At Davis Levin Livingston, we are committed to helping families in Pearl City and throughout Hawaii seek justice when birth injuries occur. Our dedicated team of attorneys has a proven track record of representing clients in birth injury cases and obtaining the compensation they deserve. We understand the emotional and financial toll that birth injuries can take on a family, and we are here to provide you with compassionate, skilled legal representation.
Understanding Birth Injuries
A birth injury refers to any physical harm or trauma sustained by a newborn baby during the process of childbirth or immediately after delivery. These injuries can occur for various reasons and may lead to both short-term and long-term health issues for the child. Birth injuries can be a devastating experience for both the baby and the parents, and in cases where medical negligence is involved, legal action may be pursued to seek compensation and justice.
The following are the common types of birth injuries:
- Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral palsy is a group of neurological disorders that affect muscle coordination and movement. It can occur if the baby's brain is damaged or doesn't develop properly before, during, or shortly after birth. Cerebral palsy can result in motor skill impairments, speech difficulties, and cognitive challenges.
- Erb's Palsy: Erb's palsy is a condition that affects the nerves in the baby's shoulder and upper arm. It is often caused by excessive force during delivery, leading to stretching or tearing of the brachial plexus nerves. Erb's palsy can result in weakness or paralysis of the affected arm.
- Shoulder Dystocia: Shoulder dystocia happens 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 injuries such as nerve damage, fractures, or oxygen deprivation.
- Brain Injuries: Trauma during delivery or oxygen deprivation can cause brain injuries in newborns. These injuries can have long-term effects, leading to developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, or neurological disorders.
- Fractures: Bone fractures can occur during childbirth, especially if excessive force is used during delivery. Common fractures in newborns include clavicle fractures, which can happen when the baby's shoulders are impacted during birth.
- Intracranial Hemorrhage: This refers to bleeding inside the baby's brain, often caused by head trauma during delivery. Intracranial hemorrhages can range in severity and may lead to neurological complications.
- Facial Nerve Injury: Pressure or trauma during delivery can damage the facial nerve, leading to facial paralysis in newborns. This condition is typically temporary, and most babies recover without long-term issues.
- Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE): HIE occurs when the baby's brain is deprived of oxygen, usually due to complications during delivery, such as placental issues or umbilical cord problems. It can result in brain damage and long-term neurological deficits.
- Infections: Newborns are vulnerable to infections during the birthing process. Infections can occur if there is a delay in diagnosing or treating maternal infections or if proper hygiene measures are not followed during delivery. Infections can lead to various health complications in newborns.
- Bone Injuries: Besides fractures, newborns can also suffer from other bone injuries during birth, such as dislocated joints or injuries to the spine.
Who is Liable for a Birth Injury in Hawaii?
In Hawaii, as in many other states, various parties can potentially be held liable for a birth injury depending on the circumstances and the specific facts of the case.
Birth injury cases can be complex, and liability may involve one or more of the following parties:
- Healthcare Providers: Healthcare providers, including obstetricians, nurses, midwives, and attending physicians, are typically the first parties examined in birth injury cases. These professionals have a duty to provide a standard of care that meets accepted medical standards. If they fail to adhere to this standard, and their actions or omissions directly result in harm to the newborn or mother, they can be held liable for medical malpractice.
- Hospitals and Medical Facilities: Hospitals and medical facilities can also be held liable for birth injuries in certain circumstances. If the hospital fails to maintain safe conditions, adequately staff the labor and delivery unit, or properly train their staff, and these failures contribute to a birth injury, the hospital may be considered negligent and responsible for the injuries.
- Pharmaceutical Companies: In some cases, birth injuries may be linked to medication or medical devices used during pregnancy or childbirth. If a pharmaceutical company manufactures a medication that is proven to cause harm to the fetus when used as prescribed or if a medical device malfunctions during childbirth and causes injury, the manufacturer may be held liable.
- Other Healthcare Professionals: Besides obstetricians and nurses, other healthcare professionals who are involved in the care of a pregnant woman may also be liable for birth injuries. This includes anesthesiologists, radiologists, and specialists who consult on a high-risk pregnancy.
- Negligent Third Parties: In rare cases, third parties who are not directly involved in the healthcare process but contribute to the birth injury may also be held liable. For example, if a medical equipment manufacturer fails to provide proper maintenance instructions for a device used during childbirth, and that failure leads to injury, the manufacturer could be held accountable.
- Failure to Diagnose or Treat: Birth injuries can sometimes result from a failure to diagnose or treat medical conditions during pregnancy. If a healthcare provider fails to identify a maternal medical condition, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, and this failure causes harm to the baby, liability may extend to the responsible healthcare provider.
Why Choose Davis Levin Livingston?
Our team has been serving Honolulu families for years and has earned an excellent reputation for successfully handling complex birth injury cases. We are committed to obtaining maximum compensation for our clients and will relentlessly fight on behalf of affected children and their families.
Here are several reasons to let our firm fight for you:
- Experience: Our attorneys have decades of experience handling complex birth injury cases in Pearl City and throughout Hawaii. We have a deep understanding of the legal nuances involved and know how to build a strong case on your behalf.
- Compassion: We understand the emotional toll that birth injuries can have on families. Our team is here to provide you with the support and guidance you need during this difficult time.
- Results: We have a proven track record of securing significant settlements and verdicts for our clients in birth injury cases. Our goal is to ensure that you receive the compensation necessary to provide for your child's long-term care and well-being.
- Resources: Our firm has the resources and network of experts needed to thoroughly investigate your case and establish liability. We work with medical professionals, specialists, and other experts who can provide valuable testimony.
- Personalized Attention: Every case is unique, and we take the time to understand your specific situation and needs. We tailor our legal strategies to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.
Contact us today if your child has suffered from a preventable birth injury due to medical malpractice or negligence. Let us help you navigate through this challenging time with our expert legal advice and representation.