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Babies are quite vulnerable during the birthing process. A little too much force applied to an arm, or a lack of care with medical instruments, can translate into a lifetime of disability and limitations for a newborn. Medical facilities are not always forthright when mistakes occur, and parents with children who suffered birth injuries in Lexington are often left wondering if their child’s injuries were simple misfortune or the result of medical negligence on the part of a Kentucky doctor or medical staff.
If your child has been diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy, brain damage, or other forms of birth injury due to irregularities during childbirth, you owe it to yourself and to your child to know for sure. The Lexington birth injury attorneys at Morgan & Morgan know how to spot medical mistakes and know the telltale signs of medical negligence during the birth process. We fight to hold medical facilities accountable when their lack of care causes permanent injury to a newborn and to get the compensation you need to care for your child if those injuries were caused by avoidable mistakes.
Contact a Lexington birth injury attorney today by filling out our free case evaluation form today.
Causes of Birth Injuries
Some birth injuries are not due to the negligence of a healthcare professional, but sadly, incurred as a result of complications or circumstances outside of the physician’s control. But in other cases, the injury may be caused by the physician or medical professional’s negligence during the delivery.
Physicians are expected to know how to safely complete the delivery in the face of most of unexpected or undiagnosed complications. To help ensure safe delivery and to manage any complications which may arise, the doctor may deviate from the birthing plan, use tools to help the child along or fix their position in the uterus, or perform emergency surgery, if necessary.
Our Lexington attorneys handle cases where the injury was caused negligently by a healthcare professional’s:
- Failure to diagnose a potential complication prior to delivery;
- Failure to examine the mother’s medical history;
- Inadequate monitoring of the mother and child before, during, and after delivery;
- Delayed responses to fetal distress;
- Failure to perform a timely C-section;
- Error(s) in administering medication or anesthesia;
- Improper use of forceps and vacuums while helping the child through the birth canal
- Infliction of infection;
- Failure to warn the mother of known risks, depriving her the right to make an informed decision; and
- Failure to adhere to complete the procedure as other physicians would under the same circumstances.
Injuries to the Child
Some injuries the child may suffer include:
- Cerebral palsy;
- Brain damage;
- Caput succedaneum;
- Brachial plexus palsy, including Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy;
- Shoulder dystocia;
- Spinal cord damage; and
- Wrongful death.
Mothers may suffer injuries including:
- Vaginal tears;
- Ruptured uterus;
- Preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension);
- Placenta accreta (placenta adherence to uterine wall);
- Placenta previa (placenta preventing normal vaginal delivery);
- Spinal cord damage;
- Clavicle fractures;
- Sepsis; and
- Wrongful death.
Cerebral palsy is a debilitating medical condition that adversely affects muscle movement, muscle tone, and general motor function, and is caused by damage to a child’s brain before or during birth. This birth injury can occur naturally or result from a healthcare professional’s negligence. If a child develops cerebral palsy as the result of a healthcare provider’s negligence, the parents may be able to file a claim for any resulting damages, including present and future medical costs, loss of wages and future earning capacity, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering.
While a birth injury lawsuit cannot cure a child with cerebral palsy, a substantial settlement can provide a family with the financial support necessary for the lifelong care of their child.
Cerebral palsy can develop naturally or due to the negligence of a physician, which may include:
- Depriving the infant of oxygen by leaving them in the birth canal too long;
- Exerting too much force during vacuum extraction or when using forceps;
- Failing to anticipate, recognize, or treat seizures following delivery;
- Not planning a C-section when factors are present that warrant the procedure (e.g., high birth weight, breech fetal position);
- Failing to detect an umbilical cord wrapped around a child’s neck;
- Failing to perform a timely C-section when the fetus is in distress;
- Failing to properly monitor changes in fetal heart rate; and
- Improperly monitoring the mother’s condition during delivery.
How Can a Lexington Birth Injury Attorney Help?
Birth injury cases are often complicated and should be handled by a knowledgeable Lexington birth injury attorney. These cases require several investigations, including an extensive in-depth look into the factors leading to the injury, the history of parties involved in the childbirth, and medical complications that may have arisen before, during, or after delivery.
Should you decide to pursue legal action, your attorney will carry out an investigation that may include:
- Reviewing the child and/or mother’s medical records;
- Gathering witness statements and accounts of the procedure and surrounding circumstances;
- Reviewing notes concerning the delivery and patient;
- Examining the accused party’s history of providing medical care;
- Exploring the history of other parties who may potentially be liable for damages;
- Consulting experts in the field, including obstetricians and anesthesiologists;
- Combing through the accused party’s description of the procedure with an expert to find any potential omissions, complications, or inaccuracies in the report;
- Reviewing the healthcare facility’s history, looking for previous lawsuits or complaints; and
- Hiring a private investigator.
Using the information he or she collects during the investigation, your attorney will create a claim that seeks compensation for your losses from the defendant(s), which may include the delivering doctor and/or hospital. In doing so, your attorney may engage in negotiations, file a lawsuit on your behalf, and re-negotiate for a settlement before trial.
If negotiations are unsuccessful, your attorney will prepare for court by using the discovery period to review the opposing parties’ records and files that may not have been attainable earlier; deposing and questioning witnesses and the defendant(s); preparing you for questioning from the defense attorneys; consulting additional expert witnesses to gather more in-depth insight into your claim; and searching for any weak points in your claim or the defendant’s defense.
What Is My Case Worth?
Economic and noneconomic damages may be available to a party injured during childbirth, as well as family members who lost a loved one during childbirth due to another’s negligence. Economic damages are calculable expenses the injured or their family has or will incur. Non-economic damages include losses that cannot be specifically calculated or valued, and may require the help of experts who can calculate these damages by evaluating the seriousness of the condition and its impact on the injured party or their family.
Economic damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, funeral expenses, or any other related calculable damages.
Noneconomic damages may include loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, loss of consortium (loss of companionship, support, and intimacy), and other related damages.
In certain cases, punitive damages may be available to punish a healthcare provider who acted with a conscious disregard for human life or was grossly negligent in causing the injury.
If your or a loved one sustained a birth injury in Lexington, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. To learn more about your available legal options, please complete our free case evaluation form today.