Evaluating the Impacts of Medical Malpractice on Birth Injuries

Birth injuries are physical impacts to a baby during labor and child birth. They can include minor injuries like bruising to more serious damage such as nerve and brain injuries. These can leave babies with disabilities, such as Erb’s Palsyand Cerebral Palsy, as well as mental disabilities.

In the US, there are roughly 500 birth injuries every week, or about 30,000 yearly, but still a small number of total births. Injuries are more common with male babies than female. About 80% include nerve and brain damage and broken bones, and 20% are fatal.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a patient suffers an injury caused by a physician, hospital, or other provider through an act of omission or negligence. Negligence can include mistakes in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare, or health management, or other actions, such as:

- Failure or delay in diagnosis

- Failing to recognize symptoms or order correct diagnostic testing

- Incorrect reading or ignoring lab results

- Ignoring a patient’s medical history

- Errors in surgery

- Incorrect medication or correct dosaging

- Other errors that led to harm

A claim for medical malpractice must show that the provider had a duty to carefor the patient and breached that duty, leading to injury or death. A plaintiff must demonstrate that their medically related injury led to disability, lost income, pain, and suffering, and significant current and future required medical expenses.

Why Birth Injuries Can Be Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice also occurs when physicians and other medical professionals fail to keep an expectant mother and her baby safe during pregnancy. Birth-related medical malpractice can lead to birth injuries with significant consequences for the mother, the baby, or both.

When doctors, nurses, or other providers fail to follow accepted medical care standards for pregnant women, injury or death can result. Birth-related malpractice can include:

- Failing to treat maternal infections or other conditions

- Failing to detect fetal distress during childbirth

- Incorrect use of tools such as forceps or vacuum extraction leading toinjury or complications

- Cerebral Palsy/Erb’s Palsy

- Skull fractures and other bone breaks

- Spinal cord injuries

- Oxygen deprivation that leads to brain damage and developmental delays

- Newborn jaundice

- Intra-uterine fetal demise (stillbirth or miscarriage) due to inadequateprenatal care

- Excessive maternal blood loss

While birth injuries are unavoidable and heartbreaking, not all fall under theumbrella of medical malpractice.

Wrongful Pregnancy and Wrongful Birth

Wrongful pregnancy occurs when parents have undergone sterilization or have attempted to terminate a pregnancy and still get or remain pregnant because of a physician’s negligence. Parents can file a claim for damages from the harm caused by the wrongful pregnancy.

A wrongful birth is one in which a physician failed to notify the parents of impending mental or physical birth defects that would occur in the baby. This can also be based on genetic testing that failed to detect the condition. If the physician had notified the parents of this condition, they may have chosen to avoid or terminate the pregnancy. Parents can file a claim for damages for the costs of the child’s medical care, and possibly for emotional pain and suffering.

KC’s Birth Injury Law Firm

Birthinjury cases are complex. Because they fall under Missouri’s medical malpractice laws, you will need a medical malpractice lawyer who understands birth injury cases.  

Contact Kansas City’s most trusted birth injury, medical malpractice, and personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation. Remember, we don’t ask for lawyer fees unless we win your case. Call us now at (816) 221-2288 or visit our downtown office.

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