When Your Child Suffers a Birth Injury, Call Munley Law.
The birth of a child is a joyous occasion. However, mistakes made before or during the birthing process can leave your child to suffer lifelong consequences. When a birth injury is caused by the negligence of a medical professional, you may need a birth injury lawyer to help you get justice. A birth injury can result in extensive future medical costs as well as pain and suffering. But you don’t have to face the uncertain future alone.
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For more than 60 years, the birth injury lawyers at Munley Law have been helping clients throughout Pennsylvania through a difficult time in their lives. We know how to prove the difference between an injury caused by medical negligence and a genetic condition. If your child suffered an injury, call us or fill out our contact form. Tell us your story and get a free evaluation of your case.
What Causes a Birth Injury?
Complications in the process of labor and delivery can result in a wide variety of problems for a newborn. Oxygen deprivation is one major cause of birth injuries in newborns. This can occur when the umbilical cord becomes compressed or twisted during birth. Medical mistakes such as an incorrect reading or misinterpretation of the fetal heart monitor can result in severe brain injury to a child. Other common mistakes may include:
- Improper use of forceps or a vacuum during the birthing process
- Delaying or failing to perform a Caesarian section
- Umbilical cord complications, resulting in oxygen deprivation
- Failing to adequately monitor the mother or baby’s heartbeat during the pregnancy, labor, and delivery
- Failing to make note of any other issues during the pregnancy or labor that might put the infant in danger
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a birth defect affects one in every 33 babies born in the United States each year. Almost 21,000 infants had died in the U.S. in 2018 and one of the leading causes of infant death was injuries, such as suffocation.
There are times when a birth injury can be prevented if caught during the pregnancy. Some red flags during pregnancy or birth are:
- Excessive bleeding
- Long labor
- Fetal distress
What are the Common Types of Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries can happen at any time throughout the pregnancy, during labor and birth, and even after the birth. It can result in a long-term injury that can last the baby’s lifetime and can also affect the mother’s health. Some of the most common types of birth injuries include:
When an infant is deprived of oxygen during labor or delivery or receives significant trauma to their head, they may develop cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a term that describes a group of disorders that affect movement control, balance, and posture. The CDC states CP is caused by abnormal brain development, often occurring before birth. It’s one of the most common motor function disabilities in children and it impacts about 1 in 345 children.
Diagnosing CP can be difficult since the symptoms vary. For example, some CP sufferers are never able to walk while others only experience a minor change to their motor function. Some of the most common disorders related to cerebral palsy include stiff muscles, a lack of movement control, or poor balance and coordination.
Brachial Plexus Palsy
Brachial plexus palsy is a weakness or paralysis in parts of the infant’s arm due to an injury to the brachial plexus during the birthing process. The most common type of brachial plexus palsy is called Erb’s palsy, which is caused by an injury to the shoulders during delivery. When the infant’s shoulder is caught behind the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery it can cause the child’s nerves to be torn, which can cause permanent paralysis of the arm.
To recover from the injury, the infant will need physiotherapy and routine elevations for the first few months of their lives. In some severe cases, surgery on the nerves and muscles may be required.
During labor, the baby’s face may experience severe pressure, injuring the facial nerve and causing paralysis. Facial paralysis may also occur when forceps have been used during the delivery. According to Stanford Children’s Health, the injury may not be seen until the baby cries and there is no movement on the side of the face. In addition, the eye may not be able to close.
If the nerve was just bruised, facial paralysis will improve within a few weeks. However, if there is severe damage to the nerve, surgery will be needed.
Labor and delivery can be a difficult process. Sometimes during the delivery process, the child’s clavicle or collarbone can be fractured. This also happens if it is a breech delivery. The healing time is fortunately only two weeks as the new bone begins to form rather quickly. However, the fracture can be painful and the child will need to wear a soft bandage or splint to limit movement of the arm and shoulder.
Anoxia and hypoxia are conditions where there is either a decrease or an absence of the oxygen supply to the organ’s tissues. This usually occurs when blood flow is interrupted, such as a problem with the umbilical cord. Lack of oxygen can result in cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, developmental issues, and hearing/vision impairments. The infant will need extensive care such as surgeries, medication, therapies, and special education services.
How Can the Birth Injury Lawyers at Munley Law Help?
The birth injury lawyers at Munley Law have successfully litigated numerous birth injury lawsuits throughout Pennsylvania. We have the resources and knowledge available to investigate the circumstances surrounding your child’s injury. Working with medical experts, we will collect the evidence needed to find what had caused the birth injury, why it happened, and how the outcome affected you, your child, and your family. With this evidence, we can then give you what legal options are available to you and how we can help you with your medical malpractice claim.
When it comes to birth injuries caused by negligence, the following needs to be proven:
- The medical professional had a legal responsibility to protect the patient from harm.
- The medical professional had failed in their duty to protect the patient.
- Because they were negligent, an injury occurred.
- That injury had caused damages for the victim.
Since 1959, the birth injury lawyers at Munley Law have been helping injury victims get the compensation they deserve following an injury. We have won millions for our clients, including a $5 million settlement in a medical malpractice case.
Our attorneys understand how difficult it can be when your child is injured by someone’s negligence. That’s why we will do everything we can to get compensation for your child’s injuries.
If your child was injured at birth as a result of medical negligence, don’t wait much longer. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Birth Injuries
Q: Is There a Difference Between a Birth Defect and a Birth Injury?
A birth injury refers to harm that takes place during or immediately after delivery that results from trauma or medical error. A birth defect is a condition that originates before birth and can be caused by a variety of factors including genetics, environment, or improper prenatal care during pregnancy.
Q: How Long Do We Have to File a Birth Injury Claim? Is There an Age Limit?
While some birth injuries are diagnosed immediately after birth, some will take longer to identify. For example, cerebral palsy may only be diagnosed after a child misses significant developmental milestones. All children develop at different paces, but according to the CDC, most developmental delays can be identified between the ages of 18-30 months.
Since it can take some time for the child to develop issues caused by a birth injury, the statute of limitations is a little different for children. Instead of the usual two years after an injury, you or your child have until your child turns 21 to file a lawsuit against the medical professional.
If your child has developmental delays that are diagnosed as a form of cerebral palsy (or other disorder) and you believe this was caused because of complications that occurred at birth, you may have a claim. A birth injury lawyer can help determine if medical negligence is to blame.
Q: How Do I Know If My Child’s Birth Injury Was Caused by Medical Malpractice?
In many cases, a birth defect or developmental condition is not the direct result of medical negligence. But if any form of malpractice – a failure to meet the standard of care – was to blame for your child’s injury, the parties at fault should be held responsible under the law.
Birth injuries can result in significant medical bills now and into the future; they may also cause your child lifelong challenges. A birth injury lawyer at Munley Law can review all medical records and consult with experts to determine whether the injury was the result of negligence and what a medical professional should be held accountable.
Q: If My Child Suffered a Birth Injury, Do I Need a Lawyer?
If malpractice caused your child’s birth injury, you and your child deserve to be appropriately compensated for the costs and suffering that you face, and the negligent caregiver should be held accountable. However, achieving this will take plenty of resources, investigation, and possibly a jury trial. We will need to prove that the healthcare professional owed a duty of care, that they breached that duty of care, and that your child suffered harm as a direct result. This kind of investigation can be difficult and complicated, so it is important to have a lawyer who has experience with birth injuries and the resources to hire the best experts. An experienced lawyer will fight the legal battle so that you can focus on giving your newborn child the love and care they deserve.