Mistakes in the delivery room during labor and delivery can cause lifelong consequences to the baby and mother's health. While not every delivery complication is avoidable, the medical team can make serious errors or fail to handle the crisis competently resulting in a catastrophic outcome. Birth-associated medical malpractice occurs every day in America when the hospital, doctor, obstetrician, or medical team acts negligently and does not follow appropriate protocols and providing reasonable care.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents victims of medical malpractice and other types of professional negligence. Our law firm has successfully prosecuted cases for our clients who were injured in the delivery room by the negligent actions of others. Our attorneys are available to answer any legal questions on how to receive the monetary compensation you deserve if your injuries were the result of a medical mistake. Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights.
Injury to the Mother or Incident
The professional team might be guilty of medical malpractice if they negligently did not control the mother's excess of blood loss during or after delivery. A medical mistake might have occurred if the staff did not monitor the newborn's oxygen intake levels before, during, and after delivery.
Any mistake made by the medical team during pregnancy, labor, or delivery can cause severe injury to the infant or mother that results in:
- An Injury to the Newborn – Any injury to the mother or child could result in a civil lawsuit filed by the newborn's family or guardians. The lawsuit might be based on the doctor providing unreasonable care or making errors to deliver the baby vaginally instead of by cesarean section. The claim for compensation may be based on the newborn's suffering of brain damage and the ongoing cost of rehabilitation, schooling, and developmental needs.
- Wrongful Pregnancy – Many plaintiffs (typically the parents) will sue a doctor claiming wrongful pregnancy if they attempted to prevent getting pregnant using various means including a pregnancy test, sterilization, and termination that all failed due to the doctor's negligence. Usually in these cases, the newborn is healthy, but the parents want to recover the expenses of raising the healthy child that was conceived due to their physician's negligence.
- Wrongful Birth – The parents may claim that their obstetrician never warned them that the child would be born with congenital disabilities and that had they known, the parents would have ended the pregnancy. A wrongful birth claim is typically based on a failure to perform genetic testing before conception for the doctor's failure to identify a physical or mental impairment when the mother was in the early stages of pregnancy.
The plaintiffs (typically the parents and the child) can seek damages in a wrongful birth case that will include medical expenses, future therapy and rehabilitation, and educational therapies. The parents can also seek to recover non-tangible damages including emotional pain and loss of companionship from birthing and raising a child with congenital disabilities.
Many of these cases are built on the physician's failure to do something, or their direct action, during the conception, labor, and delivery processes that constitute medical malpractice. They may be held financially responsible if their actions or inactions involved a failure to provide immediate care when the health of the mother or newborn was in jeopardy.
Preventing Delivery Complications
Not every complication involving pregnancy, labor, or delivery can be prevented. However, there are certain steps that parents can take to ensure a healthy pregnancy and avoid the common risks associated with complications. These preventative measures include:
- Take Steps to Prepare – Families considering pregnancy should first discuss how to prepare with their doctor, especially if they are experiencing a pre-existing medical condition.
- Consuming a Healthy Diet – The physician might recommend changing the woman's diet to improve her nutritional health or lose weight.
- Begin a Prenatal Vitamin Regimen – increasing nutritional support using prenatal vitamins daily can maximize the mother's health during pregnancy.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight – according to the Mayo Clinic; expectant mothers should maintain a 25-pound to 35-pound weight gain over their normal non-pregnant weight during pregnancy. The doctor will likely recommend that you consumed at least 2400 calories each day of healthy nutritional food to prevent the body from using much-needed protein as energy.
- Schedule Routine Prenatal Doctor Visits – It is imperative to see your obstetrician and/or specialist at all scheduled appointments to ensure your health was being monitored during pregnancy. Any diagnosed problem can be treated immediately to ensure the baby's health.
- Quit Smoking – Inhaling the smoke from any tobacco products could cause significant problems during the pregnancy and jeopardize the health and well-being of the fetus during its developmental stage. If necessary, follow smoking cessation protocols and programs to quit smoking during the time you are pregnant.
- Do Not Drink or Take Illegal Drugs – Any consumption of alcohol or using illegal medications could compromise the fetus' health during the most crucial stages of its development. Even tiny amounts of non-prescription medications or alcohol could be detrimental to your baby.
- Reduce Stress Levels – During pregnancy, expectant mothers stress levels can soar to unimaginable heights caused by the financial burden of bringing a child into the world and dealing with outside forces in the marriage, at work, or with family and friends. Participate in proven stress relieving activities including doing yoga, meditation, and listening to music that is known to reduce or eliminate excessive stress.
Maintaining pregnancy is a complex process that requires the best nutrition, adequate sleep, less stress, and ongoing monitoring. Failing and maintaining good health during your pregnancy could cause malnutrition in the mother and serious developmental problems to the fetus.
Common Congenital Defects
During the developmental stage of pregnancy, the fetus is susceptible to developing any number of congenital disabilities, especially during the first trimester. These defects usually involve a structural issue like a cleft palate, cleft lip, heart defect, or other problem. While most defects are obvious, some are not, including heart problems. The most common congenital disabilities involving a physical attribute or chromosomal and genetic problems include:
- Heart defects including ASD (atrioventricular septal defect) that require a surgical repair;
- Musculoskeletal problems including defects in the intestines or stomach;
- Gastroschisis musculoskeletal congenital disability in the newborn's abdominal wall where the intestines penetrate the belly button to the outside of the body. This condition requires a surgical repair;
- Central nervous system defects including spina bifida.
Congenital Defect Causes
Nearly every congenital disability develops within the first trimester of pregnancy. However, this does not mean it cannot occur at any time before the child was born. Typically, there are numerous factors involved in the development of a single congenital disability including environmental factors and genetics. Outside forces including the mother's use of illegal drugs, smoking, drinking, or taking specific prescription drugs can cause a congenital disability.
The mother's health and existing medical conditions are also a pre-determining factor for some congenital disabilities. An expectant mother's diabetic condition that is not well-controlled has the potential of increasing the risk of birthing a baby with a defect. In older women, their age can also be a factor at increasing the risk of birthing a baby with a defect.
In recent years, medical science has determined that numerous drugs might cause a congenital disability if the expectant mother takes them during pregnancy. Some of these drugs include:
- Accutane – This drug was first introduced to the United States in 1982 from Roche, a leading French pharmaceutical manufacturer, to effectively treat severe cases of acne. However, doctors and medical sciences now know that the medication might contribute to a congenital disability. Since then, the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has issued a Safety Communication Warning to doctors and patients that identifies the risk of using the drug before and during pregnancy.
- Prozac and Other Antidepressants – For years, medical science has known that antidepressant medications carry the potential risk of birthing a baby with a congenital disability.
- Depakote and Other Seizure Medications – Doctors are warned to prescribe Depakote and other epilepsy treatment medications to the mother while she is pregnant. These drugs are known to increase the potential risk of birthing a baby with facial defects, skull deformities, heart defects, spina bifida, and other congenital disabilities.
- Diflucan (fluconazole) – in 2011, the FDA warned doctors that prescribing the brand-named generic version of Diflucan to treat fungal infections might cause the fetus to develop severe congenital disabilities. Taking the medication was especially problematic for expectant mothers taking higher doses of the medication. It has been shown that Diflucan (fluconazole) can cause certain congenital disabilities including bowed thighbones, joint deformities, skull and facial abnormalities, cleft palate or cleft lip, and heart defects.
Many expectant women experience life-threatening complications during childbirth that can pose a potential health risk to the mother, the baby, or both. Some of these complications involve fetal heart rate abnormality, a failure to progress during labor, a fatal lack of oxygen, asphyxia, social dystocia (nerve damage and a lack of oxygen when the baby is not exiting the pelvis), and excessive bleeding.
During delivery, the mother and baby may experience life-threatening complications including umbilical cord problems, abnormal baby positioning through the birth canal, premature labor, and birth where the baby is in a breach position and emerging feet first from the wound. Other common complications associated with post-delivery include:
- Cesarean (C-section) wound infection
- Postpartum bleeding
- Breast infection (mastitis)
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT – blood clot)
- Postpartum depression
- Endometrial infection of the wound
You may notice specific warning signs after you have given birth that could indicate a severe complication that could compromise your health or your baby's health. Some of these include:
- Excessive bleeding that is more than normal compared to a typical menstrual period;
- The mother or baby developing a fever at 100.4°F or higher;
- Experiencing ongoing sadness that lasts ten days or longer after delivering your baby;
- Experiencing redness, pain, or discharge that will not go away that might be caused by perineal care (between the rectum and vagina), episiotomy, or cesarean section incision;
- A burning or pain sensation when eliminating the bowels or bladder;
- Developing hemorrhoids or experiencing constipation that does not resolve without treatment in a few weeks;
- Experiencing tenderness, swelling, or pain in the legs, especially in the calf area;
- Developing noticeable streaks or painful lumps in either breast;
- Experiencing severe pain in the lower abdominal area that causes a sense of feeling sick or the need to throw up
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
With all the innovative technologies available to guide physicians in the care of patients, the practice of medicine is still very much reliant upon the good judgment and deft hands of a treating physician. Particularly during the birth delivery process, a gentle touch is necessary for doctors to deliver healthy babies safely.
Taking Affirmative Action to Keep Baby and Mother Safe
When circumstances change, and distress is apparent in the mother or baby, physicians may need to use maneuvering techniques to help position the baby or remove them from the birth canal. Some delivery techniques may be performed manually (with the physician's hands) or with the use of forceps or vacuum extractor.
Quick Thinking, Complications Avoided
When performed properly, advanced delivery techniques can be helpful in preventing complications. However, when maneuvers are performed incorrectly, hurriedly, or with too much force, the consequences can be life changing—for both child and mother.
Improper delivery techniques may cause the following birth injuries in children:
Improper delivery techniques cause the following injuries to mothers:
- Severe tearing
- Nerve damage
- Internal bleeding
A Gut Feeling, a Potential Indication of Mistakes
Don't assume that unusual circumstances dictated that a physician use the improper delivery technique. Doctors are trained to perform necessary maneuvers as the need arises. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have experience with complex birth injury cases and can help you and your family to determine if a doctor's conduct is responsible for an injury of the mother or newborn. When negligence is involved, our lawyers will seek the maximum compensation under the law to ease some of the financial pressures that you likely encounter when special accommodations are necessary to care for a disabled child.
Before you assume that your child's condition was inevitable, talk to our team of medical negligence attorney who have an impressive track record of success when it comes to prevailing in significant birth injury matters. Let us take the lead in your family's quest for justice. Contact us today. We handle every medical malpractice case, or wrongful death lawsuit and personal injury claim for compensation through contingency arrangements. This agreement will postpone payment of all legal services until after we have successfully resolved your case for monetary recovery. We provide a “No Win/No-Fee” Guarantee, you pay us only if we can obtain compensation on your behalf.