Birth injuries and your legal rights

The birth of a child is a joyous and wonderful event as a new life comes into the world and into our lives.

Sometimes, though, complications and medical errors can arise, with catastrophic consequences for a family.

Doctors can make critical mistakes, hospitals and nursing staffs can introduce errors in patient care and other problems can arise during births, leaving a family unsure of their legal options and responsibilities.

Last week, a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel upheld a $27.3 million verdict awarded to a Lackawanna County, Pa., couple in connection with a lawsuit filed after the 2001 birth of their son, according to a story in The Legal Intelligencer.

Here's an example of some of the records from a child's birth -- an ultrasound image of the baby and a cardiogram of the baby's heartbeat. Image credit: ©

The mother of the baby had gone to a hospital emergency room when she became concerned about decreased movement by the fetus inside her womb. The doctor ordered several tests and when some abnormalities were displayed, the birth was induced initially, according to the story. Later, the baby was delivered by Caesarean section after further complications arose, including reductions in the baby’s heart rate, the story said.

The resulting oxygen deprivation, however, left the newborn with permanent brain damage, cerebral palsy and the inability to ever live an independent life, according to the story.

These kinds of incidents are tragic beyond belief.

When they happen, they require thorough and detailed records examinations by a competent attorney who specializes in such cases so that families can secure financial damages to pay for the long-term care of children who are injured at birth.

Obviously, sometimes birth defects just happen and they are the fault of genetics and the vagaries of nature.

But to best protect your rights, any child who is diagnosed with a an injury at birth or who necessitates a stay in a neo-natal intensive care unit after birth should have their case pored over by an attorney to be sure that no medical mistakes led to the child’s injuries or future health issues.

As a parent, you can never tell on your own whether your child’s medical complications are the result of a congenital birth defect or due to an injury caused by the negligence of a doctor, technician or medical facility.

What are some of the things we look for when we go through such records?

As we handle your case, we would carefully analyze and scrutinize such evidence as the fetal monitoring strips that provide a record of the baby’s heartbeat, oxygen levels and other vital signs during the birthing process while the mother is hooked up to the monitor.

The data gives a constant and irrefutable record of the health and welfare of the baby in the womb. All other medical records would also be reviewed.

A huge reason for the monitoring equipment in the first place is that used properly, it can alert doctors and the medical staff to conditions that would necessitate a C-section or other procedure to protect the health of the baby and mother.

A lot can go wrong during a birth, but with careful and constant monitoring, tragedies can be averted.

Problems can arise, though, when doctors and medical personnel fail to notice that the baby is in distress despite the indicators visible on the fetal monitor. That’s where hospitals and doctors can get themselves in a world of legal trouble.

When a fetus doesn’t get oxygen during childbirth as a result of complications, the baby can suffer an anoxic brain injury, which is an irreversible injury caused by a lack of oxygen.

If that occurs, and the child survives, the baby will likely have brain damage.

Earlier this year, we here at MyPhillyLawyer represented a family in just such a case.

Signs of trouble with the baby were seen on the fetal monitor during birth, but no actions were taken immediately. The baby was born suffering from oxygen deprivation and will now require 24-hour-a-day care for the rest of his life. He suffers from seizures and is fed through a feeding tube in his stomach.

If the baby had been delivered by C-section at the first indication of trouble, the child would likely be a healthy baby boy today.

But instead, he was left in the womb for hours and was delivered after it was too late.

In these kinds of cases, the negligence of these doctors and medical facilities must be punished through the payment of damages for injury, pain and suffering, loss of future income, and more.

Here at MyPhillyLawyer, we handle cases like these on a regular basis to help and protect our clients.

If you need help with a birth injury case, we are here to assist you every step of the way.

When losing isn’t an option, call MyPhillyLawyer.