Chicago Birth Injury Lawyers Work to Protect Your Child
Holding negligent Illinois doctors accountable
Awaiting the birth of a child can be one of the most exciting and joyous times in an expectant parent’s life. Labor and delivery goes as expected and normally for the majority of women, but in a fraction of cases there are complications. And if obstetricians, doctors, and other medical professionals don’t perform their jobs to the highest standard if complications occur, your child could suffer harm and tragic consequences.
Some birth injuries and complications are simply unavoidable. However, some are caused by physician negligence or malpractice—perhaps your doctor missed a red flag during prenatal care, or didn’t respond properly to problems during delivery. The bottom line is that your child was injured because a medical professional was careless. The birth injury attorneys at Gainsberg Law can help. Our Chicago legal team has decades of experience protecting the rights of children and families harmed by negligent and irresponsible doctors.
Types of birth injuries
Some birth injuries are less serious than others. For example, a mild bone fracture may heal in a few weeks or months. However, severe birth injuries like cerebral palsy are extremely debilitating and last a lifetime. Other injuries that cause nerve or brain damage are typically long-term or permanent.
When a legal team investigates a claim of negligence, they can often look to the specific birth injury to theorize about what may have happened during pregnancy, labor, or delivery that caused the injury to the child. An injury to the brachial plexus, for example, could be a sign that the doctor pulled too hard on a baby’s arm in an attempt to free a child lodged behind a mother’s pubic bone.
Common birth injuries include:
- Brachial plexus injuries. A bundle of nerves in the shoulder, the brachial plexus controls movement in the arm, wrist, hand, and fingers. When the baby is stuck inside the birth canal, the doctor may need to use force to extract the baby. Pulling or stretching on the baby’s arm with excessive force can cause a brachial plexus injury. These injuries typically heal on their own over time, but more serious injuries can leave permanent nerve damage.
- Erb’s palsy. Erb’s palsy is a type of brachial plexus injury that specifically affects the upper arm. It may cause weakness or paralysis in the shoulder or upper arm, but the child is usually able to move their hands or fingers.
- Cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy, a muscle disorder, is a severe birth injury that affects motor function and causes varying levels of disability. It can be caused by birth trauma and, in the case of negligence, many cases occur from issues like delayed cesarean sections or failure to monitor a mother and baby’s vital signs during labor and delivery, causing oxygen loss to the brain.
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE occurs when there’s a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain, which can cause brain damage or even death. This is a very serious condition and can lead to conditions like cerebral palsy or hypoxia, and can happen during all stages of pregnancy. Maternal infections, preeclampsia, or umbilical cord issues can all lead to HIE.
- Forceps and vacuum injuries. In the event of a complicated or difficult labor, a doctor may need assistance freeing the baby from the birth canal. Tools like forceps or vacuum extractors can help, but, if used incorrectly or with too much force, can cause bruising or skull fractures.
- Perinatal hypoxia. Perinatal hypoxia is a lack of oxygen that can occur before or after delivery. It can cause a baby to stop breathing soon after delivery, which can lead to oxygen deprivation in the brain, which in turn can lead to brain damage. Perinatal hypoxia can result from loss of oxygen during pregnancy or delivery, from the umbilical cord wrapping around the neck, or a failure to monitor vital signs and provide proper treatment.
Other birth injuries or conditions include: kernicterus, preeclampsia, spinal cord damage, Klumpke’s palsy, shoulder dystocia, cephalohematoma, spinal bifida, or wrongful death.
Physicians and obstetricians have a responsibility to monitor patients and their babies throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery for any potential complications or emergencies. Many, if not most, of these birth injuries are preventable with careful supervision and a high standard of care during your pregnancy. If a doctor is unprepared, negligent, or careless, your child’s health is at risk.
Why do birth injuries occur?
It’s true that the process of labor and delivery is perfectly natural. It’s also true that complications can and do occur. Every mother has a different birth experience, but one element should always remain the same—that your obstetrician or doctor provides you with the highest standard of care, is prepared for any complication or contingency that may happen, and keeps the health of your child and you as the priority for all decisions.
If your doctor provides you with anything less, they may be considered negligent. Common causes of birth injuries include:
- Physician mistakes. Doctor errors or negligence can happen during labor, delivery, or even during pregnancy. Failing to treat a mother’s health condition, monitor fetal vital signs, prepare for possible complications, order an emergency C-section, or misusing birth-assisting tools can all lead to serious birth injuries.
- Delivery errors. When a medical professional is careless during labor and delivery, the infant can suffer harm. Pulling on a baby’s arm with excessive force can cause shoulder dystocia or brachial plexus injuries. Or, a failure to monitor vital signs can leave a child with a lack of oxygen, causing conditions like hypoxia and brain damage.
- Forceps and vacuum use. During some deliveries, the doctor may have trouble extracting the baby from the birth canal. Forceps or vacuum extractors can help this process along, but they must be used with the utmost care. Used improperly, these tools can cause trauma to the skull, shoulders, or other parts of the body.
Medical malpractice can leave victims in pain or disabled for the rest of their lives. Birth injuries, however, might be the worst type of malpractice. Children and babies are innocent and unaware of why they’re injured or what’s happened to them. It’s crucial that negligent and careless doctors and medical staff are held accountable when a child suffers a preventable birth injury.
Contact a Chicago birth injury lawyer for compassionate help today
If you believe your child was hurt because a doctor or obstetrician was negligent during your pregnancy, labor, or delivery, the birth injury attorneys at Gainsberg Law can help. Our experienced legal team thoroughly investigates your case, strategizes for your best interests, and seeks maximum compensation on your child’s behalf. Our goal is to ensure your child is provided the best possible quality of life. Contact us today through our contact form, or by calling 312-600-9585 to schedule a consultation.