Birth Injury Attorneys in Jacksonville, FL
Bringing a child into the world is an exciting and incredible experience. Even when everything goes right, it can be somewhat frightening to think about the responsibility of caring for a new baby. It is unknown territory for first-time parents and can provide challenges for parents who already have children.
If anything goes wrong during labor or delivery, birth injuries may occur, and mother or baby may be left facing an uncertain future. Spohrer Dodd Trial Attorneys is here to provide legal counsel and support if your family has been affected by a preventable birth injury. We know how to identify malpractice and negligence by obstetricians, nurses, hospitals, birthing centers, midwives, and other health care professionals and facilities involved in the birth of a child.
Put our experience in your corner. Call 904-309-6500 for a free, confidential review of your birth injury claim.
What Is A Birth Injury?
A birth injury may be defined as a type of physical injury that occurs during labor or delivery, or shortly after birth. Some birth injuries occur through no fault of an attending doctor or nurse. Others, however, occur as a result of a medical professional’s failure to provide standard care. These preventable birth injuries are the ones that provide grounds for medical malpractice lawsuits, which allow a family to pursue compensation for an injured child’s medical care, ongoing treatment and more.
Our birth injury attorneys take on cases in Jacksonville, Florida, and the entire U.S. involving:
- Cerebral palsy. This term applies to brain damage sustained before or during childbirth and can potentially result in adverse symptoms for the affected child. Some babies born with cerebral palsy only experience minor disabilities, while others are left profoundly disabled from this condition.
- Erb’s palsy. This condition is characterized by nerve damage in the upper arm and shoulder region, resulting in diminished development of the affected arm. Symptoms of Erb’s palsy often improve over time, but many children with this condition require ongoing rehabilitative care.
- Brachial plexus injuries. The shoulders are the widest part of an infant that must pass through its mother’s birth canal. When they become stuck or strained during this extraction, the brachial plexus nerves in the collarbone area may sustain substantial injury.
- Klumpke’s palsy. This condition results from similar causes as Erb’s palsy but is essentially a more severe version of Erb’s palsy. While Erb’s palsy results in weakness and diminished growth of the affected arm, Klumpke’s palsy typically involves paralysis of the affected arm.
- Developmental delays. Many children who sustain birth injuries experience a wide range of potential developmental delays. These may include language and speech delays, memory complications, cognitive impairment, delays in social development, and more.
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Babies may experience HIE during childbirth if they are deprived of oxygen. When the brain is cut off from oxygen, brain cells die rapidly. Depending on how HIE manifests, the infant could develop cerebral palsy or other conditions from brain damage, including bleeding in the brain and seizure disorders.
- C-section errors. Some mothers require C-section procedures for individual medical reasons, personal preferences, and other reasons. Doctors in charge of C-section procedures must perform them very carefully and adhere to appropriate standards of care. Any negligence during a C-section could easily harm the mother and her child.
- Delayed C-section. Some mothers expect to deliver their children through natural labor only to experience unexpected complications during delivery. Doctors must recognize when a mother or child requires a C-section procedure, and unnecessary delays may easily harm the patient and/or her child.
- Shoulder dystocia. This condition is characterized by soft tissue damage in a newborn’s shoulders, upper back, and upper arms. When the baby has trouble fitting their shoulders through the mother’s birth canal, attending physicians must use extra caution to extract the child safely without damaging their shoulders.
- Failure to respond to fetal distress. It is imperative for attending medical staff in childbirth procedures to monitor the vital signs of both the mother and her baby very carefully. Failure to do so could easily lead to the medical team missing critical signs of fetal distress, potentially jeopardizing the baby’s life.
- Failure to diagnose maternal diabetes. Maternal diabetes can be a very dangerous complication in pregnancy and childbirth. Doctors providing prenatal care must rule out maternal diabetes and thoroughly investigate any signs their patient has this condition.
- Failure to diagnose preeclampsia. This is a potentially fatal condition typically indicated by high blood pressure and protein in the patient’s urine. Attending physicians must address any signs of preeclampsia to prevent injuries to the mother and her baby.
- Kernicterus. This is a rare but very serious condition resulting from untreated jaundice in babies. Too much bilirubin in the baby’s blood can lead to brain damage and athetoid cerebral palsy, and hearing loss is another commonly reported effect of this condition.
This is not an exhaustive list of all the possible medical complications a mother and her child could face during delivery. However, medical professionals who treat patients in the delivery room must use the utmost care and caution to prevent injuries to their patients. Failure to do so because of negligence can easily generate a very complex medical malpractice claim from the victim and their family.
Types Of Medical Malpractice That Could Lead To Birth Injuries
Delivering a healthy baby can be hard on its own, even with years of education and hands-on training. If a medical practitioner does not meet any outlying factors or sudden complications with the utmost care, attention and sense of urgency, the result can be devastating to the physical and/or mental health of the mother or child. For this reason, many birth injuries that result in severe harm to the infant or mother are caused by medical malpractice.
Common medical malpractices that can cause a dangerous birth injury include:
- Allowing labor to persist for too long. Labor is often very intense, but doctors must know when a mother is struggling too much and requires alternative intervention to safely deliver her child.
- Failing to identify a breech birth. Delivering a baby feet-first can be risky, but it is possible to do so safely using appropriate techniques. Doctors handling childbirth must not only identify a breech birth as soon as signs become apparent but also employ the appropriate technique in managing this condition.
- Failing to address oxygen deprivation of the infant. Just a few seconds of oxygen deprivation during childbirth can be extremely detrimental to the baby. All attending medical staff must carefully monitor the vital signs of the mother and baby at all times so they can appropriately address any signs of fetal distress.
- Improperly delivering a cesarean section. C-section procedures are very common in the United States, and many mothers undergo these procedures with no problems. Unfortunately, injuries can occur if a C-section isn’t performed correctly.
- Insufficiently monitoring the child or mother during labor. Vital sign monitoring is crucial during all stages of delivery and childbirth. Failure to ensure appropriate monitoring can easily lead to severe patient harm.
- Mishandling shoulder dystocia. Physicians handling childbirth must be careful not to damage the infant as they leave the birth canal. Doctors should not only prevent shoulder dystocia but also address it correctly when it occurs due to natural and unavoidable factors.
- Misusing medical equipment. Certain medical devices can be helpful during childbirth, but only if used correctly. The effects can be devastating when a medical professional misuses any medical device during childbirth.
Your Jacksonville birth injury attorney will be crucial in helping you prove exactly how your birth injury happened and in proving the full scope of the resulting damages. Birth injuries, especially those that entail damage to the brain, are life-changing events that can quickly turn a time for celebration into a tragedy. When medical negligence causes such an injury, victims must know their options for legal recourse and the value of experienced legal counsel.
What Birth Injuries Arise From Medical Malpractice?
There are myriad birth injuries that can result from medical malpractice. Cerebral palsy and facial paralysis are common when a medical practitioner puts too much pressure on an area of nerves or improperly uses medical tools, such as forceps or vacuum extractors. Another example is Erb’s palsy arising from the improper handling of shoulder dystocia, which is when the infant gets lodged behind the mother’s pubic bone. The nerves that move the shoulder, arm and hand — the brachial plexus — can be damaged if an infant suffers from shoulder dystocia, and the medical practitioner fails to remedy it safely and effectively.
Another common birth injury that can arise from medical malpractice is epilepsy due to oxygen deprivation. If an infant is deprived of oxygen for even a short amount of time, the result may be a physical or intellectual disability, shock, coma or even death. Oxygen deprivation and asphyxia usually occur when the medical staff does not sufficiently monitor the infant during and after birth or leaves the baby in the birth canal for too long.
Other Causes of Birth Injuries
Faulty medical tools and supplies may also lead to a preventable birth injury, as some medical practitioners might employ these devices when delivering an infant.
While medical tools are generally safe, they can be faulty, just like any other product. Forceps, vacuum extractors and Pitocin have been the cause of birth injuries many times before. For instance, forceps and vacuum extractors can be too strong, leading to too much pressure being placed on part of the infant’s body. This could lead to nerve damage or lacerations. Similarly, Pitocin carries dangerous side effects, such as fetal distress, which is why it is considered a last resort by most doctors.
How Can You Hold The Negligent Party Responsible?
As you can see, a birth injury can happen easily, but that doesn’t mean it should.
The compensation for a birth injury lawsuit could cover:
- Medical expenses. Plaintiffs can typically hold defendants accountable for the cost of any corrective treatment they require to fix the harm they experienced. When a birth injury results in the victim’s long-term or permanent medical condition, the defendant is also liable for the victim’s future medical expenses.
- Lost wages. A birth injury to an infant could be severe enough that one parent must leave their job to account for the child’s medical needs. If a mother suffers an injury during delivery, she may be unable to work for an extended time. The defendant is responsible for any lost wages and lost future earning capacity their actions cause.
- Pain and suffering. The plaintiff in a birth injury case has the right to seek compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the defendant. In Florida, the cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims is $500,000.
- Loss of quality of life. Compensation for the long-term disabling effects of a birth injury typically falls under the purview of pain and suffering. Your attorney can help you determine a suitable amount of non-economic damages to seek in your claim.
- Disability. Any birth injury resulting in a disability could leave the defendant liable for the ongoing support and medical care the victim requires.
- Mental anguish. Any birth injury can be incredibly traumatic, and your Jacksonville birth injury attorney will be essential for ensuring you hold the defendant appropriately accountable for the tremendous impact their actions have had on your family.
Compensation is unique to each case, just as the contributing factors are unique to each birth injury. Do not feel deterred if the birth injury you or your child suffered is not mentioned above. We encourage you to contact our attorneys at Spohrer Dodd Trial Attorneys to discuss the specifics of your case and the birth injury suffered. It is our passion to represent the wrongfully injured, and we want to use our legal experience and resources to help you cut through the legal red tape and fight for your rights!
Get Started Today With A Free Consultation
Our Jacksonville birth injury lawyers are here to expose malpractice and help you recover financial compensation for your child’s lifelong care. Because of our expertise in this field, we are often the most referred attorneys for complex obstetrical malpractice claims. We have the resources and experience to provide competent, aggressive legal representation.
To arrange your free birth injury case evaluation, call 904-309-6500 or contact us online. We are standing by to see how we can help you.