Birth Injuries, Medical Negligence And Compensation: What You Need To Know

The United States has a high rate of maternal mortality compared to most of the countries in the industrialized world, and although this fact can be attributed to a range of factors, it can often be traced back to medical negligence. Similarly, birth injuries may also be the result of negligence.

If you or your baby has suffered from any of the following issues, you may have been the victims of medical negligence, and now, it may be time to contact a medical negligence lawyer:

1. Failure to diagnose preeclampsia in mother resulting in maternal seizures or infant distress

Roughly five to eight percent of women develop preeclampsia or related conditions during their pregnancies. These conditions, especially if undiagnosed, can lead to severe health issues.

Some of the complications associated with preeclampsia include placental abruption and seizures. These can deprive the baby of oxygen, potentially leading to serious cognitive or physical issues including death.

If you had preeclampsia and your doctor failed to diagnose it and your baby or you suffered as a result, you may have a medical negligence case on your hands.

If your doctor did diagnose you but handled the labor ineptly, you may also have a negligence case. For example, if the doctor allowed you to have a slow natural birth instead of inducing you or insisting upon a c-section, that could be considered negligence. Ideally, your doctor should help you give birth as quickly as possible to avoid further complications.

2. Failure to adequately monitor infant resulting in perinatal asphyxia

Whether you have preeclampsia or not, it is critical for your obstetrician to monitor you during the labor and delivery. It is also critical to monitor the infant. In most cases, you start with an external monitor -- this tells the doctor's information about your and the baby's heart rate and other vital signs.

However, if there are signs of trouble during the labor, the doctor may opt to switch to an internal fetal monitor. The attachment to the monitoring device slips through your vagina and attaches to your baby's scalp. This allows the doctor to have clearer information on what the baby is experiencing.

If the baby's heart rate drops or if there are other signs of oxygen deprivation, the doctor can respond immediately by recommending an emergency c-section.

However, if the doctor fails to use an internal fetal monitor and fails to note that the baby is in distress, he or she is likely negligent. As a result, your baby may suffer from a condition such as perinatal asphyxia. This can lead to anything from labored breathing to seizures to shock.

3. Use of forceps leading to infant spinal injury

In other cases, medical negligence doesn't occur because the doctor has failed to notice or diagnose something. Instead, it happens because the doctor gets unsafely involved in the labor or delivery process.

The use of forceps is an all too common example of excessive intervention. If your delivery doctor used forceps in an attempt to pull out your child, this can hurt you, potentially causing unwanted tearing in your perineum or other injuries. Additionally, forceps can squeeze around your infant's head, causing brain or spinal injuries.

If you or your child has suffered from any of these injuries or other types of birth-related injuries, you should contact a medical negligence attorney. These professionals can help you pursue compensation for the cost of medical care, physical therapy, lost time at work and other expenses related to your or your child's birth injury. They can also help you obtain compensation for your pain and suffering.  

For more information, contact a practice like Davidson Law Center Inc.