Delivery Room Errors and Birth Injury
Labor and delivery are complex processes, and medical staff must make fast and accurate decisions during birth. Medical staff can sometimes make mistakes that jeopardize the health of the mother and baby. Improper fetal monitoring, improper medication choices, improper use of forceps and vacuum extractors, and failure to provide a timely C-section can all cause preventable injury.
- Types of delivery room errors
- Proving delivery room errors
- Legal help for victims of delivery room errors and birth injury
Types of delivery room errors
While birth injuries can occur as a result of improper prenatal care, often they result from delivery room errors made by hospital staff, doctors, or other healthcare professionals. Medical staff must constantly monitor a mother and baby during labor and delivery and, if problems arise, make quick and accurate decisions to ensure their safety. Sadly, this doesn’t always occur.
Improper fetal monitoring, failure to take immediate action when problems arise, incorrect medication administration, improper use of delivery instruments (forceps and vacuum extractors), and failure to timely perform c-sections are some of the most common delivery room errors. The results of these errors, unfortunately, can be devastating and cause permanent injury to the newborn child. Some common birth injuries include (1):
Sometimes, birth injuries can lead to permanent disabilities. These may include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
- Seizure disorder/epilepsy
- Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL)
- Developmental delays and learning disabilities
Proving delivery room errors | Birth injury cases
Discovering and understanding the complex events that take place in the delivery room requires not only legal expertise but also solid medical knowledge. At Reiter & Walsh, we work with premiere neurologists, neuroradiologists, obstetricians, labor nurses, child development specialists, therapists, life care planners, forensics experts, and more to identify delivery mistakes and determine the exact cause of a child’s birth injury. We have solid legal skills in birth injury litigation and an impressive record of success to back it up.
MS. WALSH: You frequently won’t hear the term “delivery room error” from a hospital but what that means is it might mean that you have a nurse who is trying to cover three labor and delivery rooms and doesn’t have time to be in the room to watch your strips, to see how you’re doing. The monitor that they put on the mom records–lets you know how the baby is doing. If the nurse doesn’t have time to be in the room to watch, sometimes bad things happen when nobody is looking.
Frequently, nurses and doctors don’t communicate with each other. The nurse might see something in the room and relay it to a resident and somehow it never gets to the attending physician or it never gets to the doctor who is fully trained and nothing gets done. So we see many occasions where if people had acted faster and communicated with one another babies would be healthy.
Other examples of a delivery room, there might not be the appropriate equipment there. The appropriate doctor might not be there. The neonatologist or the pediatrician might not be called to the room when they should. There are some types of fetal monitors that have certain kinds of alarms on them and nurses aren’t trained properly and they think they’re monitoring the baby and they’re really monitoring the mom, the mom’s heartbeat instead of the baby’s.
It’s important if you think there might have been negligence by a doctor or a nurse that you contact an attorney right away for a couple of reasons. One, for adults, so if the mom is injured as part of the labor and delivery process, she only has two years to file a lawsuit and it takes some time to get records and get experts to evaluate the case so that you can file suit. For the baby, frequently it’s helpful to get the records earlier. People have a better memory shortly after an event than they do years later. So it’s important to go see an attorney quickly, so that you can start getting records and recording things while people still remember things.
Birth injury attorneys helping victims of delivery room errors and birth injury
At Reiter & Walsh, P.C., our dedicated birth injury lawyers represent victims of delivery errors every day. We are dedicated to helping clients obtain compensation for medical expenses and care to secure the future of their children.
Our birth injury attorneys represent clients across the country. and are also equipped to handle FTCA (Federal Tort Claims Act) cases involving military medical malpractice and federally funded clinics.
To begin your free case review with our birth injury attorneys and nurses, please contact Reiter & Walsh, P.C. at:
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Video: Delivery room errors
- Default – Stanford Children’s Health. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=birth-injury-90-P02340.
Related articles and blogs from Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers:
- “Labor and delivery errors and cover-ups: How to identify them and get help.”
- “Hospitals are banning cameras from the delivery room: Are they trying to hide mistakes?”
- “Medication errors on the rise.”
- “Medical errors involving residents.”
- “Preventable medical errors.”
- “Errors in fetal monitoring may result in birth injuries.”
- “Emergency C-sections: When 30 minutes is not fast enough.”
- “Lack of information, late C-section and delivery room error results in child with developmental delays; Reiter & Walsh negotiate a $2.05 million settlement.”
- “Placental abruption require quick action by medical staff.”
- “Large settlements offered to boys who suffered cerebral palsy as a result of medical staff failing to notice severe complications during labor.”
- “Delayed treatment of infant seizures can cause permanent brain damage.”
- “For two days, physicians fail to diagnose and treat premature rupture of membranes and twin boys are born with permanent disabilities, including cerebral palsy.”
- “Vacuum deliveries: Serious potential risks involved.”
- “Are the risks associated with forceps too great?”
- “Danger: Forceps and vacuum extractors can cause brain injury, says birth injury attorney.”
- “Common delivery drug oxytocin (Pitocin) dangerous, says Michigan birth injury.”
- “Safety concerns cited for oxytocin (Pitocin) use during labor and delivery.”