The birth of a child is a milestone that should arrive with pride and joy. Sadly, medical mistakes during pregnancy, labor or delivery can cause significant and permanent harm to your newborn. These mistakes may constitute birth-related medical malpractice.
If the medical staff that attended to the birth of your child is responsible for healthcare errors that caused your baby pain, injury or death, call the office of Kline & Specter, PC at 800-243-1100 for a free consultation. We handle medical malpractice lawsuits for birth injury victims and their families in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York and nationwide. Our firm has more than 40 lawyers, including five full-time medical/doctor lawyers – the most in the United States – and among them two OB-GYNs.
- Risks During Pregnancy
- Birth Injury During Labor
- Birth Injury During Delivery
- Cerebral Palsy & Erb’s Palsy
- Birth Injury Following Delivery
- Understanding Your Rights
- Major Birth Injury Verdicts & Settlements
- Contact Us
Risks During Pregnancy
Birth injury is often thought of as something that occurs during labor or delivery, but many risk factors along with warning signs of potential complications may be present during pregnancy. Your doctor, midwife, nurse practitioner or another healthcare provider is obligated to provide you with the highest standard of care. This includes taking time to assess conditions during pregnancy that may place your unborn baby at risk for serious injury.
During pregnancy, your health, as well as the health of your baby, must be monitored. This is especially true for women who are older, who have had more than one child, or who have a pre-existing condition such as thyroid disease or an autoimmune disorder.
Risks for birth injury are significantly increased when indications of a potential labor or delivery complication arise. These may include:
- Maternal infection
- Gestational diabetes
- Maternal obesity
Lifestyle factors may also play a role in birth injury risks. These include tobacco and alcohol use, illicit drug and narcotic use, and untreated STD/STI. Personal choices that place your unborn baby in harm's way may diminish your ability to seek compensation for legitimate medical negligence. It is best to take care of yourself during pregnancy to reduce risks for you and your baby.
However, your behavior does not excuse the poor behavior of medical staff and, if you believe your child’s injury could have been prevented had proper care been provided during your pregnancy, we are here to review your case and help you determine if you have cause to file suit.
Birth Injury During Labor
When you go into labor, swift action is essential. From the moment you enter the hospital or birthing center, the actions performed by staff and doctors will play a direct role in the safety of you and your baby.
Proper monitoring is key during labor. Modern hospitals are equipped with technology that can track maternal and fetal oxygen levels and blood flow. This enables medical staff to take immediate action should a problem arise. But improper monitoring is not uncommon - and many mothers and children have suffered as a result.
In addition to improper monitoring and failure to respond to warning signs, risks for birth injury during labor may be increased due to:
- Over- or under-medication
- Failure to look at patient charts for pre-existing conditions
- Failure to respond to fetal distress
- Failure to respond to maternal distress
While risks are more common during prolonged labor, even a short labor and delivery can result in harm to a baby. If you suspect your child was injured during labor, you may have cause to file suit. Use the contact form at the bottom of this page or call us today to learn how we can help.
Birth Injury During Delivery
Injury sustained during delivery may be caused by excessive force. Forceps and vacuum injuries are also common during delivery. Additional injuries that are possible during birth include:
- Suffocation (asphyxiation)
- Nerve damage
- Brain damage
Some babies who sustain a birth injury due to medical error may require a lifetime of care and treatment. This means parents should never hesitate to consult an attorney to help prevent similar healthcare provider errors in the future and to ensure that your family receives the compensation it needs to provide that lifetime of care.
Cerebral Palsy and Erb’s Palsy Birth Injuries
Two of the most common birth injuries are cerebral palsy and Erb's palsy, both of which can be devastating for children and their families.
Cerebral palsy is not a disease, it is a result of brain damage and it may be caused during pregnancy, labor or delivery. The condition may be more common in women who suffered maternal infection or in babies who are born jaundiced. Oxygen deprivation during delivery can cause cerebral palsy as well. An estimated 500,000 Americans have the condition, which causes permanent physical disabilities and may require a lifetime of special care.
Erb’s palsy is a condition caused by nerve damage around the shoulder, or brachial plexus. This generally occurs during a difficult childbirth and may be related to the forceful removal of a baby from the birth canal. Also known as brachial palsy, Erb’s palsy can cause complete paralysis of the arm that may require surgery to correct.
Birth Injury Following Delivery
Even after your baby is born, he or she remains at risk for harm by negligent healthcare providers. Many conditions may be caused or exacerbated by improper care following delivery. These include:
- Failure to provide oxygen
- Failure to respond to fetal distress
- Failure to execute necessary medical procedures
- Failure to diagnose infection
Nearly all of the injury that can occur following delivery is a result of pure negligence. Healthcare providers who fail to monitor or provide swift care for a baby in crisis must be held accountable for their actions. Our birth injury attorneys are here to do just that - help secure compensation for your family while protecting others from a similarly difficult experience.
Understanding Your Rights
When you or your baby are injured during pregnancy, labor, or delivery, you may be entitled to compensation for all related medical expense, projected future expenses, and personal pain and suffering. Without an attorney, however, it is unlikely that justice will ever be served.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are difficult to win and birth injury cases are no exception.
Our skilled birth injury team includes more than 40 attorneys, several of whom also are accomplished physicians and two of whom are OB/GYNs. We are prepared to review your case, free of charge, for any indications of negligence. And we are here to protect your family and fight for your rights in instances where medical malpractice has occurred.
Birth Injury Lawsuit Verdicts & Settlements
Kline & Specter excels at litigating birth injury and cerebral palsy cases. In April 2017, the firm won a nearly $42 million verdict for a child who suffered a forceps injury at birth that resulted in severe brain damage. The defendant in the case was the U.S. government, which had employed the doctor who committed the egregious error.
Here are some other birth injury lawsuits our attorney have handled, which have resulted in several major jury verdicts and settlements:
- Birth Injury Case Study No. 1: $100 million. One of our attorneys secured this record-setting verdict for a baby who suffered severe brain damage as a result of medical malpractice. It was the largest-ever compensatory damages award in Pennsylvania.
- Birth Injury Case Study No. 2: $57 million. This verdict from Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) Pennsylvania involved a midwife whose actions caused infant oxygen deprivation that resulted in cerebral palsy.
- Birth Injury Case Study No. 3: $42.9 million. This verdict, delivered in December 2013, was in favor of a baby girl who was badly injured during delivery at a Philadelphia hospital.
- Birth Injury Case Study No. 4: $20 million. This was the settlement in a birth injury lawsuit involving negligent care during labor and delivery that resulted in a catastrophic brain injury. Details of the case remain confidential.
- Birth Injury Case Study No. 5: $19 million. This was a confidential settlement on behalf of an infant who suffered cerebral palsy due to a delayed C-section.
- Birth Injury Case Study No. 6: $15 million. The settlement came against a doctor and a nurse in a New Jersey case.
- Birth Injury Case Study No. 7: $14.5 million A 2017 verdict in Johnstown, PA, for a boy who suffered severe cerebral palsy due to mishandled delivery. The Jury award was largest-ever in a medical malpractice case in federal court in western Pennsylvania.
Experienced Birth Injury Attorneys
If your child has suffered because of medical negligence during childbirth in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York or anywhere else in the United States, please call Kline & Specter, PC at 800-243-1100 for a free case evaluation.