Thomas S. Armenta
1163 Browning Lane
Madison, WI 53716
Giving birth is an entirely natural process and the role of medical practitioners is to identify any problems that could arise during the birth. However, there are times when medical professionals fail to carry out their role and commit obstetrical malpractice. These situations can lead to birth injury and defect lawsuits which you might want to file a lawsuit regarding.
Why Do Birth Injuries Occur?
Medical professionals such as pediatricians, nurses and midwives should be able to tell when a baby is at risk of injury. There are some tests and procedures that mother and baby go through during the pregnancy which should detect problems. If the problems are not picked up by these tests or not treated by the medical professionals, they can cause birth injuries. You should seek the help of a New York law firm for better compensation.
Birth injuries can also be caused when the medical professionals fail to use the correct tools available to them. This can also cover when they fail to use these tools at all. The missing or ignoring of warning signs will lead to birth injuries. There are some common reasons why birth injury lawsuits are taken out against medical professionals, and you need to know what these are.
The Common Reasons For Birth Injury Lawsuits
One of the most common reasons for lawsuits against medical professionals is their failure to detect a baby’s unusual position. This will include the abnormal location of the umbilical cord and the placenta. These positions are determined through the use of an ultrasound machine.
Another common reason is the failure to identify high blood pressure, gestational diabetes or other issues that the mother develops. These issues will all have a negative impact on the health of the baby. Any compromise to the health of the baby due to medical negligence will be classed as a birth injury.
Failure to perform an appropriate cesarean section is another common reason for lawsuits. The use of forceps and vacuums during the birth are also a reason for birth injury lawsuits. The failure to administer safe levels of medication such as Pitocin can also be grounds for a claim. The last common reason for lawsuits is the failure to detect and address infections which arise after the birth.
The risk of birth injury increases when a nurse or midwife oversee the delivery. If there is a problem, a doctor should be called to diagnose and treat the problem. If this is not done or the call is delayed for too long, birth injuries and permanent harm may be caused.
Injuries Caused By Obstetrical Malpractice
Some birth injuries are linked to obstetrical malpractice. The most easily identified is stillbirth or neonatal death. Neonatal death is classed as death within the first 28 days of life. Neonatal encephalopathy is another injury related to obstetrical malpractice. This is a condition which results in the disruption of neurological function in the early days of life.
Cerebral palsy is another injury that could be caused by malpractice. Research has shown that up to 10% of all cases of cerebral palsy can be attributed to birth injuries which could have been avoided. Shoulder dystocia is another injury to be aware of and happens when the baby’s shoulder is stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone. This will cause a brachial plexus injury which could result in Klumpke’s palsy or Erb’s palsy.
Pursuing A Birth Injury Lawsuit
When pursuing a birth injury lawsuit, you will need to prove negligence or breach of duty by the medical professionals overseeing the delivery. In many cases, the injury may not be recognized until the baby is older and is failing to meet standard infant milestones. The primary problems with birth injury cases have to do with the proof of negligence by the medical professional.
You will need to prove that the obstetrical care providers acted outside of accepted medical practices. If they did act within accepted medical practices, it would be harder to prove that they were negligent. You will also have to show that you or your child has suffered harm due to a violation of the duty of care. When filing a lawsuit, you also need to prove reasonable and measurable physical, mental and financial harm was caused as a direct result of the obstetrical malpractice.
A claim may claim that more than one medical professional is liable for the breach of duty. Doctors, midwives, nurses, and hospitals all bear the legal responsibility for birth injuries. However, the claimant will need to show that the defendants breached the duty of care and caused the birth injuries.
In New York, it is possible to have a case that involves two separate lawsuits. The one lawsuit will be brought on behalf of the child and the other on behalf of the parents. In these cases, the claim by the parents could be for damages relating to the treatment of the child’s birth injuries while the child’s claim will be for damages for future medical expenses.
In the case of stillbirths and miscarriages, the law becomes more complicated. In New York, a baby who is born and later dies due to the birth injuries will be subject to a wrongful death claim. No lawsuit may be filed for the death of a fetus that dies in utero due to obstetrical malpractice.
The Statute Of Limitations
The statute of limitations for birth injury lawsuits is 2.5 years from the date of the malpractice. This means that you cannot file a lawsuit if more than 2.5 years have passed since the malpractice occurred. New York does have exceptions to this stature in the case where the mother and child continued to be treated by the negligent medical professional. If the baby or mother died as a result of the malpractice, their close relatives have two years from the date of death to bring a wrongful death claim.
Birth injury lawsuits in New York are subject to a 2.5-year statute of limitations. The claimant will also need to prove that the medical professionals breached their duty of care and acted outside accepted medical practices.