Birth Injuries | St. Louis Birth Injury Lawyer
A birth injury is a tragic injury that an infant or mother sustains during labor and delivery or shortly after birth. A baby may be born with a congenital birth defect that is unpreventable. But too often, an error by an obstetrician, nurse or delivery room team causes a preventable birth injury. Neither the doctor nor hospital will admit that an error occurred, so the parents are left with unanswered questions about whether something should have been done differently. Identifying whether a preventable medical error occurred is not something parents can do by themselves. You will need to have a knowledgeable St. Louis medical malpractice lawyer to obtain and carefully review the medical records.
A serious birth injury can require corrective surgery, months of physical therapy or cause a life-altering disability that deprives the child and family of the life they should have enjoyed. It can take an emotional toll and create a financial burden for a family. One parent may need to become a full-time caregiver. The compassionate medical malpractice attorneys at Sansone & Lauber offer a free consultation to review the circumstances of the injury. If your family is dealing with a birth injury, you do not have to carry that burden alone. You owe it to yourself to understand your legal options. Then you can make a well-founded decision with your baby’s future in mind.
How Our St. Louis Birth Injury Lawyers Investigate to Determine Medical Negligence
Proving that a health care provider’s negligence caused a birth injury is a challenging task and requires legal experience and perseverance. Our birth injury attorneys work with recognized independent medical experts to review your medical records. We gather all relevant medical records regarding the pregnancy and birth and have medical professionals examine the records to evaluate whether a doctor or other health care provider failed to follow the established standard of care in delivering your baby and caused a preventable injury.
Health care providers have a legal duty to provide care that meets established standards. If a doctor or other provider fails to follow the standard of care and a birth injury occurs, individuals and the medical institution itself may be liable. A birth injury resulting from negligence on the part of the medical staff can lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Medical records will provide a picture of an expectant mother’s pregnancy, labor and delivery, including the baby’s health throughout the pregnancy. The records should indicate the tests ordered by the doctor and steps taken to prepare the mother for labor and delivery and to monitor the health of the mother and newborn during the delivery and afterward. A doctor’s failure to treat an expectant mother’s high blood pressure or gestational diabetes during pregnancy can cause serious complications. Untreated hypertension can increase the risk of a placenta abruption in which the placenta prematurely breaks away from the wall of the uterus. If a woman wants to attempt a vaginal birth after previously having a C-section, the OB-GYN should discuss the risks and considerations so that the mother can make an informed decision.
Obstetricians and nurses should know the mother’s medical history and be ready to manage the labor and delivery calmly. The doctor should be alert for signs of a high risk pregnancy and difficult birth and have a backup plan ready if complications arise during delivery.
During labor, the delivery team must follow established protocols for monitoring the oxygen levels of the mother and baby during labor and delivery. They should recognize when conditions dictate that a C-section is needed and act promptly to prevent a birth injury.
We work with medical professionals who will be ready to provide testimony if after reviewing the records, they believe that medical negligence resulted in a birth injury.
We obtain evidence through interviews and depositions of doctors and nurses and other staff involved in the case and build a compelling case for full compensation.
If the birth injury is expected to lead to a permanent disability, we bring in financial planners to estimate the lifetime costs of ongoing medical treatment and care associated with the injury. Those future costs are taken into account as part of a claim for compensation.
You can expect that a doctor or hospital will vigorously defend their reputation, even if it is clear that they committed medical negligence. You need a law firm that has experience and resources to stand up to doctors and hospital corporations and their teams of attorneys.
What Are the Most Common Birth Injuries?
Cerebral Palsy – Head trauma or a lack of oxygen during birth or an infection that develops soon after birth can cause cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy, or CP, is an incurable disorder that causes deficiencies in coordination, speech, muscle control, and motor skills. In some instances, CP can cause deafness, blindness, epilepsy or intellectual deficiencies. Children with more severe cerebral palsy may be unable to walk or care for themselves.
Cerebral Hypoxia / Anoxia (hypoxic/anoxic encephalopathy) – A lack of oxygen to the brain can quickly cause brain damage. The more complete the oxygen deprivation, the more severe the injury to the brain. Fetal hypoxia describes a condition in which the baby’s oxygen supply is partially cut off, while “anoxia” describes complete oxygen deprivation.
Brachial Plexus Injuries – The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves in the neck that sends signals to the shoulders, arms and hands. If an infant’s shoulders get wedged in the birth canal during delivery, it increases the risk of a brachial plexus injury. If excessive pressure is applied to the infant’s head, neck or shoulder during a complicated delivery, it can cause the brachial plexus nerves to be stretched, compressed or in the most serious cases torn from the spinal cord. A brachial plexus injury may cause a child to have reduced muscle control, a loss of sensation in the neck, shoulders and arms. Erb’s palsy is a brachial plexus injury to the nerves that affect the upper arm. Klumpke’s palsy describes nerve damage that affects the hands. Brachial plexus injuries can range in severity from permanent weakness in the affected limbs to paralysis. Surgery may be effective in reducing the symptoms of brachial plexus injury.
Cervical Dystonia – A birth injury to the head, neck or shoulder can make the muscles in the neck contract. This can cause the head to tilt forward, backward or twist to the side. Cervical dystonia is painful and can be disabling. Physical therapy, drugs or surgery to sever affected nerves or muscles may help an older child. The most severe cases are treated with deep brain stimulation, in which an electrode is surgically implanted in the brain to interrupt the nerve signals that make the victim’s head twist.
Fractures – A newborn baby’s tiny bones are quite fragile. Too much pressure applied to the baby’s body during a difficult delivery may cause a bone fracture, particularly to the clavicle, arms or legs.
How Do Birth Injuries Occur?
A 2010 study in the medical journal American Journal of Gynecology estimated that birth injuries caused by trauma occur in about 26 of every 1,000 deliveries. In many birth injury cases, the trauma may be a result of medical negligence. This includes:
- Neglecting established procedures
- Failing to order appropriate medical tests
- Failing to be aware of pre-natal conditions such as gestational diabetes, excessive weight gain or large fetal size
- Not responding appropriately to complications such as bleeding or umbilical cord entrapment
- Taking too much time to order a Cesarean section (C-section)
- Improperly using tools like forceps or vacuum extraction devices
- Failing to ask for needed assistance.
How You Can Afford a Birth Injury Attorney in St. Louis?
If your child has sustained a birth injury during a difficult birth in Missouri or Illinois, a compassionate medical malpractice lawyer at Sansone & Lauber is ready to help your family. We are available to discuss your situation and explain your legal options for seeking compensation to help with your medical bills and other expenses. You may be eligible to seek compensation for medical bills, future medical care, pain and suffering, and other losses.
If we can pursue a birth injury claim on your behalf, we will handle the cases on a contingency fee basis. We know that you do not need additional bills right now if you are confronting a birth injury. A contingency fee arrangement allows families to obtain legal representation that might be out of reach otherwise. You will not owe any legal fee until such time as our birth injury lawyers obtain compensation for you through an insurance settlement or a jury verdict. At that point, we would then receive a percentage of the compensation as payment for our legal services. While each case is unique and stands on its own facts, we have a strong record of helping clients throughout Missouri and Illinois obtain settlements and verdicts for their losses due to medical negligence.
Please contact us today to receive a free consultation about your case.