, the parents or legal guardians of the injured child need to prove that it is more probable than not that the injury resulted due to someone else’s negligence. This someone is typically the mother’s obstetrician-gynecologist, or any other doctor delivering the baby instead of or in concert with the mother’s obstetrician-gynecologist. However, the responsible party may also be hospital staff or the hospital itself.
In order to prove the birth injury was the result of negligence, the law requires that the parents or legal guardians of the injured child prove that:
- The person alleged to be responsible owed the child a legally recognized duty of care;
- The person breached this duty of care by deviating from the standard of care a person in a similarly situated position would have administered;
- This breach of the duty of care owed to the child caused the child’s injuries; and
- Damages resulted
In birth injury medical malpractice claims, it can be hard for attorneys to prove all four elements sufficient to win a verdict in favor of the child and his parents because the attorney must often rely on the responsible party’s testimony as well as the responsible party’s medical notes of the prenatal care, the delivery, and the postnatal care of the child, which can be vague and self-serving.
However, to help prove a birth injury case, it is prudent to obtain the opinion of other medical professionals working in the same field as the responsible party because these professionals may testify as to what the responsible party should have done during the pregnancy of the mother and the baby’s delivery to avoid the specific birth injury.
Contact a Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Case in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in Pennsylvania or New Jersey? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at Marrone Law Firm, LLC are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Philadelphia, Center City, University City, PA and Cherry Hill, NJ.
Call us today at 215-732-6700 or email us to schedule a free consultation. Our main office is located at 200 South Broad Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19102. We also have an office located in Cherry Hill, NJ.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.