When Does Medical Malpractice Cause Birth Injuries?

In 2002, a New York jury awarded Brad and Maureen Brenner $80 million to care for their child who was prematurely born with cerebral palsy 12 years ago. It is still one of the biggest awards on record in New York. The jury found malpractice on the parts of Doctors Steven Kline and Ira Spector for failing to recognize the signs of premature delivery, for Dr. Klein not showing up to the hospital for more than two hours after the mother arrived in labor, and for failing to treat her with drugs to delay delivery and stabilize the newborn’s internal organs.

Birth injuries are injuries the baby suffers because of complications during labor and delivery. The list of things that went wrong in the Brenner’s case is not exclusive. These injuries commonly include:

  • Bruising or denting of the infant’s skull from forceps, if they are used without proper care to assist in the delivery
  • Facial paralysis, caused by pressure to the baby’s face during labor or birth
  • Brachial palsy, caused by injury to the arms and hands, which might result in permanent nerve damage requiring surgery and physical therapy
  • Brain injury, if the baby is deprived of oxygen for a prolonged period of time, often resulting in seizures, cerebral palsy or mental impairment

Medical error is a common cause of birth injuries.  Errors include failing to respond promptly to various complications such as:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • The baby being tangled in the umbilical cord
  • Not responding to fetal distress in a timely manner
  • Failing to anticipate complications, especially if the mother experienced problems in previous births or where the baby is unusually large

Medical error can also occur after the birth, if for example medical personnel fail to stem an infection in time. Whenever the error occurs, these are complex and emotional cases. If you have a child that you suspect sustained avoidable birth injuries, then hiring an attorney can help you recover the money owed to you to care for your child in the long term.

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