The oath that every doctor takes is to do no harm. Most put this into practice every day using their skills and experience to save lives, heal patients or bring new lives into the world. Sometimes, however, medical errors do occur. These mistakes can be devastating, especially when babies are involved and the errors occur during labor and delivery. Indeed, about 5 to 7 of every 1,000 births in the U.S. result in some sort of birth trauma and many of these cases are due to errors made by physicians, nurses or other healthcare providers. To make matters worse, sometimes medical professionals will not report their mistakes, or even falsify their records in order to cover up what really happened.
Potential Mistakes and Symptoms of Error
The first step that parents often take following their child’s diagnosis of permanent injury like cerebral palsy or cognitive impairments is to seek out answers from the medical community. Why did this happen? Was it preventable? Often, however, the medical community is less than helpful and parents are faced with inaccuracies, false information and medical deflection.
Here are some examples of the most common errors:
There are some signs to look for, however, that may indicate that the medical mistakes shown above occurred:
- Mother had an undiagnosed or untreated infection during pregnancy
- Baby’s heart rate dropped or decelerated throughout delivery
- Medical records have been changed, altered or are missing
- A C-section was performed only after many hours of attempted natural delivery
- The umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck
- Delivery tools like forceps or a vacuum extractor were used to quickly deliver the baby
- Low APGAR scores at birth
- Baby is taken to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
- Baby experiences lethargy, fussiness, seizures, or other problems shortly after birth
- Medical staff indicates that labor and delivery were not “normal” or that something should have been done differently
- Medical records show events that aren’t true or accurate
- Baby or child is diagnosed with a permanent injury such as cerebral palsy or intellectual impairments
Actions You Can Take if you Suspect Labor & Delivery Errors and Cover-ups
No one likes to admit a mistake. In the medical community, the stakes for errors are especially high. Doctors and hospitals do not want to experience repercussions from medical errors, because their reputations and credentialing may suffer. Further, medical professionals do not want to have to pay families for their mistakes and so many times, errors are “swept under the rug.” Crucial records are inaccurate or reflect more favorable events than what actually happened. Other records are changed afterwards and some are even ‘lost.’
So what can you do if you suspect your child’s injury is due to a labor and delivery error and it is being covered up? The answer is simple — get legal assistance as soon as possible. An experienced and qualified attorney can obtain critical medical records which you may not have been given. The attorney will review and understand the complex events that took place in the labor and delivery room, uncovering any inaccuracies in the records and identifying cover-ups. Most importantly, speaking to a lawyer will allow you to recover the compensation your child deserves.
Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers Can Help
At Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers, we work with premiere neurologists, neuroradiologists, obstetricians, labor nurses, child development specialists, therapists, life care planners and more to identify labor and delivery mistakes and negligence, and expose medical cover-ups. We have solid legal skills in birth injury litigation and an impressive record of success to back it up. Contact Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers today.