The birth of a child is supposed to be a joyous occasion as a new child is welcomed into a family. Parents are devastated when they learn that their child has suffered injuries that may impact his or her development and quality of life throughout childhood and into adulthood. The Chicago birth injury attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers understand the emotional, psychological and financial stress that these injuries can have on parents and their children. In addition to learning how to cope with these injuries, families often struggle to access the resources required to care for these children. While we cannot reverse the physical damage, we can help you recover the compensation you need to move forward.
Common Causes of Injuries During the Birthing Process
Our Chicago birth injury lawyers handle cases on behalf of those whose children have suffered numerous different forms of injuries during pregnancy and birth. There are a surprising number of ways that a child can be injured during development and during labor. Following is a comprehensive list of common causes for birth injuries, but it does not cover every possible cause that may be due to medical negligence. If your child was injured, we will help you find the answers you are searching for and the justice that you deserve.
- Errors in High-Risk Birth Management— doctors need to recognize factors that can place a mother and her child at risk during pregnancy and birth and take appropriate measures to mitigate the risk and respond in the event of distress. These factors can include multiple children such as twins or triplets, premature births, a mother who is advanced in age, a large fetus and a vaginal birth after a cesarean section is ordered.
- Poor blood pressure management— preeclampsia and eclampsia are conditions that occur when a pregnant woman’s blood pressure changes rapidly. These changes can threaten both the mother and child and mothers who suffer from hypertension, obesity, diabetes and kidney disease are at a greater risk of developing these conditions. If a woman is at risk, her doctors should keep a closer watch over her vitals to ensure that she and the baby are not in danger and that the condition can be treated quickly if detected.
- Failure to detect or diagnose conditions that place the child at risk— conditions such as a prolapsed umbilical cord, uterine rupture and fetal distress may place the child’s life at risk or result in severe injury such as brain damage due to depleted oxygen or bleeding.
- Fetal infections— also referred to as sepsis, a fetal infection can cause major damage to an unborn child’s developing organs. The child’s immune system is unable to respond to the introduction of bacteria, so the infection will spread unabated through the child’s blood stream and reach his or her kidneys, lungs or brain. It is important for infections to be detected and treated quickly with antibiotics in order to prevent congenital birth defects and permanent brain damage. Some children suffering from fetal sepsis may develop cerebral palsy or other developmental delays.
- Shoulder dystocia— during birth, the child’s shoulder may become caught behind the mother’s pubic bone, preventing the child from passing through the birth canal. The manner in which doctors respond to this can determine whether the child suffers serious injuries, as the condition often cuts off the flow of oxygen to the child’s brain. While doctors can do little to prevent this condition, they are trained to identify and react to it, meaning their failure to properly treat it may qualify as negligence.
- Placental abruption— the placenta attaches the umbilical cord to the umbilical cord and is the lifeline to the child that delivers everything that the child needs to survive. The premature separation of the placenta from the uterus places the fetus into distress and the failure to diagnose or take appropriate measures to save the child can result in serious injuries.
- Vacuum extraction techniques— when a mother has endured prolonged labor, the delivering doctor may choose to use a vacuum extractor to assist in the delivery. This device works by placing suction on the child’s head and pulling it from the birth canal. If performed improperly, this procedure can cause serious injury, but even when the child is delivered safely, the procedure may result in the swelling of the child’s scalp where the device was used. If the child develops jaundice due to the buildup of bilirubin in response to the inflammation, he or she may experience brain damage or developmental disorders such as cerebral palsy. These conditions are preventable, as early detection and treatment is often enough to prevent additional injuries.
- Forceps delivery techniques— if the child is already in distress and needs to be delivered quickly, the doctor may use a forceps to move the delivery along. The forceps can also assist if the child is breeched or the mother has endured a long period of labor. However, if used improperly, the forceps can injure the child severely. The mother can also suffer injuries due to negligent forceps use.
- Failure to order an emergency cesarean section— if the child is in considerable distress, the doctor must make the decision of whether to order a C-section or proceed with a natural birth. The natural birth should only proceed if the child can be delivered quickly so that medical staff can tend to his or her immediate needs. If this is not possible, the child should be removed via cesarean section. If the failure to order the procedure results in injuries to the child, the doctor and hospital may be held liable.
- Medications— doctors need to consider which medications to prescribe to pregnant mothers carefully, as some medications may affect development or cause harm to the child. Drug manufacturers may also be liable for pushing medications to pregnant women that have been known to cause congenital birth defects or developmental delay.
- Epidural errors— the use of anesthesiology to aid in birth can also impact the health of the child and his or her mother. The amount of medication that is administered must be measured carefully and given in the appropriate manner or the mother and child could both suffer complications due to overdose.
- Failure of family doctors to refer mothers to specialists— while family doctors are able to assist many mothers throughout their pregnancies, they should refer mothers that are at greater risk to qualified obstetricians who are trained specifically to handle high-risk pregnancies. If the child suffers complications and the family doctor is not equipped to provide treatment, the failure to refer the parents to a specialist can make that doctor liable.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers provides award-winning legal services to thousands of mothers whose children have been injured during pregnancy or at birth. We understand your need to find answers, justice and closure when an injury has permanently impacted your family’s way of living. In addition to needing to recover the compensation to treat your child, we know that you must also have access to the resources needed to address your own emotional distress.
Our team has access to a network of medical professionals and social workers who can help your family cope with your child’s injuries and an award winning team of Chicago birth injury attorneys with a proven track record of success. Contact us today to arrange a free consultation so that we can help you find the answers you deserve and explore your legal options with you so that you know what to expect from your case. If for any reason we are unable to recover compensation on your behalf, you are assured that our services will come at no cost to you.