Phoenix Birth Injury Attorneys
Compensation for Birth Injuries as a Result of Negligence
Birth injuries can come in many forms, but the results are almost always the same: a pervasive sense of betrayal and anger. Childbirth is a delicate process no matter what the circumstances, and the last thing you want is for a preventable error to injure an otherwise healthy child. Because injuries such as these may come with lifelong consequences, it is important to recover some measure of compensation for the difficulties ahead.
Step one is to retain an excellent Phoenix birth injury lawyer at The Husband & Wife Law Team, as the litigation that may arise could become complex and contentious. Medical malpractice is a difficult claim to file, and the hospital is unlikely to give you the proper settlement that you deserve. Thankfully, we have years of experience working with parents whose child was injured during birth, and we know how best to get you proper compensation. Call our firm at (602) 457-6222 for outstanding legal help today.
Common Birth Injuries
There are a wide range of birth injuries that could impact your child. Most of them could be prevented with proper care and forethought on the part of the doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. Sadly, negligence often gets in the way, and these injuries are allowed to happen, despite there being modern medicine and tools that could have prevented them. In our experience, the most common birth injuries include:
Facial paralysis: When the baby is being born, it tends to arrive headfirst. This means that if forceps must be used, they often clamp into the baby’s head. This clamping can injure the baby’s facial nerve, which may result in complete paralysis of the face. If the nerve is bruised, then the nerve may be able to recover on its own. However, if it is torn, then your baby may need surgery, and even then there may be lasting side effects.
Fractures: Among the bones that can be fractured or broken at birth, the collarbone is the most common to become injured. The collarbone may break if the baby is not positioned properly during the birth, leading to their shoulders becoming stuck.
Brachial palsy: The brachial plexus nerves connecting the arms and hands can become damaged during delivery. If the doctor pulls too hard on the baby’s arms with a vacuum, forceps, or their hands, then the baby’s brachial plexus can be stretched or even torn. This may result in paralysis of one or both arms. This paralysis may heal on its own, or it may require surgery, depending on the severity of the damage.
Brain damage: The baby receives nutrients and oxygen through the umbilical cord. After birth, the cord is severed, and the baby is able to breathe on its own. However, if the cord rips during delivery or pregnancy, then the baby can be deprived of oxygen. Oxygen deprivation can result in serious brain damage and impact the baby’s cognitive development as it gets older. Doctors should always be on the lookout for signs that an umbilical cord is not healthy or strong and push for an early pregnancy if there is the chance that the baby will be deprived of oxygen.
Birth injuries tend to range from mild to severe. Some of the least damaging examples include minor incidents like forceps bruising, while serious birth injuries may arise from rough handling or oxygen deprivation. Erb's palsy, cerebral palsy, and spinal cord trauma can all arise from botched delivery protocols or execution, making these issues distinct from more conventional birth defects. Understanding what went wrong is a rigorous process, and your attorney will need the wherewithal and resources to recreate every decision made by your caregivers and every step that was taken along the way.
How Do Birth Injuries Happen?
For thousands of years, birth injuries were practically unavoidable. Human birth is incredibly dangerous and could easily result in death for both the baby and the mother. However, with modern medicine, doctors are able to monitor the baby’s health as it grows within the mother and perform emergency deliveries and surgeries if something becomes clearly wrong. So, why is it that birth injuries still happen?
The short answer is negligence. Doctors must constantly look for signs of potential complications, both during the long months of pregnancy and during the birth itself. This means that a doctor should run appropriate tests, speak with both parents about potential dangers, and prescribe the correct treatment, such as medications or bed rest, if a condition becomes evident. Some of the more common signs that your doctor acted negligently include:
- Improperly reading your chart
- Not bothering to check up on you during hospital visits
- Improperly using drugs or medications during pregnancy, labor, and delivery
- Failing to properly monitor the baby’s condition and health
- Not diagnosing the mother or providing an incorrect diagnosis
- Not properly planning for the labor process
- Making an incorrect decision during an emergency or not making a decision at all
- Using extraction tools excessively or improperly
There should be nothing more important to a doctor than making sure that the mother and the baby are as healthy as possible and being taken care of. If the doctor fails to do this, then it opens the door for permanent disabilities, or even death in the worst cases. While the baby is often people’s first concern during birth, the truth is that birth injuries can also be incredibly dangerous for the mothers.
The Dangers to Mothers
While the first concern is often for the baby during delivery, as they are incredibly fragile, a negligent doctor can easily injure the mother as well. Many of the complications that impact the baby can have an adverse effect on the mother as well. In fact, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 700 out of 100,000 women will die every year due to child birth. On top of that horrifying statistic, thousands of other women are left severely injured and in need of emergency surgery.
From bleeding out to strokes to even being left unable to have any more children, birth injuries don’t just impact children, but the mothers as well. This means that if your family has experienced a birth injury, you could be left in a situation where you have to pay for the baby’s medical treatment as well as the mother’s; meanwhile, only one parent is able to return back to work. That is an incredibly difficult situation, emotionally, physically, and especially financially. Seeking compensation and filing a claim may be the best way for you to recover at least some of the damages that you have suffered.
Birth Injury Settlements
The settlements that can result from a clear instance of birth injury can be proportionally large. Depending on the parties involved and the degree of negligence, it is not unusual for parents to earn settlements of six figures and higher for a significant birth trauma. There is not a family that wouldn't trade the money for a healthy child, of course, but achieving some measure of justice may help somewhat with the burdens of grief and care. An experienced Phoenix personal injury attorney can walk you through the steps and manage your expectations clearly, ensuring you understand exactly where your litigation is headed.
Call for a Free, Confidential Consultation
There are few injuries more devastating than a birth injury, and knowing another party is at fault can be an agonizing burden. If you want to seek a better settlement for this experience and gain valuable support for a possible lifetime of medical care, it is important that you contact a legal professional right away. We have been helping families throughout Arizona for more than a decade, and in that time we have earned a number of glowing recommendations from clients and credentialing bodies alike. Please call The Husband & Wife Law Team at (602) 457-6222 to schedule a free consultation.
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During a free consultation, we will look at the important aspects of your case, answer your questions, and explain your legal rights and options clearly. All submissions are confidentially reviewed by Mark Breyer.
Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer
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