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Seattle Labor and Delivery Error Attorneys

Legal Representation in Birth Injury Claims

Birth is a difficult process, but parents should be able to trust that doctors, nurse, and other hospital staff will follow proper procedures and act quickly to deliver an infant. When medical staff act negligently, these procedures can be broken, leading to serious injuries to mothers and infants. Many of these injuries can cause permanent damage and lifelong injuries, but the costs of this trauma should not be placed solely on the shoulders of parents.

If your child suffered a birth injury due to a labor or delivery error, we encourage you to reach out to our team at Pendergast Law. We have years of experience investigating birth injuries and advocate for injured patients in medical malpractice claims. Let us guide you through the process of getting compensation for your child’s injuries. Call us today at (425) 228-3860 and toll-free at (888) 228-3860 for a free initial consultation.

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Common Birth Injuries

Labor and delivery errors are unacceptable in all circumstances, as it can result in severe trauma for both newborns and mothers. The most common birth injuries caused by medical negligence include:

  • Broken Bones and Fractures: Bone fractures in babies typically occur during complicated deliveries or breech deliveries, when the fetus doesn't enter the birth canal headfirst. This can require the delivery physician to pull on the baby more forcefully or attempt to reposition the baby. If the physician isn't gentle enough, they may break the baby's arms or legs. This is a particular concern for infants that are born prematurely because their bones may not be as fully developed as a full term baby. Larger babies can also be more susceptible to broken bones because they can get stuck in the birth canal.
  • Facial Nerve Paralysis: Facial nerve palsy is caused by damage to an infant's seventh cranial nerve during the birth process, which is why it is also referred to as Seventh Cranial Nerve Palsy due to Birth Trauma, and are often caused by the negligent use of forceps.
  • Epidural Injury: An epidural is intravenous anesthesia that is administered with a long needle in the mother’s back near the spinal cord. With the needle in place, a catheter is inserted to disperse the medication that will block pain to the lower portion of the body. As with any medication, there is the potential for an allergic reaction or injury as the needle is being inserted near the spine. There is also the risk of spinal cord injuries, seizures, infections, and brain damage.
  • Forceps Injury: Forceps are instruments that are commonly used during childbirth. Forceps look similar to a pair of barbecue tongs, with large spoons on the end. Doctors use them to place on the baby's head and gently guide it out of the birth canal. However, when forceps aren't properly used, it can do a great deal of damage.
  • Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy: Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), also known as birth asphyxia, is a serious condition in which the entire brain of an infant is deprived of oxygen or has a limited blood flow being directed to it. When this occurs, brain cells begin to die, which can cause extensive brain damage.
  • Maternal Infection: Physicians have a duty to carefully monitor and promptly treat health conditions in pregnant women, including infections. Certain types of maternal infections can lead to infant brain damage, if left untreated. The treating physician has a duty to closely observe the mother to rule out or treat any serious health problems over the term of the pregnancy.
  • C-Section Injury: There are many factors that tell a reasonable doctor when a C-section is required, and allow them to order and/or perform one in a timely manner. Being able to recognize when a C-section is necessary is part of the standard of care doctors and other healthcare professionals must provide their patients. When they fail to do so, injuries can result, and often those injuries can last a lifetime.
  • Perinatal Asphyxia: Perinatal asphyxia occurs when there is too little blood flow to the tissues of the fetus or newborn, or not enough oxygen in the infant's blood. Infants who experience mild to moderate oxygen deprivation may recover completely with prompt medical intervention. For those whose oxygen supply is cut off for several minutes, however, birth asphyxia can cause serious injuries, including permanent brain damage, and injury to the kidneys, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, and digestive system.
  • Pitocin Injury: Pitocin is a synthetic medication that's a variation of oxytocin, the hormone the body produces during childbirth to help it push the infant through the birth canal. Healthcare professionals use Pitocin when they feel that a delivery is taking too long, but often it's simply impatience that causes them to administer it. In fact, Pitocin should only be used in the most urgent situations, and when the life of the baby or mother is in jeopardy.

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Medical Liability for Delivery Errors

Each of these injuries and acts of medical negligence can result in heavy financial burdens for parents. These costs can follow a child for their entire lives if they suffer disabilities, brain damage, or chronic pain. None of these costs should be passed onto parents when doctors or nurses break protocol.

In order to recover compensation for your child’s injuries, you will need to show that:

  • A medical provider had a doctor-patient relationship with you or your child;
  • A medical provider broke the standard of care in an act of negligence;
  • That act of negligence caused your child’s birth injuries; and
  • Your child’s injuries result in damages.

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Speak to a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Recovering compensation after a birth injury requires an in-depth investigation into the nature of your child’s birth, from how doctors prepared for the birth to how they used medical equipment. This investigation should be handled by skilled Seattle medical malpractice attorneys who can work with medical experts and investigators to determine the cause of your child’s injuries. We have decades of experience handling medical malpractice claims and can utilize all our knowledge to fight for your family’s best interests. Call Pendergast Law, at (425) 228-3860 and toll-free at (888) 228-3860 to talk about your case in a free consultation.

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