Mistakes made before, during, and immediately after childbirth can have devastating consequences for a baby. Understanding the common causes of birth injuries is useful in determining whether medical negligence has been a factor. When a preventable birth injury results from the negligence of a medical professional, the at-fault individual or hospital can be held accountable for the injuries, damages, and losses caused.
Birth injuries can result in significant expenses and heartache for the child's parents and other family members. If your child has suffered a life-altering birth injury as a result of medical negligence, the experienced Omaha birth injury attorneys at Cullan & Cullan LLC can help.
Call us at (402) 882-7080 or submit an online contact form for a free consultation. We serve families throughout the state of Nebraska.
Why Do Birth Injuries Occur?
Modern obstetrical practice teaches health care providers to watch for labor abnormalities that may indicate an unborn child needs help. Technological advances allow immediate detection of labor abnormalities and fetal distress, enabling healthcare providers to take quick action to alleviate these potentially dangerous conditions. When these signs are not recognized, both the mother and her unborn child are at risk. During labor, a baby can lose oxygen (see image below) or suffer trauma, either of which can result in a number of injuries that can last for a child's entire life.
Common Causes of Birth Injuries:
- Delayed birth: During labor, a newborn's head is under a significant amount of pressure. When labor lasts for several hours, the compression on the brain can result in devastating, permanent damage. Action must be taken when labor has gone on for too long or when the baby shows signs of fetal distress. If the baby's blood pressure becomes elevated, they must be removed through cesarean section right away.
- Oxygen deprivation: Many of the most severe birth injuries are the result of oxygen deprivation to the brain. This can happen as a result of external factors, such as a prolapsed umbilical cord, or due to internal factors, such as underdeveloped lungs or low birth weight.
- Head trauma: Whether it is through excessive force while using forceps, delayed birth involving extreme pressure on the head, or from blunt trauma, a head injury to the fetus can have permanent or long-term consequences.
- Too much force during delivery: A baby can suffer from brachial plexus or Erb's palsy if the doctor applies too much force on their head or neck during delivery. Excessive force can damage nerves in the shoulder, resulting in paralysis or weakness in the baby's arm.
- Failure to monitor: It is crucial before and during labor to carefully monitor the vital signs of the baby and mother. When the heart rate and blood pressure of the baby aren't carefully monitored, medical professionals may fail to notice warning signs of preventable injuries.
- Medication errors: A mother and baby are vulnerable during labor. When mistakes are made with regard to anesthesia or medication, it can have devastating consequences for the mother and child.
Such medical errors and the injuries they produce are inexcusable and can result in difficulties for children and their families as they cope with the disabilities that result. Those who cause such injuries during birth can be held liable. At Cullan & Cullan LLC, our Omaha birth injury lawyers work to secure compensation for families in order to aid with medical expenses and rehabilitation, as well as pain and suffering.
What Is the Difference Between a Birth Defect and a Birth Injury?
Birth defects stem from a child’s DNA, whereas birth injuries are acquired during or after the birthing process. While both can result in serious harm, birth defects occur because of a child’s medical predisposition to those abnormalities, usually because of a biological history or other DNA trait. They are often unpreventable, and cannot constitute a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Birth injuries, on the other hand, are caused by someone else’s error or negligence, and may include anything from failed fetal heart monitoring to incorrect use of forceps. If you are unclear as to whether or not your child’s condition is due to an injury or a birth defect, our attorneys can help review your case and point you down the right path.
Who Could Be Liable for My Child's Birth Injury?
If you discover that your child is a victim of any type of birth injury, your next step should be to determine who is liable for their injuries. Depending on the circumstances of your child’s injury, several parties could be responsible, including:
- Birthing Center
Doctors or nurses who make bad judgement calls or fail to perform their duties could face serious repercussions for their irresponsible actions. Likewise, if hospitals or birthing centers are negligent in sterilizing their equipment, or if they hire ill-qualified staff, or make other similar mistakes, they could be found liable for any resulting damages.
What Do I Need To Prove In a Birth Injury Case?
To take legal action against a negligent party, you must be able to prove several key points to establish a valid birth injury claim. In any birth injury lawsuit, you must be able to prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed between your child (through the mother) and the negligent doctor/nurse/midwife, etc. This shows the court that the healthcare professional or healthcare facility you’re taking action against had a legitimate duty towards the injured party.
The claim must also show that the liable party breached their legal duty or standard of care by failing to provide the same level of support another doctor/hospital/etc. would have under the same circumstances. Lastly, the claim should show that the negligence or mistake harmed the baby, or mother.
A Proven Record of Success in Obstetrical Malpractice in Nebraska
Cullan & Cullan LLC has specialized medical experience and knowledge in obstetrics. This enables our birth injury lawyers to represent parents of babies injured at birth with the skill necessary to maximize recovery for these babies. Life-long injuries will necessitate life-long needs, including therapy, surgery, equipment, and care. The associated financial costs are tremendous.
Our firm handles a wide range of birth injury matters, including but not limited to cases involving:
- Birth asphyxia
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Cerebral palsy
- Fetal distress
- Forceps injuries
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage
- Vacuum extractor injuries
We have a proven record in recovering the maximum amount available from the medical insurance companies in order to minimize the financial impact such injuries will have on the injured baby and his or her family.
We welcome your calls about obstetrical malpractice cases. Contact us at (402) 882-7080 for an appointment. Our physician/trial lawyers represent clients nationwide.