The moments before your child is born are filled with excitement and anticipation (and likely some pain, too). While you go through one of the most trying and transformative experiences of your life, you trust that the medical professionals in charge of you and your unborn child’s safety are providing the care required for bringing your child into the world safely. Unfortunately, medical errors often lead to birth injuries, leaving thousands of children with lifelong hardships from their first breath.
The birth injury lawyers at Colombo Law understand the devastating impact medical negligence can have on children and their families. We treat our clients with the same kindness and compassion as our own family members, and we will work diligently to pursue justice for your child and compensation to help you and your loved ones overcome the challenges posed by your child’s diagnosis.
What Are the Signs of a Birth Injury?
Birth injuries can range from minor to severe trauma. The most common birth injuries caused by obstetrical error or malpractice are:
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Facial paralysis
- Brain injury from oxygen deprivation
- Brachial plexus injury
- Shoulder dystocia
- Spinal cord injury
While some of these injuries will be immediately evident, others may not show signs for several weeks or months. Symptoms to watch out for include:
- Failure to breathe immediately after birth
- Requiring CPR right after delivery
- Bruising, swelling, or abrasions on the shoulders, head, or face
- Seizures in the first days after birth
- A “floppy” infant with loose or limp arms and legs lacking muscle tone
- Failure to meet milestones in the first year
The signs of birth injury for your child will depend on the type and location of trauma at the time of delivery. An infant who suffers from oxygen deprivation will likely have brain damage that affects their development, while a child with a brachial plexus injury may struggle with nerve damage and motor function in the injured arm.
How Will a Birth Injury Affect Your Child’s Life?
Birth trauma can cause a cascade of developmental delays and lifelong problems for your child. Medical negligence in the delivery room can irreparably alter your child’s path in life.
Children with birth injuries may struggle to crawl or walk or have difficulty feeding themselves. Over time, speaking and psychological development may be severely limited. The injury could significantly impact their physical, cognitive, and/or behavioral skills through adulthood.
Often regarded as the most serious birth injury, cerebral palsy can affect your child’s ability to perform nearly any physical tasks such as bathing, brushing their teeth, and learning to use the bathroom independently. They may never live alone or enjoy growing up the same way as their peers.
Can You Sue for a Birth Injury?
A birth injury claim can hold the responsible party or parties liable for the lifelong impact their actions (or lack of action) will have on your child. These claims may involve the medical professional, hospital, or birth center in charge of your care during delivery. Nurses, doctors, anesthesiologists, and other staff members who failed to provide the expected standard of care during birth can be sued for the harm they caused your child.
Your lawyer must be able to prove that the provider(s) owed you a duty of care as part of an established doctor/patient relationship. Next, the evidence must show that negligence resulted in the birth injury.
Some of the most common circumstances that lead to a newborn’s injury include:
- Improper use or misuse of inducement drugs
- Failure to monitor the fetal heartbeat properly for distress
- Maternal neglect
- Improper use of forceps, vacuum extractor, and other instruments
- Delayed delivery
- Forced delivery
- Poorly handling of the infant’s body during extraction
- Failure to identify and address umbilical cord problems
- Miscalculation of contractions
These errors are not always apparent during labor and delivery. An experienced birth injury attorney will investigate on your behalf to uncover evidence of negligence.
What Compensation Is Recoverable for a Birth Injury?
Every parent wants the best for their child, and it’s heart-wrenching when a birth injury deprives your child of growing into a strong, independent person who can pursue their dreams. Birth injuries not only come with long-term health concerns but steal your hope for your child’s future.
Potential compensation in birth injury claims may include:
- Medical expenses
- Physical therapy
- Parental lost wages due to time away from work
- Specialized care and counseling
- Home and vehicle modifications
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering
Given the lifelong challenges faced by children who suffer birth injuries, it is important to account for all of the compensation you, your child, and your family deserve. Calculating the lifetime cost of birth trauma is virtually impossible on your own. So, it is important to seek knowledgeable and experienced legal representation as soon as possible.
Few events in life are more important than the day a child is born. Unfortunately, what should be a joyous moment can turn tragic when errors by medical personnel harm the baby, mother, or both.
The attorneys at Colombo Law understand the delicate and devastating nature of birth injury cases. We can pursue legal action against all liable parties so you can focus on helping your child get the best care and treatment.
Please call Colombo Law at (304) 599-4229 if you believe your child was injured due to medical negligence. Your initial consultation is free. Our birth injury lawyers serve clients in Morgantown and throughout West Virginia.