About 3.7 million babies are born each year in the United States, with about 97 percent entering the world without a major birth defect, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of those born with physical and mental difficulties suffer these disabilities because of natural causes, such as congenital malformations and chromosomal abnormalities as well as disorders related to being born prematurely or with low birthweight.
But there is one other cause that results in permanent injuries to babies that is discussed less often – an accident. Of the roughly seven per 1,000 birth injuries in the United States, some were preventable, caused by medical malpractice or errors by hospital staff before, during or just after birth.
In some cases, those responsible will acknowledge their mistakes. In others, they will not be forthcoming and errors may even by hidden. That is why it is important for parents of babies born with birth injuries who suspect medical negligence hire a team of experts proficient in investigating and litigating birth injury cases.
Kline & Specter has five full-time doctor/lawyers – including two highly skilled OB/GYNs — and is highly able at evaluating and litigating birth injury cases. Not only does this help quickly assess medical records and other factors of a case, it also provides immediate, at-hand expertise.
The firm’s lawyers have had great success in achieving major results in birth injury cases, including many eight-figure verdicts and settlements, among them:
- $57 million verdict in a case involving oxygen deprivation that resulted in cerebral palsy.
- $42 million verdict in federal court in Harrisburg for an infant who suffered severe brain damage because of a botched forceps delivery. The defendant was the U.S. government, which employed the doctor.
- $21.6 million verdict for a child born with severe brain injury, a record verdict in an Erie County, Pa., personal injury case.
- $20 million verdict for boy who went blind after birth, at the time the largest-ever medical malpractice verdict in Montgomery County.
- $19 million settlement in a case involving an overdose of Pitocin during delivery that resulted in an infant born with severe brain damage and injury to its mother.
- $18 million settlement for a baby who suffered catastrophic cerebral palsy due to a delay in performing a C-section.
- $15 million settlement in a New Jersey case against a doctor and a nurse in which an infant suffered cerebral palsy.
The following are among the most common forms of birth injuries and their symptoms:
- Cerebral Palsy can be caused by oxygen deprivation or head trauma during delivery. Symptoms can include floppy or rigid limbs and involuntary motions.
- Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is brain dysfunction caused by a lack of oxygen or blood flow to the brain.
- Brachial Plexus Injury can occur when the nerves of the brachial plexus are stretched or torn during a difficult delivery, resulting in a loss of muscle function or paralysis of the upper arm.
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken Bones
- Intracranial hemorrhage, or brain bleed, happens when blood vessels rupture and bleed into a baby’s brain tissue. The extent of the injury depends on the severity of the hemorrhage.