Many babies sustain minor injuries during delivery. These injuries may not need to be treated – they will heal on their own in a few days or weeks. So, when does a birth injury constitute medical malpractice?
Here is what you should know:
When a healthcare provider makes a mistake
A birth injury that occurs due to the negligence of a healthcare provider or hospital can be considered medical malpractice. Examples include delaying or failing to perform a Caesarian (C) section, failing to monitor the mother/baby during labor, failing to diagnose/treat dangerous conditions and using tools improperly.
These mistakes typically lead to severe injuries to the baby’s nerves, brain and other organs, which can result in long-term conditions, such as cerebral palsy, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), kernicterus and Erb’s palsy.
Medical negligence can occur before, during or after birth. For example, failing to diagnose and treat health conditions that can affect the mother and/or the baby, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and maternal infections are all medical mistakes that can happen during pregnancy.
Failing to monitor the baby or mother is a form of medical negligence that occurs before birth. Examples of mistakes that occur during birth include misusing tools, using force during delivery, failing to perform a necessary C-section and pulling or twisting the baby too hard when they pass through the birth canal.
Failing to treat jaundice, which leads to excessive levels of bilirubin in the baby’s blood or failing to monitor the baby’s vital signs are examples of mistakes that occur after birth.
What should you do if your child suffered a birth injury?
If a negligent healthcare provider or facility injures your baby, learning more information about your legal options can help.