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Common Birth Injury Lawsuits

birth injury

Birth injuries or fetal death caused by medical negligence – a preventable error by the doctor, nurse or other medical staff – are a devastating reality for some parents. Birth injuries most often happen while a woman is in labor or delivering the baby and they are far more common than most expecting parents realize.

If your baby suffered a serious birth injury you may be entitled to recover damages through a birth injury lawsuit. Damages are financial compensation for injury-related medical treatments, therapies, pain and suffering, long-term care, funeral expenses and other losses.

Common birth injury lawsuits

Excessive Pitocin administration:

Pitocin is a synthetic version of oxytocin, used to mimic what oxytocin does to the body while a woman is in labor: create intense, frequent, long-lasting uterine contractions. The risk with Pitocin is that if it is administered in excessive quantities it can cause injury to the fetus because of hyper-stimulated uterine activity, cord compression, abrupt delivery, and decreased fetal oxygenation to vital organs. It is the drug most commonly linked to preventable adverse effects in childbirth including severe and permanent neurological injury and long-term medical expenses.

Improper vacuum delivery:

Vacuum extractors are medical instruments sometimes used to grip the fetal head to help its passage through the birth canal. Because their use can increase the risk of birth injury, informed consent should be obtained by the doctor from the woman in labor. There are many situations where vacuum delivery is not appropriate, including when the fetus is less than 36-weeks of age and infant has a condition that would make forceps delivery dangerous. Birth injuries to the infant associated with vacuum extraction include brain damage, cerebral palsy, facial injuries and even death. Birth injuries to the mother associated with vacuum extraction include bladder injuries, uterine rupture, perineum injury requiring surgical repairs and more.

Improperly managed labor:

While most labors progress smoothly and end well, complications can and do occur. When these complications are not appropriately recognized and managed or when proper care and treatment are not provided, birth injuries can occur. The most common injuries caused by failure to properly manage labor are brain damage from reduced oxygen or blood flow to the infant, and trauma from improperly used medical instruments and equipment and uncorrected or inappropriately handled positional problems.

Failure to recognize fetal distress:

When obstetricians fail to properly analyze or recognize and respond to signs of fetal distress that were present on fetal monitoring tapes, serious birth injuries can occur including brain damage, Erb’s palsy and cerebral palsy. In many cases, properly responding to known indicators of fetal distress means performing an emergency c-section. Note that a defective fetal heart rate monitor may also be responsible for a failure to recognize fetal distress.

Failure to perform timely cesarean section:

When a physician recognizes the need for C-section but performs the surgery too late to prevent birth injury, he may have committed medical malpractice. An OB/GYN must recognize not only that a C-section needs to be performed but WHEN it needs to be performed. When a C-section is performed in an untimely manner – often after extended labor or a long-period of fetal distress – preventable injuries may occur to both the mother and infant including serious neurological injuries to the child.

Delayed birth injury:

A delayed birth occurs when circumstances stop an infant from being delivered during the normal time frame. While most of these situations lead to minor conditions with proper and immediate medical intervention, some delayed births cause serious medical issues and birth injuries.

Failure to recognize neonatal hypoglycemia:

Neonatal hypoglycemia is abnormally low blood sugar in newborns that can cause serious complications such as blindness, developmental delays and cognitive disabilities without treatment. Babies born over 9 pounds should be automatically tested for the condition with blood screening tests at one, two, four, six and eight hours of age. When tests show low blood sugar levels, medical staff must draw a blood sample and send it to the lab for analysis.

The Seattle personal injury attorneys at Morrow Kidman Tinker Macey-Cushman, PLLC have years of experience representing families harmed by medical malpractice and other types of negligence. We seek justice for patients who have been harmed by preventable accidents and medical errors including birth injuries, hospital-acquired infections, diagnostic errors, prescription drug injuries and wrongful death in Seattle and across Washington State. There are no fees or expenses to file a personal injury case as we only receive payment if we recover damages on your behalf. Do not delay; personal injury claims come with a Statute of Limitations, which means they must be filed within a certain time frame of the injury.

Call us now at 206-842-1000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our compassionate, experienced attorneys.