Waipahu Birth Injury Attorneys
Helping Families in Waipahu & Beyond
When the joyous anticipation of welcoming a new life into the world turns into a nightmare due to a birth injury, the emotional and financial toll on a family can be overwhelming. At Davis Levin Livingston, we understand the pain and suffering that parents and their children go through when a birth injury occurs. We are dedicated to helping families in Waipahu, Hawaii, navigate the complex legal process and secure the compensation they deserve.
Understanding Birth Injuries
A birth injury, also known as a birth trauma, refers to any physical injury or harm sustained by a newborn baby during the process of labor and delivery. These injuries can occur at any stage of the birthing process, from pregnancy to labor and delivery, and can result in various degrees of severity. Birth injuries can be caused by a range of factors, including natural complications, medical conditions, or medical negligence.
Here are the common types of birth injuries:
- Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral palsy is a group of neurological disorders that affect a child's motor skills, muscle control, and coordination. It is often caused by brain damage or abnormal brain development during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Factors like oxygen deprivation, head trauma, or infections can contribute to cerebral palsy.
- Erb's Palsy: Erb's palsy, also known as brachial plexus injury, occurs when the nerves in a baby's shoulder and upper arm are damaged during delivery. This can result from excessive pulling or stretching during a difficult birth, particularly when the baby's head is delivered but the shoulders become stuck.
- Brain Injuries: Brain injuries can take various forms, including intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding within the baby's brain), hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (oxygen deprivation to the brain), or skull fractures. These injuries can result from complications during delivery, the misuse of delivery instruments like forceps or vacuum extractors, or medical negligence.
- Facial Nerve Injury: Facial nerve injuries can occur when pressure is applied to the baby's face during delivery, leading to damage of the facial nerves. This can result in facial weakness or paralysis.
- Fractures: Birth fractures typically involve the clavicle (collarbone) or other bones in the baby's body. They can happen during delivery when there's difficulty in passing through the birth canal or when excessive force is applied during extraction.
- Infections: Infections can occur if there is improper sanitation or hygiene during childbirth. The baby might be exposed to harmful bacteria or viruses, leading to various health issues.
- Intracranial Hemorrhage: This refers to bleeding within the baby's brain, which can happen due to head trauma during delivery. Intracranial hemorrhage can have serious consequences and may result in long-term neurological damage.
- Cephalohematoma: Cephalohematoma is the accumulation of blood between the baby's skull and the periosteum, a membrane covering the bones. It is usually caused by pressure exerted during a difficult delivery but often resolves on its own.
- Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE): HIE is a condition resulting from inadequate oxygen and blood flow to the baby's brain during labor and delivery. It can lead to brain damage and long-term neurological issues.
- Shoulder Dystocia: Shoulder dystocia is a complication that occurs when the baby's head passes through the birth canal, but the shoulders become stuck behind the mother's pelvic bone. This can lead to various injuries, including nerve damage and fractures.
- Asphyxia: Birth asphyxia refers to a lack of oxygen during childbirth. It can result from various factors, such as a prolapsed umbilical cord, placental issues, or complications during labor. Asphyxia can have severe consequences for the baby's health and well-being.
Common Causes of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries caused by medical malpractice occur when healthcare providers fail to provide the expected standard of care during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. These injuries can have severe and lasting consequences for both the child and the parents. While not all birth injuries result from medical malpractice, many do.
Here are common causes of birth injuries that may be attributed to medical malpractice:
- Failure to Monitor Fetal Distress: One of the critical responsibilities of healthcare providers during labor and delivery is to monitor the baby's well-being. This includes continuously assessing the fetal heart rate, mother's vital signs, and other indicators. Failure to monitor fetal distress and respond appropriately can lead to oxygen deprivation, which can result in brain damage and conditions like cerebral palsy.
- Delay in Performing a Necessary C-Section: In some situations, a C-section (cesarean section) may be medically necessary to ensure the safety of the mother and baby. If healthcare providers fail to recognize the signs of complications that require a C-section, or if they delay in performing the procedure, it can lead to birth injuries. Conditions like fetal distress, placental abruption, or umbilical cord prolapse may necessitate a prompt C-section.
- Misuse of Delivery Instruments: When medical professionals use instruments like forceps or vacuum extractors during delivery, they must do so carefully and skillfully. Incorrect use of these instruments can cause physical trauma to the baby's head and neck, resulting in injuries such as skull fractures or facial nerve damage.
- Medication Errors: Administration of medications during labor and delivery is crucial. Errors in dosage, timing, or choice of medication can have serious consequences for both the mother and baby. Medication errors can lead to complications, including birth injuries.
- Failure to Diagnose and Treat Complications: Inadequate prenatal care and failure to diagnose and manage medical conditions during pregnancy can lead to complications during labor and delivery. Conditions like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or infections need to be promptly identified and managed to avoid birth injuries.
- Inadequate Communication: Effective communication among healthcare providers in the delivery room is essential. Mistakes can occur when there is a lack of coordination between the obstetrician, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other members of the healthcare team. Inadequate communication can lead to errors in patient care.
- Inadequate Response to Maternal Bleeding: Excessive maternal bleeding during childbirth can be a sign of serious complications. Healthcare providers must respond promptly and effectively to control bleeding and minimize the risk of birth injuries to the baby.
- Failure to Address Shoulder Dystocia: When a baby's shoulders become stuck behind the mother's pelvic bone (shoulder dystocia), medical professionals must use specific techniques to safely resolve the situation. Failure to do so can lead to injuries such as brachial plexus injuries.
- Inadequate Neonatal Care: The care provided to a newborn immediately after birth is crucial. Healthcare providers must assess the baby's condition, provide appropriate treatment if needed, and ensure that the baby receives prompt medical attention in the case of complications. Failure to do so can result in birth injuries.
- Infection Control: Inadequate infection control measures during childbirth can expose the baby to harmful bacteria and viruses, leading to infections and other health issues.
Ready to Help You & Your Child Immediately
At Davis Levin Livingston, we take pride in our dedication to helping birth injury victims and their families seek justice. Our team of attorneys has extensive experience in handling birth injury cases, and we are committed to fighting for the rights of our clients. We are well-versed in the complex medical and legal aspects of birth injury cases and have a network of medical experts who can provide critical testimony in court.