If your child has suffered from a birth injury due to the negligence of a doctor or other health professional, you should speak to a West Virginia birth injury lawyer about opening a medical malpractice case. It’s important to realize that if something seems wrong after any type of medical procedure—including giving birth—you should not wait. Filing a lawsuit may let you seek treatment options otherwise unavailable as well as ensure that doctor doesn’t make the same mistake twice.
Birth injuries are incredibly serious in nature and often lead to lifelong consequences and debilitating impairments. They can occur before a mother gives birth due to improper fetal monitoring or during the process of childbirth. Most birth injuries are sustained during the birthing process and occur when there are difficulties or trauma during childbirth. In most cases, childbirth-related trauma can be prevented with a skilled medical team and proper prenatal care.
The medical malpractice lawyers at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC believe that our children deserve better. No child should suffer lifelong consequences due to a poor decision made by a doctor or a careless team of medical professionals who acted negligently. Our law firm can guide you through the judicial process so your family can recover fair compensation for your child’s injuries.
Common Causes of Birth Injuries in West Virginia
Birth injuries are more common in the United States and in West Virginia than many people would like to believe, but they are still considered rare. According to one study, it was found that birth injuries tend to occur in roughly 6-8 births out of every 1000. Despite their rarity, no expecting mother is completely safe from the risks.
As noted above, many causes of childbirth injuries are tied to negligence or malpractice. Conditions that may be associated with a difficult birth or delivery room injury include but are not limited to the following:
- Large babies
- Rushing a delivery
- Cephalopelvic disproportion: A condition where the size and shape of the pelvis of the mother is not adequate for the baby to be born vaginally
- Abnormal birthing presentations such as breech
- Oxygen deprivation, often referred to as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
- Dystocia: A condition where a baby’s shoulder or shoulders get caught on the mother’s pelvic bone
- Prolonged labor
- Poor fetal monitoring
- Delaying a cesarean section for too long
- Failing to respond to a bleed quickly enough
- Failing to get a complete medical history from the mother
- Improperly using delivery tools such as forceps
- Improper training
- Hospital understaffing
Common Types of Birth Injuries
Common birth injuries seen in West Virginia hospitals include the following conditions, complications, and ailments:
- Caput succedaneum: A severe swelling of the soft tissues of the scalp of the newborn that develops as the baby travels through the birth canal.
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage: The breakage of small blood vessels in the eyes of an infant.
- Erb’s palsy/Brachial palsy: This occurs when the brachial plexus (the group of nerves that travels to the arms and hands) is injured. It is most common when there is difficulty delivering the shoulder of the baby, called shoulder dystocia.
- Fracture: Fracture of the clavicle or collarbone is the most common fracture during labor and delivery.
- Cerebral palsy: One of the leading causes of cerebral palsy is hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, a condition in which a newborn is deprived of oxygen during childbirth.
- Kernicterus: Caused by excessive bilirubin in the blood. Can cause permanent brain damage.
- Klumpke’s palsy.
Symptoms of Birth Injuries
While no two types of birth injuries are the same, there are some common signs to watch your newborn for after you bring them home and as they are developing. Maybe of these symptoms are signs of brain damage. According to the Brain Injury Association of America, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of permanent disability in children and infants. When parents are aware of the first signs of brain injury, they can potentially seek treatment options sooner.
Watch for the following symptoms in your newborn infant:
- Distorted facial features
- Neck stiffness
- Difficulty holding a gaze or focusing
- Abnormally shaped head, forehead, or spine
- Trouble sleeping
- Excessive crying or fussiness
- Difficulty eating
- Difficulty sleeping while lying down
As your child gets older and continues developing, keep an eye out for these symptoms as well:
- Difficulty processing information or remembering
- Trouble concentrating
- Difficulty communicating or relating to others
- Difficulty sitting upright, crawling, walking, or standing
- Difficulty feeding self
- Difficulty gripping items with thumb and forefinger
- Sensitivity to light or textures
- Vision or hearing problems
- Heightened or decreased sensitivity to pain
If you notice any of the above symptoms in your growing infant or child, you should take them to the doctor as soon as possible. Childbirth injury claims, like all personal injury claims, must be filed within a certain period to succeed. This period is referred to as the statute of limitations.
Find the Right West Virginia Birth Injury Lawyers. Right now.
If you know a child who may have suffered from a birth injury, there is no time to waste. At DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, our team of experienced Charleston birth injury lawyers represents medical malpractice birth injury victims and their families throughout the entire state of West Virginia. Contact us today for a free consultation and evaluation of your claim.