Hospital negligence is an epidemic. Preventable harm in the hospital is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., right behind heart disease and cancer (1). Babies are especially vulnerable to medical malpractice that occurs during or near the time of birth, resulting in birth injuries. Some of the most common conditions resulting from birth injuries include hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy, and seizure disorders (see a more extensive list here). When a baby sustains a preventable birth injury, medical malpractice attorneys can help their family get justice and secure financial compensation to cover medical treatments, care, mobility equipment, and other costs they will have throughout their lives.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to follow the standard of care when treating a patient, resulting in harm. Standard of care is defined as what a reasonably good health care provider would or would not do under similar circumstances. When health care providers deviate from standards of care, it is negligence. When negligence causes a patient to be injured, it constitutes medical malpractice. Babies who are victims of medical malpractice often have birth injuries such as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy, and developmental delays.
How do medical malpractice lawyers determine if negligence occurred?
Malpractice attorneys can help determine whether an injury or medical condition emerged as the result of negligence. They assess the nature and extent of a client’s injury, thoroughly review their medical records, and take depositions of the physicians and other medical professionals suspected of causing harm. Attorneys call on medical experts to help them review the records and assess whether care providers behaved negligently. Sometimes, forensics experts are consulted to help determine if medical personnel tried to cover up evidence of negligence in the records. At ABC Law Centers, we also have two in-house nurses who work with our attorneys and legal staff. They provide valuable insight into the case evaluation process.
Medical malpractice and birth injuries
The term “birth injury” can refer to negligent prenatal care, labor and delivery management, or treatment of a newborn. One of the most common causes of birth injury is the failure to monitor and quickly respond to signs of fetal distress. These are signs that a baby is being deprived of oxygen and is likely in need of an emergency C-section. Impending fetal distress (i.e. signs that a baby may soon be in danger) should also be recognized as promptly as possible. Examples of situations that indicate impending fetal distress include shoulder dystocia (when a baby’s shoulder gets stuck on the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery), prolonged labor, and umbilical cord prolapse. All of these issues can quickly lead to severe oxygen deprivation if doctors do not intervene appropriately. A prompt C-section delivery when a baby is in distress is very important because the severity of brain damage increases with the length of time a baby is deprived of oxygen. Often, quickly getting the baby out of the womb is the only way to prevent permanent harm. Sometimes, physicians try to force a vaginal delivery, commonly using risky drugs (Pitocin and Cytotec) and instruments (forceps and vacuum extractors). This often just prolongs labor and delivery when what the baby really needs is an emergency C-section.
ABC Law Centers | Michigan-based birth injury attorneys serving clients nationwide
Birth injury is a difficult area of law to pursue, partly due to the complex nature of the medical records. The award-winning birth injury attorneys at ABC Law Centers (Reiter & Walsh, P.C.) have decades of joint experience with birth injury, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), and cerebral palsy cases. To find out if you have a case, contact our firm to speak with one of our lawyers. We have numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements that attest to our success, and no fees are ever paid to our firm until we win your case. We give personal attention to each child and family we help and are available 24/7 to speak with you.
More about our firm
- About ABC Law Centers
- Meet our birth injury attorneys
- Meet our in-house medico-legal consultants
- Client testimonials
- Our awards
- Verdicts and settlements
More about pursuing a birth injury case
- How do I choose the right birth injury lawyer for my case?
- The client intake process
- The legal process
- Misperceptions about birth injuries and medical malpractice lawsuits
Working with ABC Law Centers: Keziah’s Story
Watch Keziah’s family’s full testimonial here.
- (n.d.). Study Suggests Medical Errors Now Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S. – 05/03/2016. Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/study_suggests_medical_errors_now_third_leading_cause_of_death_in_the_us