Birth Injuries – Who Will Advocate for Your Child?
Each year hundreds of families suffer a birth injury at the hands of a medical provider. Many of these injuries are caused by a lack of oxygen to the child’s vital organs during what would otherwise be a routine birthing process. A physician must exercise particular care to transcend the infant from total reliance upon the mother for life’s sustenance, oxygen, food and blood, to reliance upon the child’s own heart, lungs and brain to sustain life. Minutes, and even seconds, count during this very critical time. Every moment that an infant is denied oxygen, irreversible damage occurs to the child’s brain and his or her ability to grow, learn and enjoy a normal life independently of others.
If your child suffers a birth injury, chances are your life as you know it will change forever. He or she could require special medical needs, special housing, education and transportation for the remainder of his or her life. You may even need a full time medical care provider to assist you. Even your family members will require specialized training to care for a child with a debilitating birth injury. We will hire a Life Care Planner who will work with your doctors to formulate a Life Care Plan for you child. These persons will meet with you to understand the particular needs of your family. In the end, you will have a written plan that explains and provides the costs and special needs that your child will need for the remainder of his or her life.
Birth injuries can be particularly taxing upon a family because in most cases, the infant requires special medical needs and care for the rest of his natural life. Most families are simply not equipped financially or emotionally to care for a child with a birth injury. Many of these “special needs” are neither covered by Medicaid nor private medical insurances. You and your family members may need counseling and specialized training that allow you to integrate your child into the family setting. Families in these cases need the assistance of our firm to help them recover sufficient funds with which to provide even the basic necessities of these children and their families.
Starting the Birth Injury Case-
If you even suspect that the hospital or your physician was the cause of a birth injury, start by giving our medical negligence department a call. We start these, as all medical negligence cases, with the mother’s prenatal medical records, the actual birthing records and follow with the infant’s medical records. These records can be voluminous and difficult to understand. Our team of medical and legal professionals are trained to read and find the truth from these medical records. Often times, its not what is in the records, but rather, what is missing that is important.
Failure to Recognize High Risk Pregnancies-
We carefully analyze the prenatal records for clinical signs and symptoms that the infant or mother may have displayed well before your due date. A few examples include high blood pressure, abnormal blood values, abnormal fetal heart strips and breech position of the child. If these tell tale signs or symptoms are apparent in the prenatal records, your OBGYN may have been fairly placed on notice that special care and attention should have been provided to your baby. In such cases, specialized physicians should have been present at the actual birth of your child. If your pregnancy was deemed “high risk” or problematic by your physician, a pediatrician should have been present at the birth of your child.
In some cases, prenatal records indicate that a scheduled C-section is warranted. In other cases, specialized physicians should be in the delivery room waiting for the arrival of your child such that immediate, specialized care can be provided. Again, every moment counts for a child. If your physician failed to take the necessary precautions, you may have a case for medical negligence.
Failure to Recognize that Your Baby Developed Late Stage Problems-
We next analyze the birthing records for signs and symptoms that the child should be assisted by your physician. When you arrive at the labor and delivery department, you should be hooked up to at least an external fetal heart monitor. This device, when effectively used, allows the medical providers to track your baby’s heart rate relative to your contractions. In many cases, the fetal heart strips can be “non-reassuring” thereby suggesting that the physician abandon a vaginal delivery and immediately take the child by C-section. One of the most common occurrences we see is when the labor and delivery nurses fail to promptly communicate the mother and the infant’s physical condition with the physician. If your child suffered a brain injury and you did not see your physician during the labor process, or saw your physician very little during this critical time, you may have a cause of action for a birth injury.
Failure to Provide Prompt and Adequate Care After Birth-
Once your child is delivered, the hospital must have adequately trained personnel to care for your child. Special attention must be given that your child at once begins to breathe and otherwise show signs of successful separation from the mother. Nurses and other physicians present should be certified in Pediatric Advanced Life Support and in other critical areas as well. Failure to adequately staff and train these medical care providers can equate to a birth injury if your child develops problems out of the womb. Likewise, there should be adequate staff on call to care for your child in the event of an emergency.
It May Not Be Too Late-
If you have a child that is a slow learner, blind, deaf, crippled, unable to walk, deformed, or otherwise mentally or physically deficient and you were never provided an explanation that satisfied you, it may not be too late to pursue your birth injury case. Many states allow a minor to file an action for birth injury up to even his or her 21st birthday. For example, in Arkansas, an action for birth injury may be filed by a child up to his 11th birthday. In some other states, the action does not expire until even later. If you think your child suffered a birth injury, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Someone has to be an advocate for your child.