While the arrival of a newborn can be a joyous occasion, unexpected health problems are not only difficult for the child, but may present both financial and emotional distress for the family. In some circumstances, a physician or nurse error can cause an otherwise healthy newborn to suffer potentially catastrophic injuries. In many cases, these injuries could have been prevented if those health care providers would have followed normal standards of practice. While some infants recover from their injuries, others suffer severe disabilities that can impact that child for the rest of their life.
Sometimes physicians will conceal their mistakes and families are often misinformed about their child’s injuries and are lead to believe they were congenital or present before delivery. Most lawyers are not suited to analyze the complexities of birth trauma cases, but at Potts Law Firm we have a team of experienced birth injury lawyers and medical professionals to work on your case. If you or someone you love experienced an unexpectedly difficult labor and the infant was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), call Potts Law Firm at 888-902-6245 to determine if you were a victim of negligence.
The field of obstetrics involves many different types of health care providers including physicians, nurses, mid-wives, and medical assistants. In major academic institutions, physicians in training either in medical school or residency may be performing duties with little or no supervision by full-fledged attending physicians. This can lead to a higher rate of mistakes and unfortunately injuries as well. Some of the most common mistakes that can occur are the following:
- Inappropriate use of forceps that causes injury to the head or body
- Delay or failure to recognize fetal distress
- Inappropriate use of Pitocin(oxytocin) to induce delivery
- Delay in performing a cesarean section
- Failure to diagnose shoulder dystocia and manage appropriately
- Failure to recognize large infant before delivery
- Failure to manage breech delivery
- Failure to prevent premature delivery
- Brain Injury and Cerebral Palsy
- Shoulder Dystocia and Brachial Plexus Injuries
- Fractures and Other Injuries from Forceps or Vacuum Extractors
A nightmare for any parent is a catastrophic injury to their child’s brain. This can result from various types of medical negligence. One such type involves induction of labor where the physician uses the drug Pitocin or Oxytocin to force uterine contractions to begin the labor process. Monitoring is essential to ensure the appropriate amount of Pitocin is being used and does not cause fetal distress or put too much pressure on the baby’s head and brain. If the baby becomes stuck in the birth canal, the Pitocin induced contractions can result in a brain injury. This injury is completely preventable with a careful watch of maternal-fetal heart monitoring and good communication between all health care providers.
Another act of malpractice that can cause a brain injury is when the physician or mid-wife inappropriately applies too much force when using forceps or a vacuum extractor. These instruments are typically used when the infant is stuck in the birth canal. While the use of them may occur during urgent or emergent situations, using too much force is inexcusable and is avoidable with proper training and use of sound technique.
How do I know if my child has suffered a brain injury?
When a baby suffers a brain injury at or near the time of delivery, they may be unresponsive at birth and require a long stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). As part of the diagnosis, they may undergo head ultrasounds, CT scans, or MRIs of the brain. The goal of the treatment will be to minimize the brain damage, but unfortunately, some children do not fully recover. Since the brain is not fully developed at this age, any injury may result in permanent life-long complications. If your child suffered an unexpected injury at birth and was required to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), call Potts Law Firm to discuss your case at 888-902-6245. We have highly experienced medical malpractice attorneys and medical staff to review your case.
Cerebral Palsy is a poorly understood term. Many in the medical community classify it as a catch-all for any brain injury that occurs while the brain is in development. Potts Law Firm has handled cases of cerebral palsy that occurred at birth and others that occurred in the first 6 months of life. While each case of cerebral palsy can differ, those afflicted with the disorder will often have difficulties with coordinated muscle movements and can have very painful contractures of their extremities and possible paralysis. Depending on the nature of the cause, the child may also suffer from learning disabilities, seizures, vision or hearing loss. While a brain injury can be diagnosed at birth, the possible extent of the injury may not be known until two years of age when they exhibit delays in developmental milestones. The families caring for these children can incur great expenses for specialist care, rehabilitation, wheelchairs, equipment, home modifications, and lost wages due to missing work. If you have or know a loved-one who is suffering from cerebral palsy from medical negligence, please contact the birth injury attorneys at Potts Law Firm to discuss your case at 888-902-6245.
Shoulder Dystocia and Brachial Plexus Injuries
Shoulder dystocia is complication of delivery when the infant’s shoulder becomes stuck in the birth canal behind the mother’s pubic bone. There are predictive risks that all health care providers should recognize to help prevent shoulder dystocia, but not all cases can be prevented. So while shoulder dystocia may not be preventable, the complications are completely preventable with timely recognition and appropriate treatment using sound techniques. Several options include:
- Suprapubic Pressure – Pressure applied to dislodge the shoulder and facilitate delivery.
- McRoberts Maneuver – Bring the mother’s legs upwards to aid the position of the delivering infant.
- Woods Screw Maneuver – This is sometimes referred to as “Woods Corkscrew” where the infant’s shoulders are rotated to assist delivery.
- Zavenelli Maneuver – After other maneuvers have failed, the Zavanelli maneuver pushes back the fetal head for cesarean section.
- Episiotomy – Surgical incision made to enlarge the vaginal opening to aid in delivery
- Symphysiotomy – This procedure widens the mother’s pelvis to aid in delivery.
The doctor or mid-wife must carefully advance the infant through the birth canal without stretching the arm and shoulder. If they do not perform sound technique, they can stretch the baby’s neck and arm causing damage to the bundle of nerves known as the brachial plexus. This bundle of nerves begins at the spinal cord and innervates the muscles of the neck, shoulder, arm, and hand. When these nerves are damaged, the infant can suffer permanent loss of arm and hand function that could be accompanied by severe pain and a loss of sensation. While physical and occupational therapy may improve their prognosis, the child may suffer life-long disabilities because of the malpractice.
Other Injuries from Forceps and Vacuum Extractors
During situations where the infant is stuck in the birth canal, physicians and mid-wives will use forceps or vacuum extractors to pull the child through. If the health care provider does not use sound technique, the forceps or vacuum can not only cause damage to the brain, but it can also cause damage to areas of the spinal cord and may cause severe skeletal fractures.
Why contact Potts Law Firm?
At Potts Law Firm, your case will be investigated thoroughly. We will request the medical records on your behalf and our experienced medical team will analyze the records and assist your birth injury lawyers throughout the case. In addition, a legal professional will be available to assist you with the entire process.
Birth injury medical malpractice cases are very complex and require only the most skilled lawyers to litigate. Potts Law Firm is comprised of highly respected and experienced medical malpractice lawyers with superior medical staff to work on your case. Our team has a proven track record of results and some of our accomplishments in birth and neurologic injuries include the following:
- $12,100,000 verdict on behalf of a paralyzed child in a medical malpractice case
- $5,000,000 settlement for a child who suffered a brain injury in a medical malpractice case
- $4,000,000 verdict for a minor in a birth injury medical malpractice case (member of Plaintiffs Trial Team)
- $3,500,000 settlement for a minor who suffered a brain injury in a medical malpractice case
- $3,000,000 settlement for a minor who suffered a brain injury in a medical malpractice case
- $1,500,000 settlement for a minor in a birth injury medical malpractice case
If you or someone you love experienced an unexpectedly difficult labor and the infant was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), call Potts Law Firm at 888-902-6245 to determine if you were a victim of negligence.