Birth Injuries: Failure to Diagnose Maternal Medical Conditions
Birth injuries can be among the most catastrophic of all personal injuries. A birth injury can result in lifelong physical and emotional damage to a child. Often, the mother is left with physical injuries and emotional trauma as a result of the botched labor or delivery. These injuries cause severe physical, emotional, and financial trauma to families who have suffered the effects of a birth injury.
When a negligent doctor fails to diagnose a maternal medical condition, and a child is injured as a result, he or she is responsible for compensating all the losses that were caused by this negligence. These costs can quickly become staggering: surgery, rehabilitative services, tutors or special education programs, ongoing medical care for the rest of the child’s life, decreased earning capacity, and (in very serious cases) full time nursing care. Families who have suffered the effects of medical malpractice should never bear these costs on their own. The law requires negligent doctors to compensate their patients who have become victims of medical malpractice.
Birth injury cases involve complex medical and financial issues. Because of this, it is important to seek the legal advice of a seasoned birth injury attorney who can find the right medical experts, present medical evidence in a way a jury can understand, and uncover all the financial aspects of the victim’s claim for damages. The birth injury attorneys at Slappey & Sadd have years of experience in defending all types of maternal and fetal medical malpractice cases. For decades, families across Georgia have trusted our seasoned legal team to protect their legal rights. Call 404.255.6677 today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Atlanta birth injury attorney.Medical Malpractice and Birth Injuries
Birth injuries are a specific form of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is negligence on the part of a healthcare provider. This is usually a doctor or nurse, but can also be a nurse, nursing assistant, surgical technician, or another qualified healthcare provider. Negligence in this context is defined as the failure to act as a reasonable prudent healthcare provider of similar education, training, and experience would in the same situation. When a healthcare provider’s negligence results in injury to a child, this is known as a birth injury case.
Birth injuries have become alarmingly common in the United States. According to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, nearly 157,700 potentially preventable injuries occurred during American childbirths in 2006. Some of these injuries allow the victim to enjoy a functional recovery (for example, vaginal trauma suffered by the mother during labor or delivery). Others will leave the child permanently unable to function or enjoy normal daily activities. This is common with cerebral palsy or other brain damage associated with oxygen deprivation during birth.
There are many different types of negligence that can lead to birth injuries, such as:
- Misdiagnosis of a fetal medical condition
- Failure to treat a fetal medical condition
- Trauma in the delivery process
- Failure to respond to a genetic or position abnormality. A common example of this is shoulder dystocia, in which a child’s shoulder is malrotated. If untreated, the shoulder can delay the birthing process, which can result in oxygen deprivation. It can also result in trauma to a child if the doctor attempts to pull or tug on the shoulder too hard in order to free it.
- Misdiagnosis of a mother’s medical condition
- Failure to diagnose a mother’s medical condition
There are many different maternal medical conditions that can complicate the processes of labor and delivery. For example, many women suffer from gestational diabetes. This is a temporary inability to regulate their blood sugar levels that occurs during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes often results in higher birth weights, and these larger babies are often more difficult to deliver. A woman suffering from gestational diabetes should receive extensive prenatal care in order to monitor the child’s weight and position. With preparation, an obstetrician can safely deliver a larger baby. If not, the baby may suffer physical trauma during the delivery process. Even worse, the baby could suffer oxygen deprivation while the obstetrician attempts to complete a complicated delivery. These complications are largely preventable. An obstetrician who fails to properly monitor gestational diabetes could be liable for birth injuries that occur as a result.
Another common example of a maternal medical condition is a bacterial infection. Hospital-acquired infections occur with regularity. Delivering mothers, in particular, are exposed to bacteria due to the physical exams and medical instruments introduced into their bodies during the labor process. This can be especially risky during prolonged labor in which a mother must have regular vaginal exams. If a doctor notices the signs of infection and quickly treats the mother appropriately, this risk can be appropriately mitigated without harming the baby. If not, the infection can endanger the life of the baby.
These are only two of the many medical conditions that can present complications during labor and delivery. It is the responsibility of the mother’s doctor to correctly identify, diagnose, and treat all medical conditions that could complicate either labor or delivery. Failure to do so can make the doctor legally responsible (“liable”) for any losses the child sustains as the result of his or her birth injury. Permanent injuries can quickly incur millions of dollars in economic and non-economic losses to the family that suffers from them. Georgia law protects the family’s right to be compensated for all of them.Protecting the Rights of Mothers, Babies, and Families
Birth injuries have devastating consequences for the mothers, children, and families who suffer from them. These consequences can last for a lifetime, and incur staggering costs. Don’t leave your legal rights to chance - consult with an experienced Atlanta birth injury attorney who knows how to handle these complicated cases. Victims across Georgia trust the team at Slappey & Sadd. Our experienced attorneys and caring support staff deliver excellent customer service and reliable results. Call 404.255.6677 today to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced birth injury attorneys. We fight hard to protect women, children, and families who must suffer the devastating effects of birth trauma.