Did Your Child Suffer a Birth Injury?
The last thing any parent wants to consider is having their child injured. But unfortunately, this happens all the time, especially during birth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 7 in every 1,000 children suffer a birth injury in the United States each year. If your child is injured because of a medical professional’s negligence, you may have a medical malpractice case.
The Jackson birth injury lawyers at Giddens Law Firm have been handling birth injury cases throughout the state of Mississippi for over 22 years. We have successfully settled and litigated to jury verdict birth injury cases for hundreds of parents of injured infants. We understand the complexities around these types of cases and will make sure you get the maximum amount of compensation that your child deserves following the accident.
What are Common Types of Birth Injury?
A birth injury occurs any time during the birthing process — while the mother is pregnant, during labor, or when the infant is delivered. Sometimes, a birth injury may only be temporary and will heal within a few days. Yet there are times when the injury is permanent and lasts the entire life of the child.
Some common causes of a birth injury include:
Cerebral palsy is caused when the infant’s brain develops abnormally, affecting the child’s ability to move or maintain balance and posture. The damage can happen any time during pregnancy, the birth, or right after the baby is delivered. Unfortunately, there is no cure for cerebral palsy, though surgery may help.
Some events that could cause cerebral palsy include importer monitoring of the mother during labor, failure to monitor for fetal distress, and inadequate birthing techniques.
Hypoxia and anoxia happen when there is either a decrease or an absence of oxygen in the infant’s organs. When the blood flow is interrupted, such as the umbilical cord being wrapped around the baby, the lack of oxygen can result in seizures, developmental issues, and hearing/vision impairments.
If the child suffered either hypoxia or anoxia during birth, they will need long-term care for their entire lives. This includes multiple surgeries, therapy, special education, and medication.
During labor, the baby may experience extreme pressure against their face. The pressure can injure the facial nerve and cause paralysis. Unfortunately, the injury may not be noticed until the baby starts to cry and there is no facial movement on one side of the face. If the nerve was just bruised, the paralysis will improve within a few weeks; but if there’s severe damage, surgery will be needed.
Facial paralysis may occur if forceps were used during the delivery. The posterior blade of the forceps can increase the pressure on the child’s face, causing the injury.
Brachial Plexus/Erb’s Palsy
Brachial plexus palsy is weakness or paralysis to the infant’s arm after the brachial plexus is injured during the birthing process. The most common type of brachial plexus palsy is Erb’s palsy, caused when the infant’s shoulder is caught behind the mother’s pelvic bone. During delivery, the nerves in the shoulder may be torn, causing permanent paralysis.
For the first few months, the child will need to have physiotherapy and, in some severe cases, surgery may be required.
Many times, the child’s clavicle or collarbone may be broken during childbirth. This normally happens during a breech delivery, when the baby’s feet are positioned to come out first instead of the head. The shoulders may get stuck and the bones may break as the child is removed from the womb. The healing time for fractures is only a couple of weeks since the new bone begins to form quickly after birth. However, the fractures can be painful for your child and they will need to limit their movement until the bones heal.
What Causes a Birth Injury to Occur?
Many times, birth injuries are caused because of complications during the labor and delivery process. One of the major causes of birth injuries is oxygen deprivation. The umbilical cord can become twisted or knotted through the baby’s movements in the womb. The cord can also become compressed during birth. When there is a problem with the umbilical cord, the baby may not receive enough oxygen. Normally, umbilical cord issues can be found during pregnancy or on an ultrasound.
Other common causes for a birth injury include:
- Delaying an order or failing to perform for a Cesarian section
- Failing to monitor the vitals of both the mother and the baby during labor and delivery
- Misusing Pitocin, a synthetic hormone used to induce or speed the labor process
- Improper use of forceps or a vacuum during the birthing process
- Ignoring any issues during pregnancy and labor that put the infant in danger
Unfortunately, birth injuries can be life-changing to not only the child but the family. The infant could face developmental issues and physical impairments their entire life. The family will need to set accommodations for the child, such as special schooling, therapies, and additional medical treatment. Depending on the severity of the injury, the child may need round-the-clock care.
This is why it’s important to speak with a Jackson birth injury lawyer to learn your legal options for you and your child. You may be able to recover damages for any medical expenses, lost wages, or rehabilitation costs. Schedule a free consultation with our experienced Mississippi birth injury lawyers today to learn your options.
How Do Medical Professionals Respond to a Birth Injury Case?
Cases against an obstetrician can be extremely difficult. Rarely a treating obstetrician will truthfully inform the parents of an injured baby of how and why that injury occurred. Typically injured infants are handed off to the neonatal intensive care unit. Questions from the treating obstetrician are usually unanswered.
Between 24 and 48 hours or sooner after birth, or directly at birth, a neonatologist will assume the primary caregiving responsibility for an injured infant. This takes the treating obstetrician out of the treatment window, deferring later treatment decisions to neonatologists the later treating physicians. Parents’ questions regarding the fetal monitoring strips and what should have or could have been done during the labor process are often tabled so that attention can be given to the infant.
The neonatal team has an independent duty to evaluate and treat all infants that meet the protocol criteria for asphyxia. If your infant has suffered an asphyxiated event typically the infant will be offered cooling therapy or therapeutic hypothermia. This is often offered with the whole body and/or selected head cooling or both where appropriate. Recent studies have shown that effective cooling should be initiated and conducted within six hours of birth and continue for 72 hours with rewarming every four hours in NICU. These treatments can be life-changing for your injured infant.
The bottom line is that the obstetrician and/or OB team will argue that the infant was not asphyxiated and argue other causes for the birth injury. The neonatal team on the other hand has an inherent conflict with the obstetrician and will treat your child as an asphyxiated infant excludes metabolic, bleeds, or other genetic causes, usually part of the blame game/cooling protocol defensive posture.
Why Choose Our Birth Injury Lawyer?
Giddens Law Firm understands what it takes to prove an infant suffered an injury at birth. We have the resources to go toe-to-toe with the insurance carriers for the medical professionals and healthcare facilities. Since birth injuries are often complex, we can take the time to review the evidence and speak with our medical experts to learn what happened before the injury occurred. We will negotiate with the insurance company and, if negotiations should break down, we are not afraid to represent your case in court.
Time is often not on your side, it is imperative you take immediate action as soon as possible. Call our Jackson, MS birth injury lawyer today for a free legal consultation and case analysis toll-free at 1-888-335-2022.
Frequently Asked Questions About Birth Injuries in Jackson, MS
What is the Difference Between a Birth Injury and a Birth Defect?
A birth injury refers to any harm that was done to the infant either during or immediately after the delivery. The injury is usually caused by medical negligence. For example, the child is oversized. Instead of ordering a C-section, the doctor performs a vaginal birth. The infant’s shoulders are too wide to fit through the mother’s pelvis and damage is done to the brachial plexus nerves, resulting in Erb’s palsy.
A birth defect, however, is a condition that originates before birth. It may be caused by a variety of factors such as genetics and the mother’s environment. It is usually not a case of medical negligence.
How Long Do I Have to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Mississippi?
It depends on who is the one filing the claim. If the parents are filing a medical malpractice claim, the statute of limitations is two years following the incident or discovery of the problem. If it’s the minor is the one filing the claim, the Mississippi statute of limitations states that the minor or the person representing the minor has two years after the minor’s 6th birthday to file a claim.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for the Serious Birth Injury?
As with any medical malpractice claim, multiple parties may be held responsible for the personal injury. Any medical professional involved in the mother’s pregnancy and birth can be held liable. This includes nurses, midwives, the family physician, pediatricians, and paramedics. The healthcare facility may also be held responsible for hiring the medical practitioners who caused the injury.
How Can a Birth Injury Claim Be Proven?
As with any personal injury claim, the following needs to be proven:
- The healthcare provider had a duty to keep you and your child safe from harm.
- The healthcare provider failed in their duty to protect you and your child.
- Because there was a breach in the duty of care, an injury occurred.
- The injury caused damages, such as additional medical expenses and pain and suffering.
How Much are Birth Injury Claims in Mississippi Worth?
Each medical malpractice claim is different so it’s difficult to say how much a birth injury lawsuit is worth without you speaking with our Jackson birth injury attorneys first. Call our birth injury lawyer at Giddens Law Firm today to learn your legal options.