Fort Lauderdale Birth Injury Lawyer
Most families are lucky to experience the joy of a healthy new baby. But sometimes, the birth process goes wrong. When there’s a birth injury, it may be the direct result of medical malpractice. A Fort Lauderdale birth injury lawyer at Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm, P.A. can evaluate your case and determine whether medical malpractice was involved.
Negligence during the birthing process may occur when physicians or other healthcare providers breach their duty of care to a patient. Obstetricians are held to a high standard of care as they are medical specialists. Physicians and other healthcare providers must be extremely diligent, prudent and cautious in monitoring mother and baby throughout the pregnancy and during delivery. Even what may seem like a small error can result in a serious birth injury that permanently affects the baby and/or mother.
Legal Elements of Medical Malpractice
For a medical malpractice birth injury claim to prevail, the following elements must be proven by the plaintiff:
- You had a doctor-patient relationship, so your doctor owed you a duty of care
- Your doctor breached his or her duty of care due to negligence, poor judgment, or lack of skill
- You or your child suffered injuries as a result of the doctor’s failure to provide the necessary care
- You have suffered losses that are compensable
How do you prove a birth injury and what information is necessary to build a case? Your Fort Lauderdale birth injury lawyer at Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm, P.A. will need the following information to help you with your case:
- The error or errors that led to your injuries
- Your state of health before the incident
- Details regarding the time and place of the medical care
- The details of any follow-up care you received
- Information about your patient/doctor relationship
Common Birth Injuries
Common birth injuries include the following:
Cerebral Palsy- Approximately 3 out of every 1,000 children born may have cerebral palsy, which is characterized by a lack of motor skill development and weak muscles. In many cases, cerebral palsy is the result of brain damage during birth. Improper monitoring of the laboring mother, negligent birth techniques, and failure to monitor fetal distress during labor can lead to cerebral palsy. While surgery may help the child, there is no cure and often a lifetime of therapy is necessary. Cerebral palsy can lead to other health challenges like vision and hearing impairments, learning disabilities, and speech problems.
Oxygen Deprivation – Oxygen deprivation during delivery can lead to brain injuries which, in turn, can cause cerebral palsy or chronic seizures. When the doctor or medical professional fails to monitor the infant during and after birth or lets the baby remain in the birth canal for too long, brain injuries may result. Even mild oxygen deprivation can cause a lifetime of intellectual disabilities and physical problems.
Neurological and Orthopedic Injuries – These are among the most serious of birth injuries and may be due to the overly forceful use of forceps that cause nerve or cord damage. Paralysis and neurological problems often result.
Brachial plexus/Erb’s palsy – Brachial plexus injury or Erb’s palsy happens when the group of nerves that supply the arms and hands (brachial plexus) is injured. It’s most common when a doctor has difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder, called shoulder dystocia. The baby is unable to flex and rotate its arm.
Bruising, forceps marks and bleeding on the brain – Babies delivered by forceps or by vacuum extraction may exhibit some scalp bruising or lacerations, brain hemorrhage or “brain bleed.”
What Causes a Birth Injury?
Not all birth injuries are the result of medical malpractice or negligence. A difficult birth or injury to the baby can occur because of the baby’s size or position during labor and delivery. Conditions that may be linked to a difficult birth include:
- Large babies. Babies with birth weights over about 8 pounds, 13 ounces (4,000 grams).
- Babies born before 37 weeks (premature babies are more fragile and more easily injured).
- Cephalopelvic disproportion. The size and shape of the mother’s pelvis is not adequate for a vaginal delivery.
- Dystocia. Difficult labor or childbirth.
- Prolonged labor. This is typically over 20 hours for first-time mothers and more than 14 hours if a mother has previously given birth.
- Oxygen deprivation. During labor, the fetus can be deprived of oxygen, leading to significant brain injury.
- Abnormal birthing presentation. An example of this is a breech delivery.
- Maternal obesity. This is a risk factor that can lead to numerous consequences for both mother and baby. Its prevalence is increasing at an alarming rate.
File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for a Birth Injury
If you think you have a birth injury case, don’t hesitate to contact a Fort Lauderdale birth injury lawyer at Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm, P.A. promptly. There is a two-year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit, and the information-gathering process can be time-consuming. Our firm has handled hundreds of birth injury cases and can help you determine if you have a valid claim.