In the United States, statistics reveal that of every 1,000 infants born, 6 to 8 are born with a birth injury. This means that about 1 in every 9,714 people in the nation are born with a birth injury. Based on this data, 28,000 infants are born with a birth injury each year – 2,333 every month, 538 every week, 76 every day, and 3 every hour.
A few of the most common kinds of birth injuries include:
· Erb’s Palsy, also medically known as Brachial Plexus Palsy
· Bone fractures
· Perinatal asphyxia
· Spinal cord injuries
· Caput succedaneum
· Subconjunctival hemorrhage
· Intracranial hemorrhage
· Cerebral Palsy
· Facial paralysis
Infants are not the only ones at risk during pregnancy and childbirth. In recent years, the rate of maternal mortality has increased significantly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 25 years ago, there were 7.2 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in the US. That number increased by more than 2 times in 2011, rising to 17.8 deaths per 100,000 births.
In many cases, when an unborn child and/or the mother are injured during labor or the delivery process, the harm may have been unavoidable under the circumstances.
But there can also be other situations where the doctor may have chosen a medically inappropriate course of treatment or failed to use proper skill and care before or during childbirth. In such cases, you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the negligent party, whether it is the doctor, hospital or other medical staff.
Birth-related medical malpractice transpire when a physician, hospital or other medical professional fails to use reasonable care, or acts negligently, and leads to one of the following:
· Injury to the infant or the mother during pregnancy or delivery
· Wrongful birth – when a pregnancy would have been avoided or ended by the parents if they had known about birth defects, or
· Wrongful pregnancy – when the attempt by the parents to evade or end a pregnancy fails
It is important to keep in mind that there are specific rules for these claims – rules about who can file a lawsuit and what damages they can recover.
St. Francis Hospital Settles Lawsuit for Brain Damage to Newborn
St. Francis Hospital settled a lawsuit with a couple from Columbus who contended that the care of two physicians employed by the hospital resulted in brain damage and developmental delays that their daughter suffered at birth.
Heather and Benjamin Carter, along with Gracie, their daughter, filed a lawsuit against St. Francis Hospital, Dr. Daniel J. Eikelberry, Dr. Susan L. Epley and the Medical Center, Inc. for issues that involved the birth of Gracie in 2011. Settlement terms were not disclosed. The case against St. Francis was scheduled for trial in Muscogee County Superior Court.
The owner of the Medical Center, Inc. at the time, Columbus Regional settled in May, 2017. Dr. Eikelberry and Dr. Epley also settled with the plaintiffs for their individual liability. Like the terms of the settlement with St. Francis, the terms of these settlements were not disclosed and remain confidential.
According to a pretrial order filed in Superior Court, pregnant with her second child, Heather Carpenter went to The Medical Center on July 28th, 2011 experiencing preterm contractions at 35 weeks of pregnancy. She was admitted by St. Francis Hospital OBGYN, Dr. Epley for monitoring for preterm labor. The hospital, at that time, did not offer labor and delivery services.
During this stage of her pregnancy, Carpenter has not undergone a test for Group B Streptococcus. Dr. Epley ordered intravenous antibiotic Ampicillin, to protect the baby in case Carpenter delivered, and magnesium sulphate to try and stop the labor. A culture for Group B Streptococcus was not ordered by Dr. Epley before she ordered the antibiotics as required by the standard of care for OB/GYN physicians.
Responding to medications given to stop her labor, Carpenter was discharged from the hospital two days later, after she was given several doses of intravenous antibiotics intended to protect the baby from a potential infection. According to the pretrial order, due to the failure to perform a Group B Streptococcus culture in accordance with the standard of care, Carpenter’s status of Group B Streptococcus remained unknown when she was discharged from the hospital.
After a few days, Carpenter was examined by another OBGYN at St. Francis, Dr. Eikelberry in his office for a regularly scheduled prenatal appointment. The doctor cultured her for Group B Streptococcus colonization at a gestation of 35 weeks. The culture was reported as negative on August 10th, 2011.
The pretrial order stated that when Dr. Eikelberry saw Carpenter in his office, he should have recognized that she had been in the hospital a few days before and has received Ampicillin, an antibiotic that is known for treating GBS effectively. He should have realized that performing a culture on that date could not have been reliable to reflect her GBS status accurately.
The decision of Dr. Eikelberry to obtain the culture after antibiotics had been administered, and his reliance on the results to manage the future care of Carpenter, was a deviation from the standard of care.
On August 18th, 2011, Carpenter went to The Medical Center in labor. The Hospital staff evaluated the labs from the OBGYN practice at St. Francis and determined that intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis for GBS was not required for Carpenter’s labor as the GBS culture in her chart was negative. At around 8:32 p.m., she delivered a baby who appeared to be healthy.
At roughly one day old, Gracie had a 102-degree Fahrenheit axillary temperature and lab tests indicated that she had an infection. Subsequent studies of her blood and spinal fluids confirmed that she had contracted GBS at birth, causing meningitis. The infection in Gracie’s brain led to seizures and she has since been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, cortical visual impairment, and generalized developmental delay.
The pretrial order stated that the fault for the condition suffered by Gracie Carpenter rested with the physicians. The Carpenter’s attorney, said that the couple did not sue for themselves, but for Gracie and her future.
When are You Entitled to Compensation in a Medical Malpractice Case?
No matter what type of medical negligence or malpractice is involved – from a childbirth injury to misdiagnosis to surgery error – you may be entitled to compensation. There are four questions you should ask yourself to determine if you are entitled to receive compensation for medical malpractice:
· Did a doctor-patient relationship exist? The question here is whether you actually hired a doctor. For example, your friend knows a doctor and you ask that friend to ask for medical advice. You cannot file a medical malpractice claim against that doctor because you were never treated by them. In this case, there was no actual doctor-patient relationship.
· Was there negligence on the doctor’s part? Was the physician not reasonably careful or skillful when providing you with a diagnosis or treatment? One of the most important things you need to do in a medical malpractice case is to show that you were injured or harmed by a doctor in a way that a competent physical would not have under the same circumstances.
· Was your injury caused by the doctor’s negligence? Another important thing you need to prove in a medical negligence or malpractice case is to prove that the negligence of the doctor was the cause of the injury or harm, and not a pre-existing condition. You must show that it is "more likely than not" that your injury was directly caused by the doctor’s incompetence. This is where it is a good idea to find a medical expert to help you with your case.
· Were there specific damages caused by the injury? Even if it is clear that the doctor performed below the standards that are expected in their field, you can only file a medical malpractice lawsuit if the injury caused by medical negligence led to actual harm. For example, if a doctor prescribed a medication incorrectly, but the patient did not suffer complications, side effects or pain, it would be reasonable to say that filing a lawsuit would be impractical. Damages that can form the basis of a medical malpractice claim may include physical pain, additional medical bills, mental anguish, loss of work, and loss of earning capacity.
When Birth Injuries Lead to Legal Action
There is a possibility that the doctor did something during the birth process, or failed to do something, and that action or inaction amounted to medical malpractice. However, it is crucial to bear in mind that it is not as simple as that. A baby with a birth-related injury alone does not mean that birth-related medical malpractice was committed by the doctor.
In some scenarios involving traumatic childbirth, fast action is required on the doctor’s part, and especially in cases where there is a danger to the health of the newborn or the mother. If the situation’s circumstances call for drastic measures, a birth injury may be considered a practical risk, or even a necessary one.
But obviously, in cases where there are no complications and labor is proceeding in a normal, proper way, it may well be concluded that the doctor was negligent if the infant ends up with a serious physical injury.
Alternatively, if fast action is necessary to control or manage a dangerous situation, and there is failure to act on the doctor’s part, that may also be considered medical negligence. The medical professional would be held legally liable for any resulting injuries.
In most cases, this occurs when the baby is in a compromised situation or medical danger – for example, deprived of vital nutrients and oxygen – in the mother’s womb and the doctor fails to perform a caesarian section within a stipulated time.
If deprivation of oxygen – hypoxia, i.e., too little supply of oxygen, or anoxia, i.e., complete lack of supply of oxygen – results in brain damage to the newborn baby, the doctors and assisting staff can be held legally liable in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
RMFW Law Handles Every Type of Birth-Related Medical Malpractice Case
Medical malpractice cases are more complex than most of the other types of personal injury cases. This is why you should seek legal assistance from a qualified and outstanding medical malpractice attorney. There are many procedures that go into filing a malpractice claim and laws and rules vary from state to state.
There is a lot you need to know and understand before filing a claim and having a lawyer can make the entire process easier for you. They can handle reviewing your documents, submitting paperwork to the appropriate agencies or offices, etc. When you meet an attorney for the first time, they will offer a free consultation to review the evidence you have in order to determine whether you not you have a credible medical malpractice case.
If you or a loved one has a child with birth injuries caused by the negligence of a doctor or any other medical professional, you should immediately seek the help of a judicious medical malpractice lawyer which RMFW Law has. If you have a valid case, your legal counselor will begin taking the necessary steps to file a medical malpractice claim on your behalf. You can receive compensation for your child’s injury and other damages.
Apart from medical bills, you can receive compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, etc. Once your attorney has reviewed your documents and evidence, they will be able to determine the value of your case and make sure that you receive fair compensation from the negligent doctor or other medical professional.
While there is nothing that can change your child’s condition, you can obtain monetary damages to help with the treatment and care that your child needs, probably for the rest of his or her life.
This is where RMFW Law needs to enter your life. We know this type of law very well. We have won millions of dollars for past clients and you too can be on this coveted list.
It is crucial to make sure that the negligent party is held responsible for the injury and harm done to your child and that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to by law. Waste no time, contact Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff, of RMFW Law at 212 697 9280 to find a profound medical malpractice attorney to handle your case.
RMFW Law’s track record in these types of cases is phenomenal. Unfortunately you don’t have a case unless a medical expert supports your claim. We can help you in this regard. If your case is viable, we will attack the other side with the truth and the law. Call us now!
You pay us nothing up front!