Suing for a Medical Injury to Your Baby
Having a child is, typically, one of the most joyous occasions in a parent’s life. Planning for the future, in which all avenues of life are possible, occupy the thoughts of many parents. All of these thoughts, however, can come to a crashing halt if there is a birth injury that renders a child unable to ever care for himself/herself. If the birth injury is a result of an error committed by a medical professional, retaining the services of an attorney experienced in medical negligence can help a parent recover for not only the cost of injuries, but also for the emotional toll of having to care for a child with additional needs. Recently, a Michigan family was awarded a multi-million dollar verdict after their child contracted cerebral palsy as a result of severe brain damage sustained while undergoing a renal scan when he was two weeks old. A discussion of how to present a case for medical injury to a child, as well as some typical errors which can be attributed to medical negligence, will follow below.
The legal theory that is used to establish that a medical professional is liable for any injury, including those to a child, is negligence. To successfully establish medical negligence, a plaintiff must prove the following:
- The existence of a relationship between the medical professional and the child;
- The establishment of a standard of care, comparable to one used in similar relationships;
- Evidence of negligent care on the part of the medical professional; that is, a breach of the standard of care by the medical professional vis-à-vis the child;
- An injury to the child, caused by the breach; and
- Damages resulting from the injury.
Common Birth Injuries
Birth injuries are injuries to a child which occur before the birthing process or during labor and delivery. Typically, birth injuries occur when the child is in an abnormal position during labor, or weighs more than average. The following are some of the more common examples of birth injuries:
- Bleeding and/or swelling of the brain;
- Bruising of various parts of the body;
- Cerebral Palsy, which is a muscular disorder of movement, typically caused by injury or abnormal development in the immature brain, most often before birth;
- Erb’s Palsy, which is a neurological injury to the nerves that send signals from the spine to the shoulders, arms, and hands;
- Fractures of various bones;
- Nerve damage to the face or other body part;
- Shoulder Dystocia, which is difficulty in labor caused by the child’s shoulders getting stuck during delivery; and
- Traumatic Brain Injury, which occurs when an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction.
Symptoms (to the mother) which can lead to the above-listed injuries include the following:
- Blood loss;
- Increased heart rate;
- Placental retention;
- Shock; and
- Vaginal tear.
Finally, the above-listed injuries can be the result of one or more of the following:
- Depriving the child of oxygen during the delivery process;
- Exposing the child to harmful chemicals or contaminants during prenatal and postpartum stages;
- Misusing medical instruments;
- Performing an unnecessary Cesarean Section;
- Performing the vaginal delivery of a child with a high birth weight; and
- Using an improper delivery technique.
Seek Legal Advice
If your child was injured as a result of an interaction with a medical professional, contact the personal injury attorneys at Pita Weber & Del Prado as soon as possible. We have experience in medical malpractice law, including birth- and other child- related injuries, and will utilize this experience to review the facts of your child’s case to determine whether a claim for medical malpractice is viable. If so, we will help devise the best strategy to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact our Miami office today for an initial consultation.