Although the majority of Florida’s medical professionals provide exemplary services to their patients on a daily basis, there are times when some doctors, nurses and other medical staff fail to uphold the high standard of medical care required. This can result in the death or injury of their patient, which in the case of childbirth can affect both the mother and the infant. This standard of care refers to what is deemed as an appropriate level of caution, consideration and sound judgment by the medical industry as a whole.
When a child suffers a birth injury as a result of medical negligence, the parent may seek just financial compensation in order to pay for their treatment and help them live an independent life going forward. This can be especially important if the child will require a permanent caretaker, which can be a considerable financial burden over their lifetime. Because of this, it is strongly recommended that parents who find themselves in this unfortunate situation speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to get their family the compensation they deserve.
Negligence During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, there are multiple ways in which negligence can occur that can impact the baby or the mother. Generally speaking, this involves a failure to diagnose conditions during regular screening, especially in high-risk pregnancies. The most common conditions involved in medical negligence during pregnancy are preeclampsia, diabetes and maternal infection.
Failure to properly diagnose and treat these conditions can cause mothers serious physical harm, such as liver failure, seizures or heart issues during the course of the pregnancy and during childbirth. It also can lead to childbirth complications that can cause permanent injuries to the child, including debilitating brain injury.
Negligence During Birth and After Birth
The most common form of injury resulting from medical negligence is during and after childbirth. There are several scenarios in which this can occur, specifically the following:
- Exerting excessive force on the baby during the delivery
- Failing to prevent or control tearing/hemorrhaging to the mother
- Failure to actively monitor the child’s heartbeat and detect fetal distress
- Failing to perform an emergency C-section when necessary
- Improper use of birthing tools during a vacuum or forceps delivery
In addition to these errors listed above, failing to inform a mother about the inherent risks involved with using forceps or vacuum delivery can be considered medical negligence in and of itself, even if no physical harm comes from it.
Even after the child has been delivered, medical negligence can still occur. There are specific procedures that must be followed after the birth of a child and failure to follow these can result in injury or death to the child. The most frequent cases of malpractice post delivery are related to failure to test the mother or baby for blood type incapability, as well as failure to control blood loss, monitor the baby’s oxygen levels or examine the baby for jaundice. Additionally, it is a doctor’s duty to diagnose and treat any postpartum uterine ruptures and tears in the mother in order to avoid infection and other long term medical issues – failure to do so can be considered medical malpractice.
Short Term Effects of Childbirth Negligence
Medical negligence in childbirth situations can result in serious immediate short term consequences for the baby and the mother. For the infant, this generally involves:
- Bleeding in the skull or under the scalp (hematoma)
- Excessively high or low blood pressure
- Fracturing of bones
- Neonatal asphyxia
- Neonatal jaundice
- Nerve damage
- Bruising and swelling
For the mother, short term effects of childbirth medical negligence include:
- Loss of blood
- Blood pressure that is excessively to high or low
- Uterus, bladder or bowel injury
- Urination control issues
- Serious vaginal or uterine tears
Many of these short term effects from childbirth negligence can be eliminated with proper treatment. However, if left untreated these can result in permanent damage and can even be considered life threatening in certain situations.
Long Term Effects of Childbirth Negligence
In addition to the short term effects listed above, medical negligence at childbirth can also result in several long term effects, including:
- Permanent brain damage
- Cerebral palsy
- Erbs palsy
- Injuries to the spinal cord
For infants, the most common situation that can occur is when medical professionals fail to recognize fetal distress during the delivery process, which can result in oxygen deprivation for the brain and subsequent brain damage. This brain damage can lead to conditions such as cerebral palsy.
In addition to the infant, mothers are also at risk for long term health issues and complications from childbirth negligence. One of the biggest concerns is when this negligence results in untreated infections that cause damage to a mothers internal organs. Forceps and vacuum delivery complications can also cause mothers to suffer from long term issues related to their pelvic floor, which can result in incontinence and ongoing pain.
Challenges of Raising a Child with a Birth Injury
The effects of a childbirth injury can be long lasting, affecting both the child and its parents. In many cases, the child may require specialized birth injury treatment depending on the severity of the injury incurred.
While there are many treatment options available to help relieve a child’s birth injury symptoms, they are usually quite costly for the average household. These treatments usually include assistive devices, mobility aids, medications, surgeries, and various types of therapy in order to help children achieve higher levels of independence and a better quality of life.
The financial strain of these treatment costs can be exceptionally challenging to families, and result in the loss of income due to having to take time off work to provide long term care to their birth injury child. Luckily, families have the ability to seek just compensation through the legal system by working with a medical malpractice attorney to file a medical negligence claim. Additionally, other avenues of relief are available through government benefit programs, grants and lawsuit compensation.
Filing a Negligence Claim for Childbirth Injury
Families and parents who find themselves suffering preventable harm during the childbirth process may be eligible to file a birth injury negligence claim if they believe the healthcare provider bears responsibility. In fact, childbirth injury malpractice lawsuits play an essential role in preventing these cases from happening in the future, as well as working to maintain a high standard of care in the medical industry. Due to the statute of limitations in the State of Florida, it is important that these cases are filed in a timely manner.
Choosing to work with an experienced childbirth injury attorney to file a claim for medical negligence can help ensure that your family will receive the just financial compensation they deserve. It also holds the doctors responsible for the harm they caused by careless medical errors. If you believe your child’s birth injury was caused by preventable medical negligence, contact our office today for a case review to find out if you are entitled to financial compensation.