Common Labor & Delivery Mistakes That May Lead to a Birth Injury
Birth injuries are among the most difficult cases we handle at Freidin Brown, P.A., and for many reasons. Not only do birth injuries impact families in profound and often life-altering ways, they also create high stakes for victims who deserve justice and depend on full compensation to address their new and difficult circumstances. Additionally, birth injury lawsuits are notorious for their complexity, involving a range of challenging legal and medical issues that must be applied to unique circumstances.
A large part of the complexity in birth injury cases stems from medical malpractice and liability, which introduce questions along the lines of:
- Was the birth injury preventable?
- Were doctors or health care providers negligent?
- Was that negligence or substandard care responsible for the birth injury?
These types of questions focus on the issue of medical malpractice, an area of law filled with highly technical legal and medical concepts. Although there are many different cases and a range of individual circumstances behind medical malpractice lawsuits, the main thrust of these claims can be boiled down into two main points: 1) the negligence of doctor, nurse, or some health care provider (i.e. the mistakes they made or their failures to meet acceptable standards of care) was more likely than not the cause of preventable injury, and 2) those health care providers should be held financially responsible for resulting injuries and damages suffered by victims.
Mistakes that Lead to Birth Injury During Labor & Delivery
In terms of evaluating whether a birth injury was caused by a medical professional’s failure to meet their duty of care, our legal team looks closely into all aspects of how they cared for patients during each phase of pregnancy – from initial evaluations and routine monitoring during pregnancy all the way through birth and post-delivery care. Although there are certainly ways that doctors and nurses can increase the risks for preventable injuries before and after birth, and ways that mistakes during pregnancy can eventually lead to complications later on, a large percentage of preventable birth injuries occur during labor and delivery.
Common examples of labor and delivery mistakes that can result in preventable birth injuries include:
Failure to monitor fetal vitals – Doctors and nurses present during the birthing process have a duty to manage risks and appropriately respond to potential complications. One way for doing so is by monitoring fetal heart rate, oxygen levels, and other important vitals. When health care providers fail to monitor fetal vitals, or misinterpret their readings, the risks for preventable brain injuries increase dramatically, including pediatric stroke, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and brain damage, and cerebral palsy.
Improper use of delivery tools – In some difficult births, doctors may facilitate the birthing process by using certain medical tools, including vacuum extractors and forceps. When used improperly, these tools can cause lacerations, disfigurement, paralysis, and brain damage that may lead to disabilities later in a child’s life.
Medication errors – Doctors and nurses who make medication errors during labor or delivery subject both months and infants to increased injury risks. This is especially true when it comes to the use of labor-inducing drugs like Pitocin (a synthetic oxytocin), which are used to induce labor and promote stronger contractions. The use of Pitocin is strictly regulated, as improper use, including unnecessary use or excessive dosage, can cause severe birth injuries.
Improper delivery technique – While some doctors may use medical tools to facilitate birth, others may rely on more traditional techniques. However, failures to apply those techniques as any trained and reasonably skillful doctor would, such as by pulling or pushing with excessive force, can result in serious harm to an infant and injuries to the brachial plexus such as Erb’s palsy.
Failure to perform timely C-section – If doctors knew or should have known that a C-section delivery was warranted or the standard route of delivery in difficult births with labor and delivery complications, they can potentially be held liable for failures to perform C-sections with the immediacy they require. Birth injuries that can be caused when C-sections are delayed or not performed can include brain damage and serious disabilities, and they typically result from failures to identify signs of fetal distress, identify potential complications (including umbilical cord complications, the size of a fetus in relation to the womb, etc.), and other preventable mistakes.
Freidin Brown, P.A.: Protecting Your Rights After a Preventable Birth Injury
Labor and delivery has inherent risks, both for mothers and their children. However, doctors and nurses who facilitate the delivery process have professional and legal obligations to appropriately manage those risks, perform their duties in accordance to accepted standards, and take all reasonable steps to avoid preventable injuries. Should they fail to do so, victims and their families have the right to seek justice and compensation for their losses, which can include a range of economic damages (for medical expenses and the costs of any future needs associated with injuries) and non-economic damages (for their emotional anguish, pain and suffering, and other incalculable losses).
At Freidin Brown, P.A., our award-winning Florida Trial Lawyers have a proven record of success in cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice, and birth injuries, and have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. We know the standards that exist within the medical profession, how medical mistakes can lead to preventable injuries, and how to leverage our insight, experience, and resources to help victims fight for the financial recoveries they deserve.
If you have questions about your case and how our Florida birth injury Lawyers can help you, we are available 24/7 to help families across the state of Florida. Contact us today to request a FREE and confidential consultation.