BIRTH INJURIES

Home Birth Injuries

Of the many ways doctors and hospitals may cause personal injury through medical malpractice, birth injuries are perhaps the most tragic and heartbreaking. Injury victims and their families must often face a lifetime of additional costs and daily struggles because of the negligence or incompetence of medical staff during pregnancy, labor or delivery.

The Florida birth injury attorneys at Hogan Frick in Florida are dedicated to holding doctors and hospitals accountable for their misconduct and helping families obtain the maximum amount of compensation available to help with the expenses and challenges they must confront. With offices in Orlando, Kissimmee, Ocala, Gainesville, and Miami, we help clients throughout central Florida and beyond. If your child suffered a birth injury, call (407) 377-0700, or contact us online for a free consultation.

Causes and Types of Birth Injuries

An injury to mother, fetus or child can occur at any time during pregnancy, labor or delivery due to the negligence or incompetence of an obstetrician, nurse, anesthesiologist, nurse anesthetist, or other clinic or hospital staff member. Some of the more common birth injuries inflicted on infants include:

Erb’s Palsy/Brachial Plexus Injury is an injury to the brachial plexus, which are the nerves encasing the shoulder. Not to be confused with cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy has nothing to do with a brain injury or abnormality. The disorder to the nerves causes weakness or total paralysis of the arm, depending on the injury. If the upper arm is the only affected region, it is termed brachial plexus injury. It is called Erb’s paralysis when the upper arm is affected as well as the rotation of the lower arm. The final condition is listed below as Klumpke’s palsy.

Klumpke’s Palsy is a disorder of the brachial plexus that affects the hand. Klumpke paralysis can also cause a droop in the eyelid as well, but on the opposite side of the body as the affected hand.

Shoulder Dystocia happens during delivery when the baby’s head has passed through the vagina but its shoulders get caught inside the mother. This can cause a difficult, painful, and delayed labor. Injuries can occur to the baby’s nerves in the shoulder, arm, or hand. It can cause shaking or paralysis, however these issues tend to disappear within a year. In the worst case scenario, shoulder dystocia can cause a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain that causes brain damage or even death. There are risks for the mother as well, which include heavy bleeding post birth and tearing of the uterus, cervix, rectum, and vagina.

Peritonitis is the inflammation of the membranes of peritoneum, which is the tissue membrane that lines the walls of the abdomen and most of the abdominal organs. Peritonitis is most commonly caused by an infection from either bacteria or fungi. Pneumonitis is an inflammation of the lung tissue. Difficulty breathing, along with a dry, unproductive cough, are the most prominent signs of pneumonitis. Facial Lacerations and Contusions may occur. While bruising and facial damage is sometimes an unavoidable result of a large baby (over eight pounds and 13 ounces), sometimes mistakes are made and face trauma is the result of overly forceful forceps on a baby’s extra soft tissue and skull.

Fractured Clavicle, Humerus or Other Broken Bones can occur during very difficult births. If the injury is a broken clavicle, the baby will simply not move the injured, painful arm. A hard lump will form within a few weeks where the bone begins to heal, which can sometimes be the only sign of the baby’s broken clavicle.

Fetal Asphyxia happens when the baby’s brain and other organs don’t get the oxygen they require either before, during, or after birth. Often, the problem goes completely unnoticed at first. The injuries caused by asphyxia can include temporary or permanent damage, depending on how long the asphyxia took place. Babies who suffer mild asphyxia generally recover fully within a few weeks. More severe asphyxia can cause permanent damage to the brain, lungs, heart, kidney, bowels, and other organs. The consequences of a premature baby suffering asphyxia is even greater. Asphyxia, in this case, can cause cerebral palsy, attention deficit disorder, developmental disabilities, impaired sight, organ failure, and death.

These injuries are often attributed to medical negligence such as the following:

  • Improper use of forceps;
  • Improper use of Pitocin;
  • Delayed decision to perform a cesarean section;
  • Ill-advised vaginal birth following a cesarean birth (VBAC);
  • Failing to monitor maternal health for gestational diabetes or other conditions;
  • Failing to monitor fetal distress;
  • Failure to account for birth of a large baby;
  • Failure to provide genetic counseling when indicated by family history or other circumstances;
  • Improper use of a vacuum extractor; and/or
  • Improper administration of epidural.

Depending upon the type of injury involved, future medical procedures or different forms of therapy may be necessary or beneficial to improve the child’s quality of life and help him or her achieve maximum potential. As experienced medical malpractice and Florida birth injury attorneys, the legal team at Hogan Frick knows how to evaluate a birth injury claim and identify all the factors that go into establishing how much compensation should be owed by the negligent parties.

We have the skills and resources necessary to hold those parties accountable and help you get the compensation you need and deserve to deal with a birth injury and any complications which follow.

Special Law for Neurological Birth Injuries

If your child suffers from cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy/brachial plexus injury, or certain other forms of brain damage, spinal cord injury or nerve damage/paralysis, you may be entitled to payment through the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Act (NICA). This law limits your right to sue for certain birth injuries but instead provides an administrative claims process to obtain benefits. See our page on cerebral palsy for more information on obtaining compensation for neurological birth injuries.

Help is Available for Florida Birth Injury Claims

If mother or child suffered from a birth injury due to the negligence or incompetence of the obstetrician or other medical personnel, help is available to hold those responsible accountable for their misconduct and obtain a financial recovery that helps you meet necessary medical expenses and other legal damages. Contact Florida birth injury attorneys at Hogan Frick for a free consultation and to learn how we can be of assistance.