An Overview of Medical Malpractice Birth Injury Claims

The term “Medical Malpractice” generally describes all types of healthcare-related malpractice, from diagnostic and prescription errors, to surgical mistakes that result in injury or death. When medical malpractice happens, an injured patient may be able to bring a legal claim seeking compensation for their damages. Among the various types of medical malpractice claims handled by NJ medical malpractice lawyers are Birth Injury claims.

Understanding Birth Injury Medical Malpractice

birth defects in medical malpracticeA birth injury is an injury sustained by a mother and/or child during the birthing process. When your physician, nurse or other healthcare professional provides medical care to you and your child, they owe you both a duty of care. When these professionals deviate from the appropriate standard of care during treatment and cause injury, they may be held responsible for the damages they inflict. This is the basis for a medical malpractice claim.

In a successful birth injury claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the acts or omissions of a healthcare professional caused the birth injuries. In many cases, the defendants will claim that the injury to the child was a birth defect, rather than a birth injury, meaning the damage to the child was inevitable, rather than the result of something a medical professional did or didn’t do.

Other times, defendants in these cases may claim that their treatment fell within the standard of reasonable medical care for their profession. Thus, defendants may take the position that, under the circumstances presented, they acted appropriately and according to applicable protocols and procedures.

The burden of proof in these cases is always on the plaintiff. Thus, the plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendants deviated from the applicable standard of care and, in doing so, caused all of the damages alleged.

Types of Birth Injuries

There are a number of different types of birth injuries, both physical and non-physical, that can result from medical negligence, including:

  • Brain damage
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Hypoxia
  • Cranial hemorrhaging
  • Kernicterus
  • Seizures
  • Deformity/disfigurement
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Wrongful birth
  • Brachial Plexus Injury
  • Paralysis
  • Uterine rupture
  • Death

Common Causes

These injuries may be the result of a single error or a combination of missteps. Some examples include:

  • Neonatal intensive care errors
  • Improper use of forceps or vacuum devices
  • Fetal heart rate abnormalities
  • Fetal monitoring errors
  • Failure to perform a caesarian
  • Delayed birth
  • Oxygen deprivation
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Epidural issues
  • Premature cord clamping
  • Defective equipment
  • Undiagnosed/untreated preeclampsia
  • Poorly trained staff
  • Unsupervised delivery

Responsible Parties

The parties responsible for a birth injury may be liable for the damages that they cause. This may include one or more medical professionals and entities:

  • Obstetrician
  • Anesthesiologist
  • Midwife
  • Nurse
  • Hospital
  • Birthing clinic

Birth Injury Lawsuits

Birth injury medical malpractice claims seek to compensate the injured child and/or the mother for the damages caused by negligent medical professionals. These lawsuits pursue monetary compensation for the various damages that accompany a serious birth injury, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Costs of future care and treatment
  • Pain
  • Suffering
  • Disability
  • Impairment
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Death

Though they are complex cases, birth injury claims are often the only way that victims of medical malpractice can effectively move forward after catastrophic events. Compensation recovered in these cases can pay for essential services and life care plans that provide specialized care and treatment for a disabled child. The cost of these services can be staggering, and compensation from a lawsuit can help to ease the financial burden.

Birth injury lawsuits also serve as a deterrent for future negligence, helping to protect other families. In some cases, successful medical malpractice lawsuits drive new legislation that can have beneficial impact on the medical field.

If your family is dealing with the heartache of a birth injury, it may help to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to learn your rights and options.