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Albuquerque Birth Injury Lawyer
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If you or your child suffered harm during the labor or delivery process, you may have a claim for medical negligence against the team tasked with “caring” for you. Hospitals, nurses, and obstetricians are held to a certain standard of care, and when they fail to meet this standard, serious injuries—even death—can result.
Types of Birth Injuries
With modern medical technology, most neonatal birth injuries are entirely preventable. When a child shows signs of broken bones, nerve damage, and/or permanent brain injury, there is reason to believe medical malpractice was involved.
Some of the most common birth injuries include:
- Brachial plexus injuries (Erb's Palsy and Klumpke's Palsy)
- Horner Syndrome (drooping eyelid on side affected with brachial plexus injury)
- Broken bones
- Spinal injuries
- Brain injuries
- Cerebral palsy (CP)
- Facial paralysis
What Can Go Wrong During Labor and Delivery?
A number of things can go wrong during labor and delivery, the most common of which include:
- Miscalculating the size of the baby (large infants)
- Unnecessary delays in a C-Section delivery
- Use of excessive force during delivery
- Choosing the inappropriate delivery method
- Failure to promptly treat lack of oxygen, infection or bleeding
- Giving the wrong dose or type of oxytocin or misoprostol
- Using a vacuum extraction when a C-Section or forceps is necessary
Birth Injuries Caused by Lack of Oxygen
Perhaps the most serious cause of birth injury is lack of oxygen to the brain. There are three main causes of brain injury during or immediately following delivery:
- Reduced oxygen
- Reduced glucose
During a problematic delivery, two or more of these causes can occur and, oftentimes, if one occurs, it will trigger a secondary event that contributes to the brain injury.
During labor and delivery, anything that impedes the delivery of oxygen can cause injury to the brain. This includes problems with the mother's ability to supply oxygen to the placenta, as well as any problem with the proper functioning of the placenta, or even damage or compression to the umbilical cord during labor and delivery.
Excessive Pitocin can also be problematic, causing contractions to come less than two minutes apart and making it impossible for the body to replenish the oxygen supply. If Pitocin is causing the contractions to come on too strong and too frequently, someone on the healthcare team should shut off the Pitocin before putting the mother and child at risk of brain damage or death.
Birth Injury Risk Factors
There are around 28,000 birth injuries every year in the U.S. Many of these are preventable. That’s because certain factors dramatically increase the risk of a birth injury when left untreated.
- Large Babies: Some babies are naturally large, and others become large due to delayed birth. Delayed babies continue to grow, making it difficult for them to fit through the birth canal. This can cause a baby to become stuck and require forceps or other invasive procedures to remove them.
- Maternal Weight: Weight gain is a natural part of pregnancy. However, excessive maternal weight puts babies at a significant risk of brain and spinal injuries. Expecting mothers presenting this condition should by closely monitored by their doctors to determine the best plan of action.
- Blood Pressure: A mother’s blood pressure determines her baby’s supply of blood and oxygen. If the blood pressure is too high or too low, the baby is at risk of asphyxiation. For that reason, doctors should regularly monitor blood pressure throughout pregnancy. Likewise, they have a duty to control blood pressure throughout delivery and in the days after.
- Gestational Diabetes: Some mothers develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. This is a (usually) temporary condition that dissipates in the days after delivery. However, any diabetic status can have a serious impact on a child’s development. This is a condition that should be closely monitored and treated by healthcare professionals.
Why You Should Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer
While most people don’t want to think about a potential legal battle following an injury to their baby, it’s sometimes necessary to help cover the expenses associated with the harm. The presence of a birth injury can mean long-term medical needs due to physical and mental developmental delays, pain, and more resulting from the injury.
This means that, while not always a primary concern, legal action can be extremely helpful to the family affected. Taking legal action can help the family manage some of the financial hardships that come with the birth injury, including special equipment, medical expenses, and long-term care.
It also means the family can hold the negligent party accountable and seek the justice they deserve.
If you or your child are currently suffering from undue injuries sustained at the hands of a negligent medical professional, we can help. Call our Albuquerque medical malpractice lawyer, James H. Wood, for expert legal advice from a Double Board Certified Civil Law Trial Attorney: (505) 906-6774.
Multiple Verdicts and Settlements Obtained of $1 Million or More
Tried More Than 50 Cases to a Jury & Settled More Than 150 Cases
Board Certified Trial Lawyer by the National Board of Trial Advocacy
Rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell®