How To Prove A Doctor Committed Errors During Delivery

On behalf of Anne Gilday

It can be difficult to know when your obstetrics team did not act according to the standards of the medical profession, causing your child injury.

If your child suffered an injury during birth, you are experiencing an incredibly difficult, emotional, and stressful time. While trying to figure out how best to care for your newborn, your situation may be made worse by the uncertainty that often follows complications during childbirth.

It isn't always easy for a parent to find answers to what happened when a child suffers a birth injury. Doctors and hospitals that do make mistakes are often reluctant to disclose them. Doctors want to protect their reputation. Hospital administrators worry about the expense of helping parents provide care for an infant with special needs. Parents can therefore find it difficult to obtain honest, straightforward answers about the underlying causes of a child's birth defects.

It is true that some birth injuries and birth defects are unpreventable. Still, even for high-risk births, doctors have many tools at their disposal to help prevent or mitigate birth injuries. While it is not always easy to spot medical malpractice during delivery, these common birth injuries may be due to medical error:

  • Severe jaundice: Infant jaundice occurs when a baby's blood contains too much bilirubin, a yellow pigment. While common and usually not serious, if not treated adequately high bilirubin can cause brain damage.
  • Brachial palsy: Brachial palsy involves injury to the brachial plexus. It is most common when there is difficulty delivering the baby's shoulder, called shoulder dystocia. While it can resolve over time, if the nerve is torn it may result in permanent damage.
  • Cerebral palsy: Cerebral palsy is a serious condition involving an infant's brain development. Cerebral palsy can be caused by damage to white matter tissue in the brain, a lack of oxygen to the brain during delivery, a brain hemorrhage, or abnormal brain development. While some instances of cerebral palsy are unavoidable, if a doctor fails to observe warning signs about a lack of oxygen, it can result in cerebral palsy.
  • Forceps or vacuum extraction errors: Improperly using forceps and vacuums can result in bruising, fractures, and nerve damage, including permanent facial paralysis.

Proving Medical Negligence

In determining whether a doctor or hospital caused a birth defect, a jury will consider whether the doctor acted in a manner that fell below the accepted standard of care for the medical profession. An obstetrician is considered a specialist, and so is held to the same standard of care other obstetricians would exercise during a similar situation. If most doctors would have prevented the injury from occurring, you may have a claim of medical negligence.

In a medical malpractice claim, you will be able to show a jury through expert witnesses what the proper standard of care was during the incident that occurred. Through discovery, the portion of your case in which each side prepares for trial, you will be able to request information from doctors, hospital administrators, and others responsible for your care about what occurred to cause your child harm.

Contact An Attorney

At The Lawrence Firm, PSC, our team has significant experience helping parents obtain monetary help with raising a child with special needs after suffering from a birth injury. We will work hard to find answers to your questions and help you to understand what occurred. Contact our office for a consultation to discuss your situation and for help finding answers.

Keywords: Birth injuries, medical malpractice, doctor error, cerebral palsy, brachial palsy, severe jaundice.