Birth Injuries and Medical Malpractice

Although rare, birth injuries that occur from medical malpractice are among the most devastating and sensitive cases we handle. These claims involve complex legal and medical issues, with laws and statutes vastly differing between states. In the most severe cases, malpractice can occur by failing to prevent a medical issue that causes the death of the infant. Our team of birth injury lawyers details one such case below.

Here, we relate a story published in Yahoo Parenting. At 38 weeks, Kelly Ferraro Bloch was perfectly healthy as was her unborn daughter. Less than one month before her due date, however, she was told her daughter was stillborn, that an undetected umbilical cord abnormality had cut off her nutrient supply. The abnormality, marginal insertion of the cord, was present from the beginning of her pregnancy and could have been properly managed if it had been detected.

Unfortunately, the abnormality could have been detected on an ultrasound as early as 18 weeks. After her 16 week ultrasound she was never sent back and was never told that her radiologist recommended that she return again at 22 weeks. Instead of bringing a new child into the world to nurture and watch grow, she was forced to give birth to her daughter knowing she had been dead for nearly two days.

In the time since her death, Kelly and her husband have raised thousands to fund umbilical cord research and awareness outreach. She writes that one of the most difficult aspects of her daughter’s death is knowing it was avoidable with umbilical cord screening, fetal kick counting, and heart rate monitoring.

These precautions are not considered the standard of care, however. During pregnancy and childbirth women often have to be their own advocates. Some of the most common forms of medical malpractice causing birth injuries relate to lack of monitoring.

Malpractice Lawsuits for Infants, Mothers

If an infant is injured during or before childbirth by medical negligence, the parents may bring a lawsuit on their behalf. Among the cases we handle, the most common injuries we see include:

  • Lack of oxygen resulting in brain damage
  • Brachial plexus injuries
  • Cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, or Klumpke palsy
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Fetal death or acidosis

Although each case is unique, most birth injuries to infants involve one of two forms of negligence: either the doctor did not properly assess or respond to the situation, or the injuries developed prior to birth, such as from prescription drug use.

In the first scenario, a doctor may improperly use medical devices like vacuums or forceps or fail to recognize disorders like preeclampsia. These types of oversights could lead to a malpractice claim against the doctor, the birthing team, or the hospital.

It is estimated that for every 1,000 infants born in the United States, five will be injured at birth. Not all birth injuries will result in a successful case, however. Some injuries, though devastating, are unavoidable and could not have been foreseen or prevented. To prove malpractice occurred, it must be shown that the medical staff’s conduct fell below the standard level of care and caused the injury.

The medical malpractice and birth injury lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have been fighting on behalf of injured mothers and infants for 30 years. We offer free case reviews and have a wide network of legal and medical professionals, so we can come to you wherever you are. We accept cases of serious injury nationwide.

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