Indianapolis Birth Injury Lawyers
Approximately 87,000 babies are born each year in Indiana hospitals and birthing centers. Most deliveries are a cause for celebration. But sometimes a baby may suffer a serious birth injury during delivery or as a result of negligent prenatal care.
New parents who have experienced the trauma of a birth injury may wonder what they could have done to prevent the injury and whether the doctor or delivery team was at fault.
Unfortunately, some birth injuries occur despite the best care. Others occur because signs and symptoms were missed prenatally or the delivery staff failed to respond promptly to signs of a difficult delivery. No parent can know with certainty whether a birth injury was preventable without expert guidance.
About Our Indiana Birth Injury Attorneys
The Indianapolis birth injury attorneys at Baker & Gilchrist help families who suspect that their infant has suffered a preventable birth injury. We work with licensed doctors and medical professionals to evaluate your medical records and make a determination as to whether a preventable medical error occurred. It’s a service we provide without charge. It’s important for families to have reliable information about what happened so you can move forward.
With over 60 years of combined litigation experience, Rex Baker and Caroline A. Gilchrist have the dedication and skill to hold accountable doctors and hospitals that have harmed families as a result of substandard prenatal or delivery room care.
Call us today or use our online contact form to have us review your case free of charge.
Medical Malpractice Involving Birth Injuries
Medical malpractice is a complicated area of Indiana law. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, delivery team or birthing center fails to deliver the recognized standard of medical care and causes a birth injury.
The facts involving birth injuries vary greatly. With any delivery, a doctor who is carefully monitoring a mother and baby should anticipate certain complications and act quickly to avoid childbirth injuries.
A 2010 study in the American Journal of Gynecology estimated that birth injuries resulting from trauma occur in about 26 of every 1,000 deliveries. Larger infants are more difficult to deliver and more susceptible to birth injuries caused by the use of excessive force from obstetrical tools such as forceps or vacuum devices.
Common Types of Birth Injuries:
When a delivery becomes complicated or difficult, the doctor may use forceps or other birth-assisting tools to help get the baby out. Although these tools have been common practice in delivery rooms for years, it is not uncommon for mothers and their newborns to sustain an injury from their use. Newborns are most likely to suffer broken collarbones or similar injuries. Bone fractures during delivery will generally heal on their own with proper treatment and care.
Brachial Plexus Injury (BPI)
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, brachial plexus injury (BPI) is a term used to describe a series of conditions affecting the brachial plexus nerve network in the upper limbs. The majority of BPIs are caused as a result of trauma such as shoulder dystocia which can occur during the delivery process. If a baby’s shoulder becomes stuck or lodged on the mother’s pubic bone (shoulder dystocia) it may lead to the brachial plexus nerves being stretched, torn, compressed, or separated during delivery.
Damage to the brachial plexus can cause a loss of feeling or motion in the child’s neck, shoulder, arm or hand. In some instances, this injury might lead to permanent paralysis.
When too much pressure is applied to the top of a baby’s head during a difficult or long delivery, it may cause bruising, discoloration, swelling or a lump on the scalp. This condition is known as Caput Succedaneum. Although it may cause temporary discomfort to the child, Caput Succedaneum is not generally life-threatening. However, in certain circumstances, it can lead to further health issues or complications.
Cephalohematoma is a medical condition which can develop after a delivery in which birth-assisting tools were used or trauma was sustained. While not considered by doctors to be serious, this condition does involve damaged blood vessels and the pooling of blood between the inner layers of the baby’s skin and his or her skull. The child may also be at an increased risk of developing jaundice.
Cerebral Palsy is a chronic neurological disorder which may be caused by injury or damage to the developing brain. The disorder has been linked to a lack of oxygen to the brain during delivery. The damage significantly impairs motor function, control, coordination, tone, reflex and mobility. About two or three of every 1,000 children develop cerebral palsy. Cerebralpalsy.org reports that as many as 10 percent of cerebral palsy cases result from complications during the birth process or during a c-section. Cerebral palsy is a life-long condition which currently has no cure.
Facial paralysis may occur during delivery as a result of trauma. The nerve damage sustained can be either temporary or permanent, and symptoms are generally seen when the baby cries. Facial paralysis involves an inhibited ability or lack of control over facial muscles. In many cases, the child will regain mobility over time.
Intracranial or Subarachnoid Hemorrhage
An intracranial hemorrhage is a life-threatening condition caused by bleeding inside the skull. This type of hemorrhage is commonly broken down into the subarachnoid hemorrhage, which involves bleeding between the brain and the tissue covering the brain, and the intracerebral hemorrhage caused by bleeding on the brain. Hemorrhages can be caused when excessive pressure is applied or other injury is sustained before, during or shortly after birth.
Babies who do not receive sufficient oxygen, either as a result of an oxygen deficiency in the blood or an insufficient flow to blood to the fetus or newborn, can develop Perinatal Asphyxia. This condition can cause breathing difficulties, a pale complexion, seizures, shock or put the baby in a coma. In some instances, it will resolve on its own; however this birth injury is capable of leaving a child with permanent neurological damage.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are one of the most severe birth injuries caused by traumatic damage to the spinal nerves, cord or as a result of meningeal tears. Spinal cord injuries are generally suffering in difficult or complex deliveries in which forceps or other birth-assisting tools were used. Injuries to the spinal cord can cause temporary or permanent paralysis and significant neurological problems.
Pursuing Compensation After a Birth Injury in Indiana
Proving that a baby’s birth injury resulted from a preventable doctor error is challenging. It requires a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney and the expertise of medical professionals.
As specified in the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act, a panel of health care providers must review proposed birth injury claims before they can be filed as a birth injury lawsuit in court. The health care panel gives an opinion as to whether the evidence supports the conclusion that the obstetrician or delivery team failed to follow the appropriate standard of care and caused a preventable birth injury.
Contact Our Indianapolis Birth Injury Lawyers
We recognize that a birth injury takes an emotional and financial toll on parents and may require ongoing medical treatment. But you do not have to shoulder that heavy load by yourself. We are here to assist if we can.
You may be entitled to compensation to help with your baby’s ongoing expenses. It’s important for you to have trustworthy answers about what really happened in the delivery room so you can move forward.
The compassionate Indianapolis birth injuries attorneys at Baker & Gilchrist stand ready to assist families who have experienced a birth injury. Call us today or use our online contact form to have us review your case free of charge.