What Are My Rights After Birth Injuries From Medical Malpractice in Oregon Hurts My Baby?
The birth of a child can be a wonderful and memorable experience. Meeting your child for the first time is one of life’s greatest experiences. Unfortunately, there are instances in which your baby is harmed during the birthing process. While some birth injuries are unavoidable, there are many instances in which a newborn’s birth injuries from medical malpractice in Oregon could have been avoided, prevented, and otherwise should not have occurred but for the negligent actions or omissions of a healthcare provider. The parents of the birth injury victims can file a case against the healthcare facility or the doctor’s medical negligence which has led to the child’s birth injury.
Here at Kuhlman Law, our Portland, Oregon bodily injury law firm handles all types of personal injuries, including injuries to a baby, nursing home resident, from a trucking accident, and other types of serious or catastrophic damages. Many of the cases that we accept are relating to medical malpractice, meaning the negligent actions or omissions of a healthcare provider. There are many possible individuals who could be liable for medical malpractice in Oregon, which includes the following:
- Doctors or physicians
- Physician assistants
- Nurse practitioners
- Medical students/residents exercising independent judgment
- Primary care physicians or family doctors
- OB-GYNs, and
- Many other healthcare providers including at hospitals, nursing homes, out-patient offices, and other healthcare facilities.
What is a Birth Injury?
Birth injuries are injuries that occur during the labor and delivery process. While some are sadly unpreventable, there are injuries that occur as the result of negligence on behalf of the provider.
While some injuries may be minor, others may be permanent and may require lifetime care.
Why Do Birth Injuries Occur?
While there are many reasons birth injuries occur, a few reasons include the following:
- Failure to monitor for fetal distress
- Improperly monitoring of accelerations and decelerations (contractions). This is a serious “miss” on behalf of the provider as this can lead to limited oxygen flow to the infant which can cause an anoxic brain injury (cerebral palsy)
- Opting for a vaginal birth when it is not safe
- Waiting too long to perform a c-section
- Failing to recognize and diagnose pre-eclampsia and eclampsia
- Failing to identify respiratory distress at birth, leading to an anoxic brain injury
- Failure to identify and intervene in the case of umbilical cord prolapse or rupture
- Improper monitoring of the mother. This includes oxygen saturation, blood sugar, blood pressure and pulse
- Failure to use extraction tools appropriately, leading to a multitude of birth injuries
- Improper or overuse of labor-inducing drugs (i.e. Pitocin)
- Improperly handling the baby at birth (i.e dropping the baby during delivery, excessive force used, etc.)
Common Types of Birth Injuries from Medical Malpractice in Oregon
Brachial Palsy: The brachial plexus is a very complex network of nerves that run between the neck and shoulders. These nerves control the muscles in the arms, chest, should and hands. Thus, if injury to the brachial plexus occurs, there can be a great alteration in functioning which may require rehabilitation or even lifelong therapies and modifications. These injuries typically occur as a result of improper use of instruments for removal from the birth canal or excessive force. These types of injuries can result in a baby not being able to move their hand, shoulder or arm.
Rehabilitation for this type of injury may take months or more and can be quite costly. In some instances, as mentioned above these injuries can be permanent and will therefore mean that the baby will have a lifetime of additional needs due to their injury.
Bruising or Forceps Marks: During childbirth, some babies may have difficulty passing through the birth canal, thus needing forceps or a vacuum extraction to guide them through the birth. A doctor required thorough knowledge of when and how to use such medical devices, because if they are properly used, it may cause some bruising or cuts on their scalp and forcep marks. This may lead to permanent scarring which could require surgery or cause emotional pain and suffering.
Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral palsy is a devastating birth injury which can have lifelong effects for the newborn. Cerebral palsy is a result of either physical trauma during birth or oxygen deprivation during the birthing process. While not all cases of cerebral palsy are due to medical malpractice, there are many cases that are due to medical malpractice and could have been prevented. CP birth injuries are quite devastating as they can affect the way a person walks, talks, moves, swallows, thinks and breathes. The child may be unable to dress themselves, feed themselves, attend a typical school and may be prone to many other illnesses as a result of their fragile state. If severe, a baby with cerebral palsy may require lifelong care and could have a very poor quality of life. This type of injury can be due to prolonged labor or fetal distress that did not receive proper intervention.
Brain Injury: this can occur due to a variety of errors that can happen during birth. Brain injuries include cerebral hemorrhages, cephalohematomas, subarachnoid hemorrhages, or oxygen deprivation which can result in severe cognitive impairment. While not all of these birth traumas are a result of medical malpractice, many are and may have a lasting impact on the child’s life.
Collarbone or Clavicle Fracture: A collarbone or a clavicle fracture commonly occurs during a difficult delivery. A firm lump shall be formed on the clavicle in the first ten days from its birth.
Paralysis of the Face: Injury caused to the facial nerves can result in paralysis of the face. Such injuries may be caused when forceps are used during childbirth which results in damage to the facial nerves. This may cause the child to not be able to move part of their face as well as inhibited function of the eyelid. In cases of severe facial paralysis injury, the child may need to undergo surgery to have it corrected. In best case scenarios, the paralysis of the face can improve in several weeks. This type of injury may be mild, moderate, or severe and may or may not be permanent.
All of these are types of birth injuries from medical malpractice in Oregon that could be avoided with the proper care and treatment of a healthcare provider.
How Can Our Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers Help You?
While birth injuries may be unavoidable, there are many instances in which they could have been avoided. Medical staff many not be forthcoming about their errors and may tell you that these injuries were not preventable. However, this is not always the case which is why your child’s birth injury should be fully investigated. This is because many of these birth injuries can have lifelong consequences for the baby. Many of these consequences can be quite costly and can cause a very poor quality of life for the child. If your child suffered a birth injury, our lawyers encourage you to contact our medical malpractice lawyers today to determine if you may be eligible for compensation. Compensation for these injuries may include the following:
- Past pain and suffering
- Future pain and suffering
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Physical therapy coverage
- Occupational therapy coverage
- Speech therapy coverage
- Assistive device coverage
- Caregiver coverage if the child needs lifetime care
- Lost wages
- Lost future wages
- Past, present and future medical bills
Ask our Portland Medical Malpractice Lawyers for Help with Damages to a Newborn Baby
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form. We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.
Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles, St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.
We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.