Medical Malpractice

Birth Injuries

Birth-related medical malpractice can have devastating consequences for a family and their newborn, who may suffer lifelong complications. This article explains what you need to know if you suspect medical malpractice.

What is a Birth Injury?

Birth-related medical malpractice cases are usually the result of a negligent doctor, staff member, or hospital, whereby their actions either cause injury to the mother or the child during pregnancy or delivery.

Birth injury is defined as an impairment of the infant’s body function or structure due to an adverse event that occurred at birth. Injury may occur during labor, delivery, or after delivery. Common injuries to the mother include neglecting to control excessive blood loss post-delivery, or for an infant, negligently failing to monitor the baby’s oxygen intake before and after the baby has been delivered. Birth injuries can range from minor problems that resolve shortly (such as cuts and bruises) to severe injuries that last a lifetime (such as brain damage or spinal cord injuries.) Common serious injuries include permanent nerve injury (brachial plexus palsy and facial, phrenic, and laryngeal nerves), shoulder dystocia, facial injuries, brain bleeding (intracranial hemorrhage), and fractured bones.

Wrongful Pregnancy

One of the worst and sometimes subtlest birth injury is Infant Brain Damage. Brain damage, although rare, can result to some degree from improper care during the entire delivery process. The child being deprived of oxygen during birth, called asphyxiation or hypoxia, is a leading cause of infant brain damage, although there are many other causes. It is also one that you may not be told about, as it is not always diagnosed right away. If your child develops problems with oxygen while still in the womb, it is a medical emergency, which may lead to the need for immediate and emergency delivery. Time is very important in this case, as permanent brain damage begins after only 4 minutes without oxygen, and death can occur as soon as 4 to 6 minutes later. Brain damage is a serious health concern, and even when mild, and can lead to consequences that last throughout your child’s life. This is why the child’s oxygen and heart rate should be continually monitored while you are in labor.
While it may seem that it would be obvious if your child suffered any degree of brain damage, it is not. Brain damage can occur from a lack of proper oxygen even for a short time, and can occur in varying degrees, some of which are not immediately recognizable. Because your newborn cannot talk and walk when he goes home, it is important to make sure your child meets the developmental milestones of a child his age at monthly intervals.

Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

In a case where the baby suffers an injury, the parents are the ones who bring the lawsuit on behalf of their child. In Louisiana, birth injury claims must be filed within one year of the injury. If an injury is not discovered within that year, no more than three years can pass before filing a lawsuit.

Also keep in mind that Louisiana caps Medical Malpractice damage at $500,000. However, this does not include future medical expenses, which are often a part of birth injury cases. When patients suffer long-term health issues as a result of medical malpractice, they are eligible to receive additional compensation for medical expenses and long-term care.

Were You Affected by a Birth Injury?

Birth related injuries and medical malpractice law are complicated, as well as a sensitive issue for suffering families. We empathize with what you’re going through and offer free, confidential consultations. So if you have any questions about your situation, or if you suspect medical malpractice, we at the Monroe Law Office of J. Antonio Tramontana, want to hear from you.
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Attorney Tony Tramontana is a diplomate of the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys. Mr. Tramontana is one of only a handful of attorneys to achieve such distinction; a distinction which demonstrates skill and expertise in the field of medical malpractice proven through rigorous testing and examination.
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