When there is a lapse in judgment or care that harms a patient, a health care professional can be found liable for “medical malpractice.”
Statistics suggest that approximately 7 out of every 1,000 births in the United States involve some sort of injury occurring before, during, or upon delivery. Such injuries are not to be confused with birth defects, which are usually the result of genetic disorders. Birth injuries can range in severity from temporary bone fractures to bleeding and bruising to permanent brain damage.
Given the complexity of medical negligence cases, it is important that you contact an experienced attorney if you believe your baby’s injury could have been prevented. Since 1998, the Eastern Kentucky birth injury lawyers of the Johnson Law Firm have helped the families of injured infants throughout the state. You can rely on our experience with the legal system and our commitment to our clients to help you get the best result possible given the circumstances of your case. To learn how we can help you, call us today toll-free at 606-433-0682 or fill out this contact form. We are proud to offer free initial case evaluations.
Birth Injury Types
Most birth injuries can be traced to two root causes: either oxygen deprivation or physical trauma. The 10 most common birth injuries are:
- Bone fractures – fragile newborn bones don’t heal in the same way as adult bones, and fractures can lead to permanent issues if not properly treated.
- Brachial Plexus Palsy (Erb’s Palsy/Klumpke’s Palsy) — affects the group of nerves that travels from the spinal cord through the arms and into the fingertips.
- Caput succedaneum – uncomfortable scalp swelling shortly after delivery that can lead to additional health issues.
- Cephalohematoma — traumatic hematoma (often caused by use of forceps) that occurs in the membrane of an infant’s skull bone.
- Cerebral palsy — one of the most well-known birth injuries, affecting more than 5,000 babies annually. The term encompasses several different neuro-muscular deficiencies, all marked by a lack of muscle control and coordination that makes many basic motions impossible. Cerebral palsy is a form of brain damage and the part of the brain that is damaged determines which part of the body is affected by abnormal muscle tone.
- Facial paralysis – temporarily and permanently damaged nerves can result from too much pressure on a child’s face during delivery.
- Intracranial hemorrhage — caused by a stroke which bursts a blood vessel and floods the brain with blood.
- Perinatal asphyxia – lack of oxygen (usually related to the pinching or kinking of the umbilical cord) can result in serious brain damage.
- Spinal cord injuries – seen most often in conjunction with blunt force trauma or a medical issue affecting the spine. The majority of all infant spinal cord injuries occur in the neck area.
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage — medical condition that happens when the small blood vessels located just beneath the eye rupture.
Birth Injury Causes
Although some birth injuries result from natural causes, the harsh reality is that many result from a medical professional’s negligence or error. Some common mistakes include:
- Not getting the baby out of the birth canal soon enough
- Not detecting umbilical cord issues
- Misusing forceps or a vacuum extraction tool
- Failing to identify that the baby is in distress and that a Caesarean section needs to be performed
- Improperly recognizing and treating seizures after delivery
- Not responding to the mother’s changing health conditions.
Where birth injuries are caused by a medical professional’s negligence or mistake, the parents of the injured baby may be entitled to claim compensation.
It can also help with other costs incurred in giving the injured child as healthy and productive a future as possible.
We Can Help
If you suspect that your child has sustained a birth injury, you should seek legal assistance as soon as possible after the birth. Even if you are unsure, the Kentucky birth injury attorneys of the Johnson Law Firm can review your case and advise you whether you have grounds to seek financial compensation. Medical negligence can be difficult to prove, but our experienced lawyers will evaluate the facts surrounding your case and assemble the medical evidence in order to maximize your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.
Based in Pikeville, we are proud to serve communities throughout Kentucky. Our founder, Billy Johnson, has handled litigation in the United States Court of Appeals, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, and the United States Bankruptcy Court. Contact the Johnson Law Firm for a free, no-obligation, confidential consultation. Although the legal and financial consequences of a birth injury are not the most immediate concerns, they are important in the long term. Consult Billy Johnson to discuss your options and let him help you.