What Parents Must Know About Birth Injury Medical Malpractice In Maryland, DC & Virginia

No family anticipates that their child will experience birth injury or trauma during birth. Each year approximately 5 in 100 births result in some type of birth injury.

When a family, who expects to bring home a healthy child is suddenly confronted by a birth defect the family life has forever changed. The struggle with an endless stream of decisions, hospitals, emotions and worry replaces the joy that the birth expected.

A birth injury or a birth trauma can run the spectrum from something as little as a minor bruising to severe trauma or even death. Whether your child experienced a birth injury by medical error, or by legal negligence, if you have damages then it would be in your best interest to consult with our Maryland Birth Injury attorney, John Sellinger.

Just because your child has a birth injury this does not necessarily mean that a medical malpractice has occurred. In order for a medical provider to be guilty of medical negligence, or professional malpractice, it has to be shown that your medical provider failed to live up to the standard of care as established by the medical community, and as a result of that breach of standard of care damages resulted. Just having a bad delivery is not necessarily medical malpractice.

In addition, birth injuries should not be confused with birth defects, which usually occur before the delivery. Birth defects are usually caused by the use of certain medications, the mother’s use of illegal drugs or substances, alcohol or a genetic disorder. Some of the more common birth injuries include but are not limited to:

Caput Succedaneum

Usually babies delivered by vacuum extraction are more likely to develop this birth injury. It is a severe swelling of the soft tissue of the baby’s scalp.

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

This birth injury is the breakage of small blood vessels in the baby’s eyes. The eyes may have a bright red band around the iris of the eye. This usually disappears within a week or two and there is usually no damage to the eyes.

Facial Paralysis

This birth injury is usually caused by the use of forceps and/or pressure on the baby’s face. The birth injury can be seen by lack of movement on the injured sided of the baby’s face when the baby cries. The eye will also remain open. If the nerve is torn surgery is often needed, if bruised it repairs itself usually within a few weeks.

Forceps Injuries

This birth injury usually involves bruising or tearing during delivery.

Cephalohematoma

An area of bleeding between the bone and the fibrous covering is what defines this birth injury. Most of these types of birth injury will heal within two to three months, however if the bleeding is a large area the baby may develop jaundice.

Fractures

A more serious type of birth injujry is a fracture. These are seen in the collarbone, shoulder and limbs. These injuries are caused often by breech births when the arm is over the head.

Cerebral Palsy

This birth injury is usually caused by lack of oxygen to the brain. This entails damage to the part of the brain that controls muscle function and movement. To learn more about Cerebral Palsy read this about cerebral palsy.

Read more about cerebral palsy:

Erbs palsy- or Brachial Plexus

Erbs Palsy is stretching and tearing of the nerves that control movement in the arms, hands and fingers.

Birth injuries occur when something goes wrong during delivery, either from the baby-presenting breech, too large to move thru the birth canal or some other type of distress. How the medical team handles these situations can make the difference between a slight injury and a significant and possibly fatal injury. Not only can the medical team be held responsible if a problem is found to have occurred which they could have prevented, but also the medical practice and/or the hospital may be held responsible. Often times a medication has been found to be responsible when administered correctly and under proper conditions.

The burden of proof lies on the plaintiff to make sure that the medical team adhered to the proper standard of care and that failure on the part of the medical team led to the injury. Failure to prove that the birth injury occurred and could have been prevented by the team may lead to the plaintiff losing the case.

The burden of proof is on the plaintiff so there are a few defenses that must not be overlooked. The doctor must maintain the accepted standard of care however, this may be left to the interpretation of the medical professional and what they deem acceptable in any given situation. It must be proven that the professional’s decision directly attributed to the injury.

There is also such a thing in some states called the ‘Good Samaritan Act’. This simply states that the doctor may simply assist in the birth and have no prior knowledge of any pre-birth behavior or treatment, thus making him innocent of any wrongdoing. Lastly, the doctor may say that the injury occurred due to negligence on the part of the nurse or medicinal failure, thus throwing the blame on a second party.

How much your loved one or your loved one’s caregivers are entitled to will depend on the severity of the injury, the State and federal laws, and the facts of your case. Damages may entail, quality of life, emotional distress, loss of companionship, pain and suffering and length of disability to mention a few. While not all birth injuries may result in a lawsuit, the only way to know is to speak with a trained legal professional in the field of Birth Injury Malpractice.

These are difficult and emotional decisions and we will answer your questions and guide you thru the difficult process of deciding what if any action to take.

Next Steps...

Cerebral palsy victims require specialized medical care and therapy and will need financial and medical assistance throughout their lives, depending on the severity of the disorder. Added to the cost of such intensive long-term care is the loss of enjoyment of life that the medical victim experiences.

If a loved one has suffered from a birth injury, call our birth injury lawers at Greenberg & Bederman at 301-589-2200 or toll free 800-800-1144 or submit the online form for your free legal consultation.

For more information visit our main Medical Malpractice webpage...

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