Medical Malpractice

Birth Injury

Birth injuries can occur in many settings, from the office of the obstetrician to clinics, emergency rooms, operating rooms and delivery wards. Birth injury and malpractice cases are launched when doctors or emergency practitioners fail to act quickly or cause a birth injury.

Attorneys at Levy Konigsberg LLP specializing in birth injury legal help, state that this can result in devastating injuries to both mother and child, such as:

  • Brain damage;
  • Cerebral palsy;
  • Erb’s palsy;
  • Brachial plexus injuries;
  • Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH);
  • Fractures;
  • Strokes;
  • Infections;
  • Meningitis;
  • Pre-eclampsia;
  • Eclampsia;
  • Death of the mother or child.

Cerebral palsy is a condition that can cause serious and permanent neurological symptoms such as seizures, mental retardation, paralysis, blindness, and speech delays. Cerebral palsy is often caused by fetal distress during labor and delivery. IVH can also cause cerebral palsy. Birth injury attorneys at LK are experienced in offering birth injury legal help and lawsuit support for families experiencing this condition.

Erb’s palsy is a paralysis of the muscles of the upper arm and shoulder when the bundle of nerves in the baby’s neck, called the brachial plexus, is damaged during delivery. This injury is usually seen in the situation where the baby’s shoulder becomes stuck under the mother’s pubic bone during delivery. This type of situation is classified as a birth injury, and attorneys and physicians call this shoulder dystocia, and it is essential that the proper maneuvers be performed to dislodge the shoulder and prevent injury to the brachial plexus nerves. Excessive force on the mother’s abdomen, and twisting or pulling of the baby’s head should never be performed, as these procedures greatly increase the likelihood of Erb’s palsy and further birth injuries. On occasion the obstetrician will intentionally fracture the collar bone (clavicle) during the delivery. If this maneuver is not performed properly, the fracture can occur in the wrong place, such as the upper arm, and thus cause problems as the arm starts to grow after the fracture heals. Erb’s palsy is often permanent and may require corrective surgery to increase range of motion, as well as long-term physical therapy. Oftentimes even after surgery and physical therapy, the child’s injured arm hangs limp and the hand turns inward toward the body.

Injuries to the expectant mother during prenatal care, labor and delivery can also occur if she is not given proper medical treatment. Excessive high blood pressure can cause a seizure (eclampsia) which can be fatal to the pregnant woman. Untreated high blood pressure in an expectant mother can also cause damage to the placenta and prevent the baby from getting enough oxygen or nutrients, resulting in birth injuries. Attorneys confirm with medical experts that this situation can result in brain damage or death to the baby as well as the mother. Mothers who have experienced this situation can file for birth injury and malpractice cases.

Excessive bleeding during labor and delivery can also put the mother’s life at risk. Death can occur as a result of hemorrhage or a condition known as DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulopathy), which occurs when the body’s clotting mechanism becomes unbalanced, often as a result of blood loss. These conditions must be immediately recognized and treated in order to save the mother’s life. A ruptured placenta or perforated uterus can also cause excessive bleeding and death if not treated quickly and appropriately.

Meningitis is an infection of the brain or spinal cord. Such birth injuries in the form of infections can occur in newborns who are not delivered soon enough after the mother’s water breaks, or who breathe in meconium (the first bowel movement of a newborn) during the delivery, which can happen if the baby is in distress. This is known as “meconium aspiration syndrome” and the bacteria in the meconium may enter the blood stream of the baby and cause a wide spread infection (sepsis) or meningitis. Birth injury attorneys at LK are specialized in taking on malpractice cases of this type. Prompt diagnosis and antibiotic treatment are essential for preventing long term injuries associated with meningitis.

Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) is a type of bleeding from fragile blood vessels in the brain. These blood vessels are especially fragile in premature infants. IVH can be seen in newborns if there was excessive trauma or pressure on the brain during the labor and delivery. The presence of blood in the baby’s brain can cause brain damage by pressing on brain tissue or depriving brain tissue of vital oxygen or normal blood flow. IVH is generally categorized by “grade”, with Grade I being the least severe and Grade IV being the most severe birth injury. However, even a Grade I IVH can cause brain damage and long term disabilities. A baby with IVH may have symptoms of seizures if the bleeding is severe, or develop hydrocephalus (increased fluid in the brain) because the blood reduces the size of the brain’s fluid pathways (the ventricles). Other symptoms include paleness, breathing problems, weak heart rate, and low blood pressure.

The long term effects of brain damage caused by IVH, cerebral palsy, and meningitis can require life-long medical care, including Early Intervention as a baby, physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy. Blindness or deafness can also be symptoms associated with these injuries at birth. Various devices may be necessary as the child grows, including wheelchairs and braces, as well as hearing aids and special toys. The long term results of an Erb’s palsy can include surgery, braces, reduced range of motion and permanent deformity of the arm and upper back.

If you know a child or mother who was injured during labor and delivery, birth injury attorneys at Levy Konigsberg LLP can help. Our team of medical malpractice lawyers has a proven track record for getting substantial monetary compensation to injured mothers and children for birth injury and malpractice cases for seizures, brain damage, Erb’s palsy, or meningitis who have been seriously injured by obstetrical negligence.

ATTENTION: If you believe that you or your loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, you should seek legal advice of experienced medical malpractice attorneys to determine if you have a case. For a free consultation with the medical malpractice lawyers at Levy Konigsberg LLP please call our 24/7 toll-free hotline at 1-800-988-8005 or submit an email inquiry (see form above).

For more information about the law firm's practice areas please contact Levy Konigsberg LLP at 1-212-605-6200 or 1-800-988-8005, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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