When doctors and hospital nurses make mistakes during the labor and delivery process, the consequences can be tragic for the child and family. Our Chicago birth injury attorneys are committed to holding hospitals and medical professionals accountable in order for families to recover the financial compensation needed to care for their child’s birth injuries.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has successfully prosecuted birth injury cases, including labor and delivery negligence cases, across Illinois and the Midwest. In one of the most poignant cases, our medical malpractice law firm recovered $6.14 million for a child who developed cerebral palsy after the OB-GYN failed to perform a cesarean section when signs of fetal distress were present.
No family should suffer financially if their child’s birth injury was preventable. Complete our online intake form for a free review of your case with a birth injury lawyer.
Determining if Medical Negligence Caused Your Child’s Injuries
In order to recover compensation in a birth injury malpractice case, families are burdened with the task of establishing the following:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed between the OB-GYN and the mother.
- The OB-GYN had a duty of care to the mother and her child.
- The OB-GYN and/or medical staff breached their duty of care owed to the mother and newborn child.
- The OB-GYN’s and/or medical staff’s breach of care was the proximate cause of injury to the child or mother.
- The newborn baby or mother has incurred or is likely to incur some type of physical or emotional harm as a result of the doctor’s conduct.
Families coping with a situation in which a child was harmed during the birthing process may have a suspicion as to what happened, but rarely do they know with certainty what transpired in the delivery room and how it impacted their child.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is a personal and birth injury law firm committed to uncovering the facts surrounding a child’s suspected birth injury. Once our law office is retained, we begin the process of gathering the information needed in order to determine what happened and why. In situations where we’ve determined that negligence was involved, we work toward establishing the damages in a quantifiable manner so a judge or jury can fairly value the case and our can clients can receive the birth injury settlements they are owed.
In birth injury cases, our Chicago law office regularly assembles the following:
- Medical records from prenatal care and delivery
- Fetal monitoring strips
- Laboratory testing
- Consultation with nurses and physicians
- Evaluation of the client with a physiatrist and reports regarding their long-term care needs
- Reports from economists regarding the present cash value of care required
Parents should contact a birth trauma attorney as soon as possible to begin the process of assessing the case and alleviate some of the stress of filing a birth injury lawsuit.
Don’t Wait: Contact a Birth Trauma Lawyer Right Away
My son had some significant complications related to a prolonged labor and delivery. The team at Rosenfeld Injury reviewed his records with several experts who helped me get a better understanding of what happened and where the errors were made. I am confident that this preparation greatly helped increase the value of our case at settlement time. I am extremely pleased with their services.
Illinois has a statute of limitations for filing a birth injury lawsuit. If your case is not filed within the prescribed time limits, you will NOT be entitled to any compensation.
Calculating the exact statute of limitations for your child’s birth injury case is dependent upon their physical condition and disabilities. Generally, Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits must be commenced within two years from the date of the incident alleged. (See 735 ILCS 5/13-212.)
In situations involving a child who has been harmed during labor and delivery but does not have any permanent disability, the case must be filed within eight years from the date of the alleged occurrence.
When a child has a birth injury-related disability, the statute of limitations is tolled (paused) until two years after the disability has ended. In the case of a child with a brain injury or cerebral palsy related to their birth, they could theoretically pursue a case at any time during their life.
Our experience enables us to fully evaluate your birth injury lawsuit and anticipate how the case may be defended by lawyers representing a physician or hospital.
Before ordering and reviewing a set of medical records from a labor and delivery department on your own, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your situation and legal options with an experienced birth trauma lawyer. If you elect to retain our firm, a legal fee will only be charged after we have successfully recovered compensation on your family’s behalf.
Situations That may Contribute to an Injury at Birth
Doctors and their attending staff have the duty of taking reasonable measures to ensure the safety of their patients. When they fail to do so, resulting in a life-changing injury, it is within your rights to hold the negligent party accountable and pursue a birth injury lawsuit. Some of the most common things that go wrong during labor and delivery include the following:
- Failure to Monitor for Signs of Fetal Distress: It is important that the vital signs of both the mother and child are being monitored so that the doctor can determine whether emergency measures are needed to save or protect the child.
- Oxygen Deprivation During Labor or Delivery: There are many ways that the flow of oxygen to a child’s brain can be restricted, and extended deprivation of oxygen can result in severe brain damage or death. This is frequently referred to as hypoxia.
- Improper Use of Vacuum: Doctors may elect to use a vacuum device to assist women whose babies are in distress and need to be delivered more quickly. If the vacuum is improperly used, it may cause serious harm to the child or mother. Common vacuum-related injuries include skull fractures, bleeding in the brain, and internal damage to the mother.
- Failure of Staff to Communicate With One Another: Many of the problems that occur during delivery are not communicated to other staff members or the patients’ primary care physicians. This results in delayed action or diagnosis of conditions that can be treated with ease. When such conditions go untreated, however, they can lead to more severe complications.
- Failing to Order an Emergency Cesarean When the Child Is in Distress: Once it is determined that the child is in danger, every minute that the doctor delays can have an impact on the baby’s well-being.
- Prolonged Labor: While the labor and delivery process can be long and painful, there are certain interventions a physician can take to ease the strain on the mother and the child. When physicians fail to act, an injury may develop.
- Large Babies: According to the CDC, the average newborn weighs 7 pounds. When a newborn weighs more than 8 pounds 13 ounces, the newborn is classified as having macrosomia, the clinical term for a large body. Larger babies tend to take more time to deliver, and there is an increased chance that the doctor will need to intervene to assist with the delivery.
- Improper Use of Forceps: A doctor may use forceps to position a baby for delivery or to help move the child through the birth canal. When forceps are used improperly or with too much force, they can injure the child. Injuries associated with forceps include fractures to the head and nerve damage to neck and arms.
- Uterine Rupture: A uterine rupture is a breach in the wall of the uterus that allows the contents of the uterus to spill out into the mother’s peritoneal cavity. The situation can be dangerous to both mother and child. In late-term pregnancies, there is a window of no more than 40 minutes to evacuate the child or there is a substantial likelihood of death.
- Failure to Monitor Bilirubin Levels After Birth: Newborns have undeveloped livers that are unable to regulate bilirubin levels. Minor injuries usually raise these levels, making it important for staff to perform tests on children displaying symptoms such as jaundice and caput succedaneum.
Types of Birth Injuries Associated With Medical Malpractice
Anytime an infant is born with a permanent injury or injuries that require ongoing medical care, the situation merits close evaluation in a medical negligence context. Below are some injuries we see that may be associated with trauma during labor and delivery or medical negligence.
Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral palsy (CP) may be due to problems that occur in the brain during development, which is frequently manifested when a child loses their ability to control their muscles. According to the CDC, the majority of CP cases are attributed to congenital issues, with the balance attributed to complications during labor and delivery when the oxygen supply is interrupted. There is no cure for cerebral palsy.
Facial Paralysis: Sometimes referred to as facial nerve palsy, the condition may be caused when a doctor puts pressure on a baby’s face before or during the delivery process. Most cases of facial nerve palsy involve the lower part of the facial nerve, which controls the muscles around the mouth and sometimes the eyelids. Some of these cases may be permanent, while others may be treated with surgery or speech therapy.
Brachial Plexus Injuries: The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that controls movement in the arm, shoulder, elbow, and hand. During labor and delivery, pressure may be put on the area when a doctor attempts to relieve a child who may be stuck in the birth canal. According to the University of Pittsburgh, injuries to the brachial plexus area are some of the most common types of injuries associated with birth trauma, impacting 0.3 to 2 out of 1,000 births. Some brachial plexus injuries may heal on their own, while more severe injuries involving severed nerves may be permanent.
Spinal Cord Injuries: Particularly in difficult deliveries, babies may be put at risk for spinal cord injuries when doctors apply force or use aggressive maneuvers to deliver the child. Symptoms usually include lifeless limbs. The location of the injury to the spinal cord will dictate how or if the injury may be treated.
Intracranial Hemorrhage: Commonly referred to as bleeding within the skull, the bleeding may occur within the brain itself or between the surface of the brain and skull. If the bleeding is not quickly identified and treated, the affected area of the brain may have permanent damage. Infants with intracranial hemorrhage may develop motor problems or cerebral palsy. When identified early, doctors may treat the condition with medication or surgery.
Bone Fractures: Occurring in approximately 1 out of 1,000 births, these injuries are more common in situations where the doctor attempts to maneuver the child for delivery. The most common types of birth injury fractures are clavicle (45.7%), humerus (20%), femur (14.3%), and depressed skull fracture (11.4%). Depending on the location of the fracture and severity, the bones may be treated with immobilization or surgery.
Brain Damage: Oxygen deprivation is the leading cause of infant brain damage, occurring in 4 out of 1,000 full-term births. Even a brief interruption in a baby’s oxygen supply can have drastic consequences such as permanent brain damage or cerebral palsy. Situations where brain damage may occur due to oxygen deprivation include prolonged delivery, the baby getting stuck in birth canal, umbilical cord complications, or the placenta separating from the uterus. When hospitals properly monitor the labor and delivery process, they should be able to identify these situations and evacuate the baby via cesarean section.
Fetal Death: A stillbirth can be devastating to the mother and family. Stillbirths occur in about 1 out of 167 births. While some causes of stillbirth in full-term pregnancies may not be identifiable, some identifiable situations include placenta previa, uterine rupture, or a prolapsed umbilical cord.
Maternal Injury or Death: The rate of maternal death during labor and delivery has been increasing over the past decade to approximately 17.8 out of 100,000 deliveries. While some attribute this increase to an increase in the number of unhealthy women giving birth, there still are a number of external factors that contribute to these situations, including uncontrolled or undiagnosed bleeding.
Damages Available in Illinois Birth Injury Lawsuits
Our birth injury lawyers have handled many cases in which the child suffers developmental or neurological problems that will accompany them for life. Conditions such as cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy, spinal cord injuries, and other conditions that require long-term care can place a great deal of stress on the family. Needing to care for a special-needs child usually requires one of the parents to stay at home, and the resulting medical bills can be a source of emotional anguish and bitterness.
According to the CDC, birth defects, including birth injuries, cost more than $2.6 billion annually in medical expenses. When the cost of medical care and other therapies is calculated, caring for a child with cerebral palsy or other birth injury can easily climb to seven figures.
Illinois recognizes the following types of economic and non-economic damages in birth injury cases:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future assistive care expenses (nursing, home care)
- Therapies (physical therapy, counseling, speech therapy)
- Medical transportation (specialized medical vans)
- Pain and suffering
- Wage loss
Our birth injury law firm appreciates the impact a birth injury has on the child and family. Our goal is to recover the maximum compensation for each family via settlement or trial.
Hiring a Birth Injury Attorney to Investigate and Prosecute You Child’s Case
Our Chicago birth injury lawyers work tirelessly to alleviate these complications so that families can return to what matters most. We will investigate all details surrounding your child’s injuries to establish how they occurred and who is responsible. By working with nationally recognized experts in medicine, counseling, and economics, we are able to seek compensation that will aid in the care of your child and family.
Contact us today to speak with a birth injury lawyer. Chicago residents can learn more about their rights and legal options during a free consultation. Our first priority is to help you provide for your child, and we will fight vigorously to make sure that you are compensated fairly. For this reason, we promise never to accept an attorney’s fee if we fail to recover compensation on your behalf.
For additional information on birth injury lawsuits, please review our: