Philadelphia Birth Injury Lawyer
Every year, tens of thousands of babies are born in greater Philadelphia, PA without any complications. But for a few Philadelphia families, birth injuries take away some of the happiness and excitement they feel about a new baby. A birth injury is any injury the child sustains during the birthing process because of medical mistakes. A genetic problem is not a birth injury, but if the baby is hurt by misuse of forceps, failure to monitor vital signs or other mistakes by doctors and nurses, that baby and his or her family should consider contacting an experienced Philadelphia birth injury lawyer at Rosenbaum & Associates.
Why Choose Our Philadelphia Birth Injury Lawyers?
- Your birth injury case will receive the personal attention it deserves to ensure your success.
- We have access to leading medical experts who can testify to the extent of injuries on you or your child’s behalf.
- We take birth injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no legal fees unless you win.
How Can a Birth Injury Attorney Help?
Discovering that you or your child has suffered a birth injury can be devastating. A Philadelphia Birth Injury Lawyer understands the magnitude of these types of cases and the importance of finding answers and pursuing accountability. They will also have a thorough understanding of the medical malpractice laws related to your case and the resources to conduct a thorough investigation. An attorney will help ensure you have a solid claim and will not back down against a medical provider’s insurance company or team of attorneys until you recover the compensation you are warranted.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
As stated, a birth injury occurs during the birthing process and are often the result of a trauma during the delivery process. Birth injuries can vary from minor injuries to long term medical conditions that require lengthy hospital stays and overall lifetime care. These injuries can result from medical malpractice and some of the most common types of birth injuries are:
- Untimely C-sections
- Misused forceps during delivery
- Failure to monitor vital signs
- Oxygen deprivation during labor & delivery
- High prescription drug dosages taken before delivery
Alert medical professionals can discover and respond to many of these problems before birth injuries occur. With the careful use of monitoring and management of high-risk pregnancies, experienced doctors can help mitigate risk and reduce birth injuries. But when doctors fail to take basic precautions and children are injured before their lives even begin, families should consider contacting birth injury lawyers in Philadelphia.
What Risk Factors Lead to An Increase in Birth Complications?
There are various factors that increase the risk of birth injury cases. While premature delivery can increase the risk, infants lager than 9.9 pounds are more susceptible to shoulder dystocia. Excessive traction put on the baby’s head or neck during the delivery could increase the risk of a birth injury. Other factors that increase birth injuries include:
- Feet-first delivery
- Large fetal head
- Prolonged delivery
Aside from the delivery process, the mother’s structure could have an impact on the birthing process. The size of the mother’s pelvis is not adequate for a child birth and can cause a birth injury if the doctors to not prepare accordingly.
Common Birth Injuries
The most serious birth injuries have to do with damage to the baby’s brain. Before birth, babies “breathe” through the umbilical cord. If that cord is compressed for more than a few moments during the birth, the child can be deprived of oxygen, resulting in brain damage or cerebral palsy, a lifelong condition causing physical or mental disabilities. Another common cause of birth injuries is overuse of forceps and vacuum extraction tools. These can cause physical damage when used too harshly on the baby’s skull. Forceps can also lead to brachial plexus injuries, which can leave the baby’s arm partially or fully disabled. In the aftermath of a medical mistake, or medical malpractice, at birth or complicated delivery common brain injuries include:
- Cerebral Palsy- Brain damage can trigger a group of disorders that affect one’s motor function capabilities.
- Brachial plexus injury (Erb’s Palsy)- This is an injury to the nerves in a baby’s neck, leading to weakness in the shoulders or arms
- Spina Bifida– This occurs when the embryonic neural tube, which develops into the the spine and brain, fails to seal before birth.
There are indicators a parent should look out for that could be a sign of a birth injury. Clues that your child may have suffered a birth injury include: blue skin color at delivery, required resuscitation at delivery, seizures post delivery, organ dysfunction, presence of bruises, or when a cool cap is applied.
Forceps & Vacuum Injuries During the Birth Process
A baby’s skull is extremely soft. The bones have not yet fused together completely, making them more susceptible to bruising and disfigurement if forceps or vacuum extraction are misused.
What Are Forceps?
Forceps are a pair of curved metal tongs meant to grasp a baby’s head on each side and allow the doctor to pull the baby through the birth canal gently.
What is Vacuum Extraction?
The purpose of the vacuum during the birth process is to get a baby out quickly to avoid oxygen deprivation. There are two types of vacuum extraction: the soft cup method and the metal cup method. The soft-cup vacuum extraction is generally considered to be gentler on the baby and mother, but both ways carry a risk of injury to the newborn.
What Injuries Can Occur From Forceps & Vacuums During the Birthing Process?
Forceps or vacuum-assisted delivery complications can result in babies suffering:
- Skull fractures or traumatic brain injuries
- Subgaleal hemorrhage (bleeding between the scalp and the skull)
- Shoulder dystocia, which can cause limited mobility or paralysis in the affected arm and hand.
- Scalp and facial injuries
- Facial palsy – weakened facial muscles
- Eye injuries
- Bruising or swelling on the baby’s scalp (cephalohematoma) or face
There are also risks for mothers, such as:
- Ruptured uterine wall — If the uterine wall tears, there is a possibility that the baby could be pushed into the abdominal cavity.
- Bladder or urethra injuries
- Incontinence — Involuntary urination or defecation, which depending on the severity, can be a short-term or long-term issue.
- Lower genital tract tears
- Further weakening of the pelvic muscles and ligaments, which can lead to pelvic organ prolapse.
When Should a Vacuum-Assisted Delivery be Attempted?
A vacuum or forceps-assisted delivery should only be attempted when there are concerns about progress or the baby’s wellbeing. Some major indications include:
- Prolonged second stage of labor
- Fetal status is nonreassuring
- A maternal illness is present, making pushing efforts risky (e.g., maternal cardiac or neurological disease is present)
- The mother is exhausted
Birth Injuries vs. Birth Defects – What’s the Difference?
Birth injuries and birth defects are two distinct terms. A birth injury can occur as a result of medical malpractice or negligence on behalf of a healthcare professional. Birth defects are a result of a physical or biochemical abnormality that are present at birth and may be a result of a number of factors. Genetics or environmental influence can cause birth defects, while birth injuries occur during the birthing process or while the mother is in labor.
Experienced Philadelphia Birth Injury Attorneys
At Rosenbaum & Associates, our injury attorneys in Philadelphia offer free consultations, so potential clients can ask us about the strength of their birth injury lawsuits, or the value of their case with no further obligation or charge. We understand how difficult these injuries can be for families, and our experienced birth injury attorneys provide the legal advice needed to make informed decisions. You are always welcome to contact a Philadelphia birth injury lawyers online or call us at (215) 569-0200 . One of our experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys will accommodate any questions you and your partner might have.