If your child suffered injury at birth, you have the right to know what went wrong and whether the injury could have been prevented. If the injury resulted from the negligence of a doctor, midwife, nurse or other medical professional, you also have the right to seek just compensation for the harm you have suffered.
The personal injury lawyers of Strickland, Agner & Associates are here to help you. We can seek the answers you deserve and aggressively pursue compensation for all of your family’s physical, emotional and financial damages.
To learn more, please contact us today by phone or through our online form. We work with families in Goldsboro and surrounding areas in North Carolina. We can provide a free and confidential consultation and get to work on your case right away.
What Is the Difference Between a Birth Defect and a Birth Injury?
As a parent, we realize that you may be unsure whether your child’s condition is the result of a birth defect or a birth injury. The distinction is important.
A birth defect is a condition that arises before a child comes into the world. It typically is a genetic condition. However, some birth defects result from exposure to certain medications while the child is in the womb. For instance, studies have found a link between a mother’s use of antidepressants (SSRIs) during pregnancy and heart, lung and other birth defects.
A birth injury, on the other hand, is a condition that results from something that occurs during labor and delivery. Many, but not all, birth injuries are caused by medical malpractice.
If your child suffers from a condition that you believe may be connected to an injury during birth, you should speak with a lawyer. Your attorney can begin an immediate investigation into the cause of the injury and determine whether medical negligence occurred in your case.
What Are Common Birth Injuries?
Child birth can be a complex process. Complications can easily arise. The failure of medical professionals to competently foresee or react to those complications is a type of negligence that can lead to an injury with lifetime consequences for the child and his or her family.
Birth injuries that may be traced to medical negligence include:
- Collar bone fractures – A common complication during birth is shoulder dystocia. This occurs when the child’s shoulders become lodged behind the mother’s pubic bone after the child’s head passes through the vagina. If the situation is improperly handled, it can cause the child to suffer a broken clavicle and, in some cases, serious nerve damage.
- Brachial plexus injuries – The brachial plexus is the bundle of nerves located at the neck and shoulder. These nerves may be damaged if shoulder dystocia occurs or if mistakes are made during a breech (feet first) delivery or during a cesarean section (C-section) delivery. Brachial plexus injuries may cause a child to develop Erb’s palsy or Klumpke’s palsy.
- Spinal cord injuries – The spinal cord is the collection of nerves that run from the base of the skull to the lower back. If a child’s spinal cord becomes compressed during delivery, it can cause paralysis or neurological issues.
- Perinatal asphyxia – If complications during birth cause a child’s blood flow to be disrupted or a loss of oxygen in the child’s blood stream, it can lead to permanent brain damage or harm to the child’s kidneys and lungs. Cerebral palsy, for instance, has been linked to perinatal asphyxia.
- Intracranial hemorrhage – A loss of blood or oxygen can cause a blood vessel to rupture within a child’s skull. A hemorrhage may cause a child to suffer seizures, and brain damage and raise the child’s risk of developing jaundice.
Why Do Birth Injuries Occur?
Unfortunately, many birth injuries result from the failure of medical professionals to follow the proper standard of care during a mother’s pregnancy and during the process of labor and delivery. Types of medical negligence that can lead to birth injuries include:
- Failure to properly monitor and respond to changes in the mother’s condition such as the development of gestational diabetes or preeclampsia
- Failure to induce labor or perform a C-section when the condition of the mother or fetus demands that such action be taken without delay
- Improperly using forceps or vacuum extractors, which causes the child to suffer physical trauma
- Delayed reaction to complications such as excessive bleeding, oxygen deprivation, shoulder dystocia or umbilical cord problems
- Improper use of labor-inducing medications or an epidural anesthesia
- Failure to communicate important information about the mother and child’s condition during shift changes (which can occur during a prolonged labor).
- Failure to monitor the child’s condition after birth and check for complications such as increased bilirubin levels (which can lead to jaundice).
If My Child Suffered a Birth Injury, How Can a Lawyer Help?
At Strickland, Agner & Associates, we are experienced personal injury lawyers. We know how to investigate potential medical negligence that may have led to your child suffering an injury. We can:
- Review medical records – These records can help us to determine the care and treatment that the doctors and others provided during pregnancy, labor and delivery and during the period after the child was born.
- Interview witnesses – We can obtain sworn oral or written statements from those who were involved in the birth process. Because medical care providers typically are not forthcoming with this information, subpoenas may need to be obtained.
- Consult with experts – We can consult with doctors, midwives, nurses and others to determine whether your child’s injury resulted from the failure of medical professionals to meet the proper standard of care. We can also meet with experts such as life-care planning specialists to determine your child’s future needs.
- Seek a full and fair settlement or verdict – We can aggressively seek a settlement with the individual medical professionals, clinic or hospital at fault in your case. We can seek a recovery of all past and future medical expenses, loss of wage-earning capacity and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. If necessary, we will be ready to proceed to trial on your behalf and presented a carefully prepared case to a jury.
Birth injury and birth defect cases can be highly complex. We believe it is important to work with a law firm that will pay close attention to details, identify and overcome issues that may arise during the course of litigation and, above all, remain passionate about protecting your rights at all times.
Get Help Today from Our Goldsboro Personal Injury Lawyers
A medical malpractice claim such as one arising from a birth injury must be brought within a specific time period under North Carolina law. This is called the statute of limitations. At Strickland, Agner & Associates we can closely review your case to determine whether a claim can be timely filed in your case.
Due to these time limits and the complexity that is involved in investigating and preparing a birth injury case, we suggest that you contact us without delay if you suspect that your child suffered a birth injury or birth defect.
We can provide a free consultation to review the facts of your case, answer your questions and discuss how our personal injury attorneys can assist you as we move forward in your case.
We serve clients throughout Goldsboro and surrounding areas. We can meet at our office or a location that is most convenient for you. Simply call or reach us online today to get started.
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