When Birth Injuries Become a Question of Justice for The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond

When Birth Injuries Become a Question of Justice

Life does not get started off on the right foot when a child is injured at birth. These are unquestionably among the most tragic and emotionally draining cases in personal injury law. Dealing with the aftermath of a birth injury is physically, mentally, and financially draining for families involved, leaving many to ask the question: “What next?”

When Birth Injuries Become a Question of Justice for The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond

Birth Defects and Birth Injuries Are Not Synonymous

A birth defect and a birth injury are separate occurrences. A birth defect is a problem that develops in utero and can lead to intellectual, physical, and developmental disabilities. A birth defect can be the result of:

  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Lifestyle choices and behaviors
  • Exposure to certain medications and chemicals
  • Infections during pregnancy

Globally, about 8 million children are born every year with birth defects and congenital abnormalities such as:

  • Cleft lip/cleft palate
  • Down’s syndrome
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Tay Sachs

Birth Injuries Can Occur for Many Reasons

Trauma can be caused by the actions of medical personnel. When forceps are used inappropriately, for example, the instruments may cause bleeding on the brain. In excessively long labor, the repeated contractions continually force the infant’s head against the mother’s pelvis, sometimes resulting in a brain injury. Oxygen deprivation is another major cause of birth injuries when a physician is not prepared to perform a cesarean section quickly enough should it becomes necessary.

A birth injury is something that happens during the gestational period, and/or labor and delivery. An infant is not born with a birth injury: it is something that was inflicted on them, more often than not caused by some form of healthcare negligence such as:

  • Use of excessive force causing trauma
  • Failing to perform a C-section when necessary
  • Prematurely delivering a baby
  • Failing to properly identify or treat an infection
  • Not treating labor or birth complications properly
  • Not treating the baby properly when there are signs that it is in distress
  • Umbilical cord compression
  • Improper usage of common birthing tools, such as forceps or vacuum assistance
  • Administering incorrect medication, or administering an incorrect dosage

Some common birth injuries are:

Standards of Care

Medical professionals rarely admit when their mistakes cause a child to sustain a birth injury. In order to pursue a legal claim for compensation, it must be proven that the injury was caused by medical error, negligence, or malpractice. When a health care provider fails to meet a certain standard of care in treating a patient, they are considered medically negligent. Some examples of a deviation from the relevant standard of care in delivering a baby include:

  • Misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose;
  • Failing to provide the patient with sufficient information about the risks of treatment
  • Failing to perform a C-section when necessary
  • Mistreatment or a failure to treat
  • Delaying to perform a C-section
  • Prematurely delivering a baby
  • Failing to properly identify or treat an infection

Birth Injuries Can Mean a Lifetime of Added Expenses for the Family

A birth injury is both emotionally draining and financially taxing. The expenses can be seemingly never-ending. Many families are overwhelmed by and underprepared for the long-term costs of raising a child with special needs. The parents of a child who has been injured at birth due to medical malpractice may be able to seek compensation for damages such as:

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical care
  • Rehabilitative therapy
  • Pain, suffering and mental anguish
  • Disfigurement or impairment
  • Medical equipment

Every Birth Injury Case Is Unique

Seeking compensation for birth injuries is a complicated and multifaceted undertaking. At the end of the day, the amount of compensation for birth injuries may depend on:

  • The existence and extent of the medical professional’s negligence.
  • The ability to prove negligence amounts
  • The extent of the child’s injuries
  • The long-term prognosis
  • The cost of medical bills
  • The likelihood of future medical treatments, assistive devices, and specialty care
  • Your child’s pain and suffering
  • What, if any, health insurance is available.
  • Professional medical testimony

Serious Injuries to the Mother Are Also Possible

When we think about birth injuries, we naturally consider harm to the infant first and foremost. However, maternal injuries during childbirth are also quite common, and can stem from negligent care on the part of a doctor, nurse, or another medical professional. Injuries to the mother during labor or delivery can also be considered birth injuries. Certain procedures, such as forceps-assisted delivery and Cesarean section, may increase the risks of birth injury to the mother. In some cases, a failure to diagnose certain conditions during prenatal care may lead to maternal injuries or complications during birth.

Maternal birth injuries are often extremely serious, and sadly, sometimes deadly. Although it’s true that accidents do happen and not every injury can be prevented, certain types of birth-related injuries can be directly related to negligence and malpractice. Traumatic labor and delivery can have numerous physical effects on the mother. Vaginal tears and fissures can happen during prolonged or forceful labor. This condition causes pathways to open between tissues and can lead to infections due to the spreading of bacteria into the bloodstream (bacteremia.) If not recognized and treated promptly, bacteremia, or septic shock, can have fatal results.

Conditions such as uterine bleeding or postpartum hemorrhage, if not treated promptly, can have horrific results: in some cases, these conditions can end in the wrongful death of the mother. A common complication, pre-eclampsia, is characterized by the onset of high blood pressure and an excessive and dangerous amount of protein in the urine. If left untreated, pre-eclampsia can lead to organ damage and placental abruption.

Filing a New York Medical Malpractice Claim

Although most physicians do not intentionally cause harm, claims of medical negligence, failure to diagnose, and medical malpractice are prevalent in New York. Filing a claim in this area of law is technically complex, and likely requires the assistance of an experienced New York medical malpractice and birth injury attorney. If and when a birth injury becomes a question of justice, contact The Law Office of Ivan M. Diamond or call (718) 588-2000 for proven legal representation.