Charlotte Birth Injury Lawyers
Holding negligent North Carolina OB/GYNs and medical personnel responsible for their actions
The birth of a child should be one of the most joyous times in an expectant parent’s life. For the majority of women, labor and delivery proceeds normally and both mother and child are healthy and happy. However, in some cases there are complications or, worse, negligence on the part of hospital or medical staff.
Sometimes complications or birth injuries are unavoidable, even when your doctors do everything right. However, sometimes they’re caused by medical negligence or malpractice. Maybe a doctor or nurse ignored a red flag during labor, or maybe delayed a caesarean section, causing injury to your child. This means that your medical professional failed to perform his or her job to the standard of care, and your baby suffered.
The birth injury attorneys at Warren & Kallianos, PLLC can help. We have years of experience working with families in Charlotte and throughout North Carolina who have been harmed by negligent and careless doctors. Contact us today.
Common Birth Injuries and Negligence
Birth injuries can range from mild to severe. For example, a small bone fracture could heal in a few weeks or months. However, more severe injuries and conditions like cerebral palsy can be debilitating and last a lifetime. Other birth injuries that result in brain or nerve damage can also cause long-term health issues.
When our personal injury team investigates your birth injury claim, often the birth injury itself can point to what may have caused it during the pregnancy, labor, or delivery process. For example, an injury to the brachial plexus – a typical birth injury – may be a sign that the doctor pulled too hard on the baby’s arm during delivery in an attempt to get them past the mother’s pelvic bone.
Common birth injuries include:
- Brachial plexus injuries. If the baby is stuck inside the birth canal, a doctor may need to use force to extract him or her. Pulling or stretching on the baby’s arm with too much or excessive force can cause an injury to the brachial plexus, a bundle of nerves in the shoulder that controls movement in the arm, wrist, hand, and fingers. Usually, these injuries heal on their own over time, but more serious injuries can leave lasting nerve damage.
- Erb’s palsy. Erb’s palsy is a type of brachial plexus injury, but it specifically affects the upper arm. It can cause weakness or sometimes paralysis in the shoulder or upper arm area, but the child usually can move their hands or fingers.
- Cerebral palsy. This is a severe muscle disorder affecting motor function and causing varying levels of disability. Cerebral palsy can be caused birth trauma. In cases of negligence, the baby may lose oxygen to the brain due to a delayed c-section or failure to monitor vital signs during labor and delivery.
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE results from a lack of oxygen to a baby’s brain, causing brain damage or, in extreme cases, death. This is an extremely serious condition and can lead to birth injuries like cerebral palsy or hypoxia. HIE can occur during all stages of pregnancy.
- Forceps and vacuum injuries. Sometimes when labor becomes difficult, a doctor may need assistance freeing the baby from the birth canal. Birthing tools like forceps and vacuum extractors are designed for this, but if used incorrectly or with too much force, they can cause bruising or skull fractures to the baby.
- Perinatal hypoxia. This is a lack of oxygen that can occur both before or after delivery. Perinatal hypoxia can cause a baby to stop breathing after delivery, which leads to oxygen deprivation in the brain, which can lead to brain damage. It can happen from the umbilical cord wrapping around the neck, or a failure to monitor vital signs and provide the proper treatment.
Other birth injuries include:
- Spinal cord trauma
- Klumpke’s palsy
- Shoulder dystocia
- Spinal bifida
- Wrongful death
Obstetricians, doctors, and nurses have a responsibility to you and your baby – to monitor your health throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery for any potential complications. Most birth injuries are preventable with the proper pre-natal, peri-natal, and post-natal care and attention. If your doctor and medical staff are negligent or unprepared for emergencies, they are putting your child’s health in danger.
What Leads to Birth Injuries?
The process of labor and delivery is perfectly natural and happens every day. However, complications can – and do – happen. One thing should remain constant, and that is your doctor and hospital should provide you with reasonable care in accordance with the accepted standard of care. Your health and the health of your child should be prioritized above everything else.
If your medical team provides you with anything other than that and your baby is injured, they may be considered negligent. Common causes of birth injuries include:
- Doctor error. Physician mistakes can occur during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. If medical staff fails to treat a mother’s health condition, monitor fetal vital signs, order an emergency cesarean section, or properly plan for complications, birth injury can result.
- Errors in delivery. If the doctor is careless during delivery, the baby can suffer injury. For example, pulling on the arm with too much force to free the baby from behind the mother’s pelvic bone can cause a brachial plexus injury. Or a failure to monitor signs of fetal distress may result in oxygen deprivation, which can lead to brain damage.
- Improper forceps and vacuum use. When a doctor is having trouble extracting the baby from the birth canal, he or she may use forceps or vacuum extractors to help the process along. When used correctly and gently, these tools are perfectly safe. However, if used improperly or with too much force, they can cause trauma to the baby’s skull and shoulders.
- Undiagnosed problems. Some babies develop congenital defects. These are no one’s fault, but you should be aware of the potential problems your child may face, so you can prepare. A doctor or medical professional who fails to diagnose a birth defect could be held liable for any complications which arise along the way.
Birth injuries can leave victims disabled or in pain for the rest of their lives. These injuries are particularly tragic, as babies are unaware of why or how they were injured. It’s crucial that negligent doctors, nurses, and medical staff are held accountable for their actions when your child suffers a preventable injury.
Contact a Charlotte Birth Injury Lawyer for Experienced Representation Today
If your child was injured because a doctor was negligent during your pregnancy, labor, or delivery, talk to the birth injury attorneys at Warren & Kallianos. We will investigate your claim, and work with you and your family to receive the compensation to which your child is entitled. We will hold the responsible parties accountable. To schedule a free initial consultation at our office in Charlotte, please call 704-377-7777 or fill out our contact form.