Giving birth is a very dangerous process for both mother and unborn child. Seemingly minor complications during the labor and delivery process can lead to lasting injuries or even death. Few things are more distressing for someone who has just gone through labor than learning that their newborn has some significant birth injury. Perhaps doctors diagnose them with Erb’s palsy or cerebral palsy. Parents often have a hard time comprehending the lasting impact of such injuries and may also question what will happen to their families in the future as a result of this turn of events.
In scenarios where medical professionals caused a birth injury due to negligence, the infant’s family may be able to pursue a medical malpractice claim. These are some of the more common signs that a medical mistake may have caused an infant’s harm.
There were delays in treatment or response
One of the most common types of negligence involves failing to properly monitor both the mother and her unborn child. Best practices include tracking fetal development throughout the entire pregnancy and initiating fetal heart rate monitoring once the mother presents at the hospital in active labor. Deviations from standard practices may lead to medical professionals not recognizing the warning signs of an issue, like the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck, before something goes wrong. Those who believe there was inadequate monitoring during pregnancy or the birth process may be in a position to pursue a negligence-based birth injury claim.
The medical staff didn’t listen
This sad truth for mothers in labor is that the medical professionals intended to protect them often treat them dismissively if not derisively. Women may warn those attending the birth that something seems to be wrong, only to have their concerns ignored completely. In scenarios where the mother addressed concerns only to have them dismissed could potentially constitute negligence as well, particularly if there is reason to connect the child’s birth injury to the issue the mother raised during pregnancy or labor. Those who sought help and interventions but did not receive timely medical assistance could have grounds to assert the care they received was negligent.
Oftentimes, the best way to evaluate whether negligence contributed to birth injuries is to have another medical professional review a patient’s records. In the event that substandard care is confirmed, filing a medical malpractice claim can both help a family cover costs and possibly change practices at the birth facility that provided inadequate care.