NOAKES LAW GROUP
Louisville Birth Injury Attorneys
The Lawyers To Call After A Birth Related Injury To A Mother Or Infant
Handling Birth Injury Claims in Louisville & Throughout Kentucky
Birth should be a time for celebration. Unfortunately, labor and delivery result in birth injuries to either mother or child for far too many families. As a first-world nation, the United States should have low maternal mortality rates. Unfortunately, as a recent report from USA Today showed, the mortality rate in the U.S. is rising. These statistics do not even include birth injuries to children.
If you think you or your child has suffered a birth injury, you should contact an experienced Louisville birth injury attorney. These are complicated cases, and doctors and hospitals are not eager to admit when they have made mistakes. Our team has the experience and resources necessary to uncover medical negligence and fight to get your family the maximum compensation you need. Contact us today.
Most Common Causes of Birth Injuries To Babies
Many things can go wrong during delivery. For example, the following might ultimately create a birth defeat or seriously injure your child:
- Delayed C-section
- Improperly performed C-section
- Negligent use of forceps
- Failure to monitor and discover
- Failure to respond properly to fetal distress
- Rough delivery (tugging and pulling)
Birth injuries are most commonly due to the natural forces of labor and delivery. In the past, when risks of a C-section delivery were high, doctors performed difficult deliveries by pulling the fetus out using forceps. The use of forceps came with a high risk of birth injury. Today, forceps are used only in the final stages of delivery and rarely cause injury.
Even if your baby has been denied oxygen for a brief period of time, doctors can often prevent further damage if they properly diagnose hypoxia and take corrective action. A careless doctor, however, will not notice anything is wrong or not order proper treatment.
Common Birth Injuries
A doctor’s negligence can cause a fetus to develop a range of serious birth defects, including the following:
- Brachial plexus injury. This injury involves damage to the network of nerves controlling the arm and hand. It can occur when there is excessive pulling on the baby’s head and neck during delivery.
- Spinal cord injuries. A spinal cord injury during childbirth is often a clear sign of medical malpractice. A complicated delivery may cause the umbilical cord to be compressed, causing the baby to suffer breathing difficulties. Improperly pulling and twisting the baby during this rushed delivery can cause spinal cord injuries as well as permanent nerve damage.
- Cephalohematoma. This is a collection of blood between the baby’s skull and the membrane covering the bones. It is often caused by pressure during delivery and while it may look bad, it typically resolves on its own over time.
- Caput succedaneum. This refers to swelling of the soft tissues of the baby’s scalp, usually resulting from pressure during delivery. It is often resolved without treatment.
- Facial nerve injury. Pressure on the baby’s face during delivery can lead to damage to the facial nerves. The damage is usually temporary, although it may be permanent in some cases.
- Fractures. Fractures of the collarbone or other bones can occur during delivery. This is especially true if the birth is difficult or complicated.
- Intracranial hemorrhage. This refers to bleeding within the baby’s skull, which can be caused by trauma during delivery. This can lead to neurological complications in severe cases.
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). This occurs when the baby’s brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen and blood, potentially leading to long-term neurological issues.
- Perinatal asphyxia. This refers to insufficient oxygen supply to the baby before, during, or after birth. This can lead to various complications, including brain damage.
Injuries To Mothers
Noakes can handle your birth injury case.
While advancements in medical care and delivery techniques have significantly reduced the occurrence of severe complications during childbirth, childbirth is still a complex and physically demanding process. Here are some common injuries that mothers may experience during labor and delivery:
- Perineal tears. These are a common occurrence during vaginal delivery where the perineum, which is the tissue between the vaginal opening and the anus, tears. The severity can range from first degree to fourth degree (involving the anal sphincter). In some cases, the doctor may make a deliberate incision in the perineum to facilitate delivery. This is called an episiotomy and is less common nowadays but is still done frequently.
- Vaginal lacerations. Tears can occur in the vaginal wall during delivery, especially if the baby’s head is large or positioned in a certain way.
- Uterine rupture. This is a rare but serious complication where the uterus tears, potentially causing life-threatening bleeding. It is more common in women who have had a previous C-section.
- Postpartum hemorrhage. This refers to excessive bleeding after childbirth, often due to failure of the uterus to contract adequately. Postpartum hemorrhage can result from a variety of factors, including retained placental tissue.
- Pelvic organ prolapse. This is caused by the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic organs, including the bladder, uterus, or rectum may descend into the vaginal space.
- Pelvic floor dysfunction. Childbirth can cause damage to or weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. This can lead to issues such as urinary or fecal incontinence and pelvic pain.
- Infection. Infections of the uterus or C-section incision can occur and may require medical intervention.
- Deep vein thrombosis. Prolonged immobility during labor and delivery can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis, which refers to blood clots in a vein. This is particularly common in the legs.
Issues can also occur during pregnancy. Doctors can also fail to properly diagnose problems during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia, which might warrant immediate delivery. Preeclampsia typically begins after the fifth month of pregnancy and can cause death and damage to your baby.
Some other conditions that may occur during pregnancy that may affect a baby include:
- Gestational diabetes. This is a condition that can lead to hyperglycemia, placing the baby at risk of becoming too large or developing breathing difficulties.
- Hypoglycemia. This is a condition involving low blood sugar that is particularly dangerous for Type 1 diabetics. For fetuses, it can lead to stillbirth and congenital malformations.
- Macrosomia. This is a doctor’s failure to detect an unusually large fetus. This can lead to complications during delivery, causing harm to the baby and the mother’s birth canal.
- Rh compatibility. This is a preventable condition that can lead to brain damage and seizures if not treated.
- Severe anemia. This refers to insufficient iron during pregnancy. This can cause a baby to suffer from anemia and other health problems.
- Infections. The mother may develop infections during pregnancy, such as herpes or E. coli. These can be transmitted to the baby or cause serious health conditions such as sepsis.
Medical Negligence in Birth Injury Cases
Medical errors during labor and the delivery process usually stem from negligence. This means the doctor did not follow the appropriate standard of care given the circumstances. Doctors are not expected to be miracle workers, but they are expected to follow the standard of care that other properly trained doctors would have followed. When a doctor is negligent, a patient can sue him or her.
Standard of care is a legal term, not a medical term. It refers to the degree of care a reasonable person would exercise under the circumstances. The standard of care is the benchmark that determines whether medical professional obligations to patients have been met. Failure to meet the standard of care is negligence, which can carry significant consequences for healthcare workers.
As part of our practice, our Louisville birth injury lawyers have experience building a case for a medical malpractice lawsuit for negligence against a doctor or hospital. These cases typically require investigative work, which listening to your story of what happened and also reviewing your medical records. We might also interview other members of the delivery team at the hospital.
Key in these cases is retaining a medical expert to review the doctor’s conduct to determine whether it met the standard of care. In some cases, it will be obvious the doctor made a mistake, but in others, only a practitioner in the field can speak authoritatively about what a doctor should have done.
HOW NOAKES LAW CAN HELP
Noakes can handle your birth injury case.
Compensation For Birth Injuries
If we are successful in your medical malpractice claim, we can often obtain compensation for our client’s medical expenses. This compensation can take the form of damages for:
- Past, present, and future medical care. If your child has a disability, then ongoing medical care can be expensive.
- Lost wages, if you missed work because of the injuries.
- Pain and suffering. This term includes physical pain and inconvenience caused by the birth injury.
Every birth injury lawsuit is different, and there is little sense in talking about “average” birth trauma settlements. Meet with a Louisville birth injury lawyer to review the financial compensation you might receive.