Understanding Birth-Related Medical Malpractice

Posted in: Medical Malpractice | Jun 22,2022

Pregnancy and childbirth should be a time of joy. Unfortunately for some, the result is pain and loss. Birth injuries make up 20 percent of all infant fatalities. What is important is being able to prove your case to the medical provider. Breaking down the process of filing for a birth-related injury or fatality and what to expect can aid you as you build your childbirth injury case.

What is medical malpractice birth injury?

Medical malpractice is when a medical professional does not provide a patient with the proper (and expected) standard of care. The patient must prove:

    1. A standard of care was owed to the patient.
    2. A breach in care occurred (i.e., the negligent act or omission).
    3. The breach caused the injury or death.

Medical malpractice birth injury occurs when a medical professional acts negligently and causes injury to the mother, child, or both.

What are some common birth-related injuries?

Cerebral Palsy

    • 3 out of every 1,000 children born have cerebral palsy, which can lead to a lack of motor skill development, muscle spasms, or lack of muscle development. In most cases, cerebral palsy results from brain damage during birth, leading to brain damage. It can be treated but is not a curable injury and often comes with long-term therapy.

Facial Paralysis

    • 1 out of every 1,000 children suffers from facial paralysis. If an infant suffers from too much pressure during delivery, it can damage facial nerves leading to paralysis. The most common circumstances of paralysis involve improperly using extraction tools like suction or forceps. Though the impact of paralysis is circumstantial, it can leave lasting impacts on vision or facial muscle movement.

Oxygen Deprivation

    • Statistics vary, but oxygen deprivation impacts at least 10% of newborns. It can cause brain injuries that lead to cerebral palsy or chronic seizures. Though most cases are mild and lead to a full recovery, the medical provider’s response time makes the difference. Oxygen deprivation can occur in more severe cases if a doctor fails to monitor the infant during birth and post-birth. If the child is kept in the birth canal for too long or is turned improperly without correction, the doctor may be responsible for the resulting injuries.

Fractured Collarbones

    • 4.5 in every 1,000 births lead to fractured collarbones. Complicated or rushed deliveries can quickly lead to bone fractures. Though these injuries tend to heal independently, your child might still require medical attention to ensure a full recovery.

What Damages May Be Compensated?

Economic Damages compensate the patient for actual, measurable losses and may include:

    • Medical Bills/Expenses. Your provider may be responsible for covering any medical costs pertaining to your injury, including the birthing process and any subsequent therapy or required treatment.
    • Lost Wages/Ability to Work. Medical malpractice that impacts one’s ability to work can lead to compensation based on the existing, past, and future wages. If your injuries result in the inability to work or limited work hours, you may receive compensation for the time lost in addition to non-economic damages.
    • Assistive/Adaptive Devices. If assistive devices are needed, your lifecare plan will reflect the cost. These plans exist to document your entire medical circumstances, prioritizing nursing care, the daily cost of living, and any medical treatment or additional costs. For example, if you need a wheelchair and have to build a ramp for your home, that is something for which you can receive compensation.
    • Medication/Rehabilitation. If you rely on medication(s) moving forward, the hospital or medical provider who wrongly diagnosed you may be held responsible for the long-term cost. The same applies for the duration of any necessary rehabilitation.

 NON-Economic Damages are subjective and not quantifiable. They often include:

    • Physical pain and suffering 
    • Emotional distress and suffering
    • Permanent impairment or loss of function 
    • Disfigurement
    • Loss of the ability to enjoy life’s pleasures
    • Loss of consortium

What to do if I Think I Have a Case?

If you believe you have suffered from a birth-related injury, contact an attorney who has a proven history of expertise and experience with complex cases. Montross Miller has a board-certified physician on staff as well as a history of strong case results. Contact us for a free case evaluation.