& MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
Birth Injuries/Birth Complications
Our firm specializes in representing families who have been affected by children who have suffered birth injuries arising from medical malpractice.
Such injuries may include: cerebral palsy, brain injuries, Erb’s palsy, brachial plexus trauma, consequences of premature birth, retinopathy of prematurity, anoxia and hypoxia, patent ductus arteriosis, and gastroschisis.
Cerebral Palsy – Cerebral palsy can develop if the infant has been deprived of oxygen for too long, dropped, pulled out forcefully, had an instrument-related injury – which may be a forceps injury or a vacuum extraction injury — or was delivered after a labor that lasted longer than 18 hours. These birth-related malpractice injuries can cause brain damage, which can develops into cerebral palsy.
Brain Injuries – These are injuries to the brain or spinal cord of an infant caused by either (1) the deprivation of oxygen or mechanical injury in the course of labor, delivery, or resuscitation, or by (2) other medical services provided or not provided during the delivery admission that rendered the infant with a permanent and substantial motor impairment or with a developmental disability.
Erb’s Palsy – This is an injury that occurs when the nerves in a baby’s upper arm are damaged. Erb’s palsy is typically caused by shoulder dystocia – or where the shoulder has difficulty following behind the infant’s head during delivery — during a difficult birth. Infants with this condition typically have difficulty moving the shoulder or upper arm, but may be able to wiggle their fingers.
Brachial Plexus Trauma – The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that begin in the area of the neck and branch off to form the other nerves that control movement and sensation in the upper limbs. Brachial plexus injury is a general term for conditions that impair function of those nerves. If this injury appears in an infant, it is most likely due to traumatic birth.
Consequences of Premature Birth – Preterm babies are at risk of significant medical issues such as cerebral palsy, cognitive delays, vision impairment, hearing impairment, and poor development. The earlier that the delivery occurs from the 40-week term, the more likely these consequences are to occur.
Retinopathy of Prematurity – Premature babies are also at risk for developing abnormal blood vessels in the retina. The retina is the layer of nerve tissue that allows us to see. When the blood vessels are abnormal, the retina can detach from the back of the eye, which may lead to blindness. ROP is another consequence of premature birth.
Anoxia and Hypoxia – Anoxia is the absence of oxygen, while hypoxia is a deprivation of the proper amount of oxygen. The most severe form of these conditions is cerebral anoxia, which is when the brain is totally deprived of oxygen. This often results in permanent brain damage. The conditions can occur during delivery if the umbilical cord is compromised or prolapsed. The cord can become cut off or kinked.
Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA) – PDA is an opening between two major blood vessels from the heart. After the birth, the ductus arteriosus is supposed to close. If it doesn’t, it can be harmless or it can cause poor oxygenation and compromise the heart. This condition can often be treated with medication, but in the most severe cases it can require surgery.
Gastroschisis – This is a birth defect of the abdominal wall. The infant’s abdominal organs can present outside of the body, and it will require surgery to fix. This condition can be screened for during the pregnancy, and the physicians should take proper precautions if an infant is known to have gastroschisis. If the condition is not properly treated, complications may occur, including cardiopulmonary arrest, brain damage, and even death.
Many cases stem from negligent fetal heart rate monitoring, improper administration of medications and anesthesiology, delayed or unperformed C-sections, problems with umbilical cord, failure to properly deliver the infant in light of an abnormal presentation, problematic vaginal birth following C-section (VBAC), and other malpractice by an OB-GYN.
Additionally, mothers who present with gestational diabetes or macrosomic pregnancies – those of infants that are above a certain weight – must be provided special care to avoid complications.
Birth injuries as a result of medical negligence during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or immediately after birth can also result in quadriplegia, paraplegia, hemiplegia, seizure disorders, cognitive delays, or learning disabilities.
Neurologically impaired infants who have been victims of medical malpractice have access to the New York State Medical Indemnity Fund, which is money set aside by the state of New York for the future cost of care.
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