Birth injuries resulting from medical negligence are tragic. They are also alarmingly common. Each year, tens of thousands of newborns in the United States are diagnosed with birth injuries that could – and should – have been prevented with appropriate medical care.
When birth injuries result from medical negligence, parents are entitled to financial compensation under Louisiana law. The law holds health care providers accountable for the consequences of their mistakes, and most providers pay for malpractice insurance that covers birth injury claims.
Maternal Conditions and Birth Injuries that May Be Indicative of Medical Negligence
Medical mistakes during pregnancy, labor, and delivery can lead to birth injuries. These birth injuries can take several forms, and they can have varying short-term and long-term effects. Ultimately, if your child has been diagnosed with a birth injury and you have any concerns about the quality of care that you, your spouse or partner, or your child received in a Louisiana medical facility or birth center, you should speak with a birth injury attorney about your family’s legal rights.
The following are all common examples of maternal conditions and birth injuries that may be indicative of medical negligence:
- Apnea and Bradycardia
- Gestational Diabetes
- HELLP Syndrome
- Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
- Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP)
- Low Apgar Score
- Oligohydramnios and Polyhydramnios
- Placenta Accreta and Placenta Previa
- Placental Abruption
- Preeclampsia and Eclampsia
- Shoulder Dystocia
- Umbilical Cord Complications
These are just examples. If your child has been diagnosed with any type of birth injury and you suspect medical negligence may be a contributing factor, you should schedule a free consultation. It costs nothing to learn about your family’s legal rights; and, if you have a claim, recovering the compensation your family deserves could be essential for your child’s physical and mental health, your child’s happiness, and your family’s financial wellbeing.
Is Your Child’s Birth Injury the Result of a Medical Mistake?
In order to be compensable, a birth injury must be the result of medical negligence. Just as there are many different types of birth injuries, medical negligence can take many different forms. Some of the most common causes of preventable birth injuries include:
Failure to Diagnose Maternal or Fetal Conditions During Pregnancy
Failure to diagnose a maternal or fetal condition during pregnancy can lead to various complications depending on the specific condition that is left undiagnosed. Misdiagnoses and delayed diagnoses can have similar consequences. For example, failure to timely diagnose an expecting mother with gestational diabetes (or misdiagnosing gestational diabetes as another condition) can lead to preeclampsia, eclampsia, HIE, macrosomia, complications from premature birth, and various other issues. With today’s medical technology, there are very few excuses for diagnostic errors during pregnancy, and most diagnostic errors will be indicative of malpractice.
Failure to Treat Maternal or Fetal Conditions During Pregnancy
Failure to treat maternal or fetal conditions during pregnancy can allow the mother’s or fetus’s condition to worsen, and this can in turn lead to a serious, or even fatal, birth injury. While treatment failures often flow from diagnostic failures, providers may fail to properly treat timely diagnosed conditions as well.
Inadequate Monitoring During Pregnancy, Labor, or Delivery
Regardless of whether an expecting mother or fetus presents with risk factors for birth injuries, adequate monitoring is critical to mitigating the risk of preventable complications. If risk factors are present, then more frequent or more comprehensive monitoring may be necessary. Many newborns suffer from birth injuries because their doctors failed to identify risks during pregnancy as a result of inadequate monitoring.
Fetal Oxygen Deprivation
Fetal oxygen deprivation can lead to a host of issues, many of which can have lifelong, if not fatal, complications. Monitoring the fetus’s oxygen level during pregnancy is extremely important, particularly when an expecting mother presents with a condition such as placenta accreta or placenta previa, which can disrupt the flow of oxygen to the fetus’s brain.
Medication and Anesthesia Errors
Medication errors and anesthesia errors (including epidural errors) can cause fetal oxygen deprivation, fetal stress, and other complications that can lead to various types of birth injuries. This includes both overdosing and underdosing, as well as administering the wrong medications. If a doctor or nurse administers a medication or anesthetic to which an expecting mother is allergic, this can present significant risks for the mother, and these risks can also lead to complications for the fetus during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
Improper Birthing Techniques (Including Improper Use of Vacuum Extractors and Forceps)
Despite being entirely avoidable, improper birthing techniques continue to present a risk during delivery. Improper birthing techniques, including the improper use of vacuum extractors and forceps, can lead to complications from oxygen deprivation, physical trauma, and other issues. Birth injuries caused by improper birthing techniques are particularly common in cases involving macrosomia and shoulder dystocia; however, they are not exclusive to these circumstances.
Delay in Recommending or Performing an Emergency Cesarean Section (C-Section) Delivery
Various complications can necessitate an emergency C-section delivery. When an emergency C-section becomes necessary to protect a fetus from a potential life-altering or life-threatening birth injury, the mother’s doctor must provide a timely recommendation and perform the procedure without unreasonable delay. Failure to timely recommend or perform an emergency C-section can give rise to a claim for medical malpractice. Errors during C-section deliveries that result in birth injuries can give rise to medical malpractice claims as well.
Here, too, these are just examples. There are many more forms of medical negligence that can lead to birth injuries. No matter what happened, if your child has been diagnosed with a birth injury and you have questions about your family’s legal rights, we strongly encourage you to schedule a free consultation.
Speak with Alexandria Birth Injury Attorney Chris J. Roy, Jr.
Alexandria birth injury attorney Chris J. Roy, Jr. has been helping Louisiana families recover just compensation for more than 30 years. If you have questions about seeking financial compensation for your child’s birth injury, please call 318-413-6660 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today.