The birth of a child should be a joyous occasion for expecting parents. Unfortunately, complications resulting from poor medical care during the birthing process can cause various medical issues.
If you or your newborn has suffered harm from a substandard level of care, you can pursue legal action against the negligent party by contacting the experienced attorneys at the law firm of Nessler & Associates. Our legal team of knowledgeable birth injury medical malpractice lawyers will aggressively pursue fair compensation on your behalf and hold the responsible party accountable for their actions within the allowed statute of limitations.
What Constitutes a Birth Injury in Illinois?
A birth injury is defined as any trauma sustained by a baby or its mother during childbirth. This trauma includes cuts, bruises, and more severe problems like skull fractures and brain damage.
Birth injuries can occur due to several factors, including medical negligence, not meeting the required standard of care, problems with the delivery process, or complications with the pregnancy. In Illinois, birth injuries are governed by a unique set of medical malpractice laws designed to protect the mother and the child.
Contact an experienced birth injury lawyer to discuss your legal options if you or your child suffered injuries during childbirth. The birth injury lawyers at Nessler & Associates can help you file a birth injury lawsuit and work with medical experts to review the circumstances that lead to your or your child’s injuries. We can ensure you file within the two-year statute of limitations so you receive fair compensation for the harm done to your child at birth.
Common Birth Injury Causes
Medical errors during labor can lead to costly but treatable conditions, permanent disabilities, and reduced life expectancy for the mother and infant.
A medication error can happen at any stage of pregnancy and can lead to serious birth injuries. Sometimes, the mother may receive the wrong medication or dosages that are too high or low. In other cases, the baby may be exposed to medications through the placenta that can cause birth defects, such as teratogenesis, a malformation of the fetus.
Regardless of how it happens, birth injury from medication errors is a serious problem that can have lifelong consequences for both the mother and the child.
Misusing Forceps or a Vacuum Extractor
Using forceps or a vacuum extractor to assist with delivering a baby is generally considered safe when performed by a trained professional. However, some risks are associated with using these devices, including the potential for birth injuries.
Forceps and vacuum extractors can put undue pressure on the baby’s head and neck, leading to serious injuries such as skull fractures, cerebral palsy, and even death. In addition, using forceps or a vacuum extractor increases the risk of uterine rupture, which can be life-threatening for both the mother and the baby.
Failure to Properly Monitor the Baby’s or the Mother’s Condition
Birth injuries can occur when a medical professional doesn’t diagnose or monitor the baby or mother’s condition during labor and delivery. For example, if the baby’s heart rate drops suddenly, it may be a sign that it is in distress and not receiving enough oxygen to its brain. If a physician doesn’t detect this lack of oxygen in time, it can lead to permanent damage, including cerebral palsy or mental disabilities.
Similarly, if the mother’s blood pressure drops suddenly during labor, it can also lead to oxygen deprivation and brain damage in the baby. Therefore, to avoid these potential complications, it is essential for doctors and nurses to constantly monitor the baby’s and mother’s condition during labor and delivery.
Birth injuries can occur from a preventable infection that can happen when the mother comes in contact with a virus or bacteria. These infections can cause damage to the baby’s brain, heart, lungs, or other organs. In some cases, birth injuries can also lead to death. The most common cause of death from birth injuries is sepsis, a blood infection. Other causes of death from birth injuries include pneumonia, meningitis, and encephalitis.
Delaying a C-Section
A delay in performing a cesarean section (C-section) can increase the risk of birth injuries. The baby’s head may become stuck in the mother’s pelvis, causing the baby to suffocate or experience a lack of oxygen, leading to brain damage. In other cases, the baby may suffer from a condition known as shoulder dystocia, which occurs when the baby’s shoulders become stuck during delivery.
Dystocia can cause the baby to suffer from a broken collarbone, a dislocated shoulder, or nerve damage. In any case, it is essential to consult with a medical professional if there is any concern that a C-section may be necessary. Postponing or delaying this procedure can put the mother and child at risk of severe complications.
Improper Response to Bleeding
During childbirth, it is not uncommon for the mother to experience some bleeding. While bleeding can be normal, it is important for medical professionals to monitor the situation and respond accordingly. If the bleeding is excessive or there are signs of fetal distress, the medical staff must take immediate action to prevent birth injuries.
Unfortunately, in some cases, medical professionals fail to respond to bleeding during childbirth. Failure to address bleeding can lead to serious birth injuries, such as cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, and damage to the spine or nervous system.
Complications Related to Genetic Testing
Genetic testing has become increasingly common recently, as technological advances have made it more accessible and affordable. However, while genetic testing can provide valuable insights into an individual’s health, there is also a risk of birth injuries associated with the procedure.
In some cases, the needle used to collect a sample of DNA from the fetus can damage the placenta or cause bleeding. There is also a risk of infection, as the needle can introduce bacteria into the womb. In rare cases, the fetal tissue sample may be mistaken for a cancerous tumor, leading to unnecessary surgery or other treatments.
Common Types of Birth Injury Caused By Medical Negligence
Several types of injuries that can occur during labor can affect the health of the infant, the mother, or both, warranting legal action against the negligent parties.
A fracture of the clavicle, or collarbone, is a break in the long bone that runs from the shoulder to the breastbone. A clavicle fracture usually occurs due to a fall onto an outstretched arm or direct, blunt force trauma to the shoulder. In newborns, a clavicle fracture may occur during childbirth if the baby’s head and shoulders become stuck in the mother’s pelvis during delivery.
A clavicle fracture can range from a small crack to complete displacement of the bone. Treatment typically involves wearing a sling or shoulder immobilizer to keep the arm from moving and allowing the bone to heal. Surgery may be necessary if the bones cannot heal properly on their own.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a movement disorder caused by brain injury. The damage can occur before, during, or after birth and have several different causes. Cerebral palsy can range from mild to severe, and it can affect different parts of the body to various degrees. There is no cure for CP, but treatments that can help to improve symptoms and improve quality of life. Early intervention is often essential for the best possible outcome.
Erb’s palsy falls under the category of brachial plexus injuries. It is a condition that results from damage to the nerves in the shoulder. The most common cause of Erb’s palsy is a birth injury, which can occur when the baby’s shoulder is stretched or torn during delivery. This can happen if the baby’s head is too large for the mother’s pelvis or if the baby is delivered by breech birth.
In some cases, nerve damage may be permanent, resulting in paralysis of the affected arm. Treatment for Erb’s palsy typically includes physical therapy to help the child regain movement in the affected arm. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damaged nerves. However, with proper treatment, most children with Erb’s palsy recover fully.
Caput succedaneum is a condition characterized by the swelling of the soft tissues around the baby’s head. This condition can occur when the baby’s head presses against the mother’s pelvis during delivery. Caput succedaneum is usually harmless and will resolve independently within a few days or weeks. However, rare cases can lead to more severe complications such as skull fractures or cerebral palsy.
Placenta previa is a pregnancy complication in which the placenta partially or fully covers the cervix. The condition can cause severe bleeding during labor, which can be life-threatening for the mother and the baby. Placenta previa occurs in about 1 in 200 pregnancies. The condition is more common in women over 35 who have had multiple pregnancies or had a previous cesarean delivery.
Placenta previa is a serious complication that can lead to hemorrhaging before, during, or after childbirth. In some cases, the hemorrhaging can be life-threatening. Placenta previa can be diagnosed during a routine ultrasound scan. Treatment for placenta previa involves close monitoring of the mother and baby during pregnancy and by cesarean section. In some cases, blood transfusions may be necessary. However, with prompt diagnosis and treatment, most mothers and babies with placenta previa will have a healthy outcome.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are birth trauma that can occur when the baby’s spinal cord is damaged during delivery. These injuries can be caused by various factors, including traumatic delivery, prolonged labor, or improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors.
Spinal cord injuries can range from mild to severe, and they can cause a variety of problems, including paralysis, loss of sensation, and loss of bowel or bladder control. In some cases, spinal cord injuries can be fatal.
Seek Justice By Pursuing a Birth Injury Claim
Medical mistakes during labor can cause your medical bills to pile up as you and your child try to return to a normal life. Depending on the type of injury, the resulting monetary damages and emotional trauma can take a toll on a family. Therefore, pursuing all necessary treatment options and finding reliable legal representation is vital for dealing with the stressful lawsuit process.
A personal injury lawyer can help you gather all relevant medical records and other evidence supporting your personal injury claim. In the tragic event that your child did not survive labor, a birth injury attorney can help you file a wrongful death claim.
You can seek maximum compensation from the at-fault healthcare professionals’ insurance companies, including economic and non-economic damages and punitive damages if egregious negligence is present.
The personal injury attorneys at Nessler & Associates can help you claim economic damages that include medical expenses covering all medical treatments for the mother and her child, caretaking expenses, and loss of wages.
Non-economic damages you can recover include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earning capacity
- Mental anguish
Our experienced birth injury attorneys have a proven track record of handling any medical malpractice claim involving injury during birth. We can help you understand the complicated statute of limitations regarding birth injury lawsuits and ensure you file within the allowed timeframe.
Call us today at (800) 727-8010 for a free initial consultation regarding a potential medical malpractice lawsuit. We work with traumatic birth injury victims on a contingency fee basis, which means we don’t get paid unless we win your case.