The upcoming birth of a child is bound to be an exciting and nerve-wracking time for any family. When medical professionals make preventable mistakes, the situation can take a turn for the worse. When errors are made during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or following birth, lives can be turned upside down. If you believe the medical staff that attended to you or your child acted negligently and caused harm, you have the right to file a claim with the help of an Omaha birth injury lawyer.
When Can a Birth Injury Happen?
From the moment a woman attends her first pregnancy appointment to the time she checks out of the hospital with her baby, it’s crucial for her providers to monitor her health and the baby’s health to ensure the pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum period go as smoothly as possible. Unfortunately, negligent doctors and nurses can cause a birth injury at any of those stages.
No matter which stage your baby’s birth injury took place, our lawyers can investigate your situation and determine how the injury occurred so the negligent party can be held accountable for their actions.
While birth injuries are most typically thought to happen during the labor and delivery stages, there are complications that can take place during pregnancy. Your health care provider, whether they’re a doctor, nurse practitioner, or a midwife, is required to provide you with the highest standard of care. During pregnancy, this means taking the time to assess you and your baby for risk of injury.
Your health care provider should be aware of the warning signs of conditions and complications like maternal infection, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and maternal obesity. If a woman is diagnosed with one of those conditions, the medical professional can take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of delivery complications and injuries. When they’re negligent, however, crucial warning signs can be missed.
When a woman goes into labor, it’s important for doctors and nurses to act quickly. While there are more risks associated with prolonged labors, short labors can result in harm to an infant as well. It’s key that proper monitoring takes place. In a modern-day hospital, this means using technology that can track maternal and fetal blood flow and oxygen levels. When improper monitoring occurs, injuries are possible.
Birth injuries can also arise during labor if the mother is over- or under-medicated. Additionally, negligence can result in a failure to check a patient’s chart for a pre-existing condition or failure to respond to maternal or fetal distress.
Once the labor process transitions into delivery, all the health care providers in the room need to be attentive to everything that’s going on. The maternal and fetal vitals should continue to be monitored. If the delivery requires assistance, forceps or a vacuum may be used, but it’s important that they’re not used with excessive force—which can easily result in injuries.
Once the baby has been born, there’s still the risk of a negligent health care provider causing an injury. When there is a failure to provide oxygen, respond to fetal distress, diagnose infection, or execute necessary medical procedures, injuries can occur. The mother also needs to be monitored to ensure no postpartum complications arise.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
While there are instances where a birth injury is not preventable, especially in circumstances involving a large or premature baby, the majority of birth injury incidents should have never happened. Some of the most common types of birth injuries include:
- Caput succedaneum. Babies delivered via vacuum extraction are more likely to sustain this injury. Caput succedaneum involves significant swelling of the soft tissues in the scalp. It develops as the baby travels through the birth canal. While the swelling often disappears in a few days, complications can occur.
- Fractures. The most common fracture a baby sustains during delivery is to the clavicle. The clavicle can break if excessive force is used during a difficult or breech delivery. The injury may not be apparent right away, but signs will be noticeable within the first 10 days as the baby’s bones form.
- Cephalohematoma. A cephalohematoma is an area of bleeding underneath one of the cranial bones. Excessive force during delivery is a common cause. The most noticeable sign of this condition is a raised lump on the baby’s head.
- Brachial palsy. When the group of nerves that supplies the arms and hands is injured, Brachial palsy occurs. This happens most often when there is difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder. As a result of the injury, the baby loses the ability to flex and rotate their arm. Permanent nerve damage can occur.
- Bruising. When forceps or a vacuum is used during delivery it’s possible for the baby to show signs of bruising.
- Facial Paralysis. The baby’s facial nerve can be damaged during labor or delivery if too much pressure is put on the baby’s face. The easiest way to recognize facial paralysis is if there is no movement on one side of the baby’s face. If the nerve is bruised, it can usually repair itself. Surgery may be needed if the nerve was torn.
There are a number of other birth injuries that result from medical malpractice. If you don’t see your baby’s injury listed above, you may still have grounds to file a claim. Our Omaha birth injury lawyers can evaluate your situation and recommend how you should proceed.
Get Help from Welsh & Welsh PC, LLO
If you believe you or your child were injured as a result of medical negligence, our Omaha birth attorneys can fight on your behalf to get your family the compensation you need to recover. We’ll start by going over your case thoroughly in a free consultation. We’ll examine medical documents, photographs, and anything else you bring.
After the initial meeting, we’ll begin to compile evidence, documentation, and witness and expert lists. We’ll build a strong case against the opposing party that proves your injuries never should have happened. In an ideal situation, we’ll settle for full and fair compensation so you can get on with your life. But we’ll be prepared if the case needs to go to trial.
To learn more about how the lawyers at Welsh & Welsh PC, LLO can help you and your child, contact our office today.