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Albany Birth Injury Lawyer
Childbirth is a beautiful event in any family’s life. But unfortunately, childbirth doesn’t come without its own set of risks, including birth injuries. Birth injuries are often the result of medical malpractice and come with endless physical and emotional consequences. While some birth injuries are fairly minor and can resolve without much medical intervention, other birth injuries – such as cerebral palsy for example – cause lifelong physical and cognitive disabilities. Not only that, birth injuries can easily lead to a mountain of medical bills that can take a lifetime to pay off. If you’re in a similar situation to what we’re describing here, you need an Albany birth injury lawyer on your side.
Bailey, Johnson & Peck is a top notch personal injury law firm in Albany, NY. Our birth injury lawyers fully understand how devastating birth trauma can be to new families. That’s why we’re so passionate about providing the best legal aid possible. Our law firm wants families who have suffered the devastating effects of birth injuries to recover adequate financial compensation. Allow our team to help you. Call 518-456-0082 to schedule a free consultation.
What is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury is an injury that occurs to the child, the mother, or both during a traumatic birthing process. Some birth injuries, like broken bones, are fairly minor and can resolve with the correct medical treatment. Meanwhile, some birth injuries such as brain damage or spinal cord injuries are so severe that they cause lifelong physical and mental disabilities.
Are Birth Injuries Preventable?
Most birth injuries are preventable especially with correct and timely medical care during the birthing process. An example of a preventable birth injury is brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation during delivery.
How Many Birth Injuries Occur in the U.S. Every Year?
According to Birth Injury Guide, approximately 28,000 babies suffer a serious birth injury during labor and delivery every year. This means that approximately 1 in 10,000 babies suffer severe injuries at birth every year.
Birth Defects vs. Birth Injuries
Many people often confuse birth defects with birth injuries, but the two terms are very different. Birth defects are injuries that occur in the womb due to genetics while birth injuries occur outside of the womb, usually due to a negligent physician during labor and delivery. Common birth defects include congenital heart defects, spina bifida, down syndrome, and cleft palates.
According to the CDC, approximately one in every 33 infants (3%) are born with birth defects.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
Common birth injuries include:
- Cerebral Palsy is basically a traumatic brain injury that occurs due to medical malpractice at birth. Cerebral palsy is characterized by motor disabilities, so injured children generally struggle to walk, maintain balance, speak, etc.
- Erb’s Palsy is basically a brachial plexus injury that usually occurs when a baby’s head and neck is pulled on or twisted during delivery. The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves in the cervical and thoracic sections of the spinal cord. These nerves control sensation and movement in the shoulders and arms. When one or more of these nerves is damaged or torn, babies can suffer chronic pain and a general lack of mobility in the upper body.
- Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is another type of traumatic brain injury that generally occurs due to medical negligence during birth. Basically, HIE is brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation.
- Caput Succedaneum is when an infant’s scalp becomes swollen after childbirth. This birth injury is generally caused by the pressure of the birth canal on the baby’s head. Infants that are born after a long, difficult delivery process are more likely to suffer from caput succedaneum.
- Cephalohematoma is basically blood that pools under the baby’s scalp. While this injury sounds serious, it’s one that generally resolves in a few weeks with minimal medical care and few long term disabilities. A cephalohematoma is generally the result of vacuum extraction during childbirth.
- Broken Bones are considered fairly minor physical injuries during birth. Most times, broken bones in babies heal with very little medical care and no long-term disabilities. The most common broken bones from birth are the upper arm bones and collarbones. This injury can result from long or difficult labor.
- Bruising From Forceps or Vacuum Extraction is another minor birth injury that often resolves with very little medical care. Doctors may use one of these birthing techniques if the baby is stuck in an awkward position in the birth canal. When vacuums or forceps are used properly, the baby won’t suffer permanent damage. However, babies can suffer from bruises on their faces or heads. Sometimes, babies also have minor bruising from simply passing through the mother’s pelvis.
- Death: If a child’s birth injury leads to death shortly after childbirth, the parents certainly have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The birth injuries that most commonly lead to postnatal death are brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.
Can Mothers Suffer Birth Injuries?
Yes, mothers can suffer birth injuries too. Similarly to a child’s injury during birth, many maternal birth injuries are preventable with experienced and competent medical personnel. Common maternal birth injuries include:
- Seizures during labor due to untreated and undiagnosed preeclampsia
- Uterine rupture
- Cesarean section errors such as leaving surgical objects inside the mother’s body or damaging the mother’s internal organs
- Anesthesia errors during a c-section
- Epidural errors during labor and delivery
- Vaginal or c-section infection after birth
- Excessive bleeding during or after birth that isn’t properly controlled by medical practitioners
If you or your child has suffered from one of the aforementioned birth injuries, you may have grounds to file a birth injury lawsuit. New York birth injury lawyers at Bailey, Johnson & Peck will carefully investigate your case alongside medical experts and fight for your justice.
Common Causes of Birth Injuries
A fetal or maternal birth injury is generally caused by medical malpractice. Medical professionals can face a medical malpractice lawsuit when they make one of the following mistakes during childbirth:
- The doctor failed to monitor signs of fetal distress.
- The doctor failed to control the mother’s blood pressure.
- Failure to perform a c-section in a timely manner, especially if labor has been going on too long and the baby is suffering from oxygen deprivation.
- Improper use of birthing techniques such as vacuum extraction and delivery with forceps clamped around the baby’s head. These birthing techniques are often used when the baby is stuck in an awkward position in the birth canal. When used correctly, both vacuum extraction and forceps could prevent the need for a c-section.
- Failure to diagnose or treat a mother’s preeclampsia, which is incredibly dangerous for both the mother and the baby during labor.
- Failure to perform specific tests and scans that could’ve detected health conditions prior to labor and delivery.
- Incorrect administration of the epidural.
- Failure to bring in other medical personnel, especially if a medical professional was aware that their pregnant patient was high risk.
- Failure to diagnose or treat maternal/fetal infections, placenta previa, crushed umbilical cord, uterine rupture, or placental abruption.
Birth injury attorneys at Bailey, Johnson & Peck have handled countless birth injury claims involving the aforementioned types of medical negligence. As Albany’s top birth injury law firm, we are the compassionate yet aggressive legal counsel you need to successfully litigate your birth injury claim.
Risk Factors for Birth Trauma
Some mothers have a higher risk of experiencing birth trauma than others. It’s the doctor’s job to recognize these risk factors, notify the mother prior to birth, and bring in specialists in order to ensure the safest birth possible. Additionally, if a medical professional recognizes the risks listed below and fails to adequately prepare for the worst case scenario – a birth injury – they could certainly face a medical negligence lawsuit.
- Babies that weigh more than 8lbs, 13oz towards the end of a pregnancy have a higher risk of suffering a birth injury.
- Babies that are born before 37 weeks (AKA prematurely) raise the risks of a birth injury.
- Cephalopelvic disproportion is a fancy medical term that basically means that the mother’s pelvis is too small or not the right shape for vaginal birth. This medical condition raises the risks of birth trauma to both the mother and the baby.
- Breech babies, AKA babies that are “feet down” instead of “head down” raise the risks of birth trauma for both the mother and the baby.
- Labor that goes on too long is dangerous for both mother and baby. If medical professionals fail to recognize prolonged labor and act quickly with a c-section, the mother and baby could suffer a life-threatening birth injury.
- Lastly, maternal obesity also raises the risks of birth trauma.
Proving Medical Negligence in Birth Injury Cases
In order to prove that a birth injury was directly caused by a negligent physician, you must prove the four elements of negligence. New York birth injury attorneys at Bailey, Johnson & Peck can help you do this.
- Duty of Care: All medical professionals owe their patients a specific duty of care.
- Breached Duty of Care: One or more medical professionals breached this duty of care. A New York birth injury attorney can prove this by hiring medical experts that specialize in the same field as the negligent doctor(s) in question. By reviewing medical records and investigating the mother or child’s birth injury, these medical experts can help prove that the doctor(s) violated the medical standard of care. This medical standard of care is the level of care that a competent doctor in the same field would’ve provided in the same childbirth scenario.
- Causation: The mother or the child suffered extensive injuries due to the doctor’s breached duty of care.
- Damages: The mother or the child’s injuries led to a variety of damages for which they should recover financial compensation.
Damages for Birth Injury Lawsuits
A mother or child harmed during childbirth can recover the following types of financial compensation in a successful birth injury lawsuit.
- Past and future medical expenses for both the child and the mother
- Past and future rehabilitative expenses for both the child and the mother
- Costs associated with necessary medical equipment for the child, such as wheelchairs, walkers, braces, etc.
- Physical pain and suffering of both the child and the mother
- Emotional distress of both the child and the mother
- Costs associated with counseling for the mother’s emotional distress during postpartum
- Lost wages for the parents
- Future lost wages for the child, if their birth injury will cause them lifelong disability which will prevent them from working
- Future loss of earning capacity if the child’s injuries will prevent them from accomplishing certain job duties
- Decreased quality of life for the parents and the child due to the birth injury
Call an Albany Birth Injury Attorney at Bailey, Johnson & PeckIf a child’s birth injury, such as cerebral palsy, has cost you thousands of dollars in medical bills and countless sleepless nights due to grief, you deserve to recover maximum compensation through a birth injury lawsuit. An Albany birth injury lawyer at Bailey, Johnson & Peck can walk you through the whole legal process, help you gather sufficient evidence to prove your claim, help you prove medical negligence, and help you recover the compensation you deserve. Call 518-456-0082 for a free case evaluation.
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Our attorneys have extensive experience in personal injury law, including car accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. If you have questions about insurance coverage and how to get the financial compensation you need, contact us today to see how we can help.
We have represented many clients on both sides of personal injury and insurance disputes. Let us use our depth of knowledge and experience to help you and your family get the medical care and financial compensation you need and deserve.