What to Do If Your Baby Suffered Labor and Delivery Injuries in Oregon
The labor and delivery process can be a stressful event for a woman in labor, but also is likely one of the most important and memorable life events for them. While labor and delivery always carries risks, some are avoidable while others are unavoidable. Avoidable labor and delivery injuries should never happen. This is because these types of injuries are due to pure negligence. Injuries sustained from labor and delivery may seriously harm the mother, child, or both. Labor ad delivery injuries from this negligence could be compensable under Oregon law.
This is because Oregon law allows victims of the negligent acts or omissions of another to file a lawsuit to recover compensation. This compensation can be for a myriad of different damages. While many times the compensation cannot replace the harm that was done, it can help a family pay medical bills, lost wages, and pay for future care and treatment. This is particularly true if labor and delivery injuries cause catastrophic harm that is permanent and disability. Unfortunately, most labor and delivery injuries are caused to the defenseless and innocent newborn who often suffer greatly for these errors and damages. Learn how our Oregon medical malpractice lawyers can help protect your rights to compensation.
Hypoxic Injuries and Labor and Delivery
A common way to know that your newborn has suffered personal injuries during labor and delivery is if there is a hypoxic injury. A hypoxic injury is a type of injury that results when a person receives less oxygen than he or she needs and there is a deficiency. This oxygen deficiency is dangerous because it will slowly cause damage to tissue and organs. The brain being the most demanding organ for oxygen, and then the heart. If a parent sees that a baby has a hypoxic injury after birth, it is likely that there was a labor and delivery injury that could have been caused by medical malpractice.
This is in opposition to an anoxic injury, which is a type of injury that is a complete lack of oxygen. That is very deadly and often learns to immediate and catastrophic personal injury.
Another note with hypoxic injuries, the most common is a type known as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy or HIE. This is a type of hypoxic injury that is caused by a lack of or restriction of oxygenated blood to the brain. As a result, the lack of oxygenated blood to the brain results in brain damage. This brain damage can be catastrophic leading to serious brain damage causing cerebral palsy, developmental disorders, seizure disorders, and other devastating brain conditions.
Common Causes of Labor and Delivery Injuries
Labor and delivery injuries could occur due to variety of reasons. Most of the causes are due to the negligence of a healthcare provider. This negligence could be an affirmative act, such as dropping a baby or pulling on a baby’s arm during delivery. Or this negligence could be an omission, such as failing to perform a c-section or other emergency procedure. A few common reasons include the following:
- Skull fracture or bruises as a result of wrongful use of forceps or vacuum extractors during delivery
- Failure to diagnose the mother’s preeclampsia – a potentially life-threatening maternal illness that can occur as the result of pregnancy, leading to life-threatening complications for mother and baby
- Anesthesia errors during a C-section
- Delaying C-section, thus endangering mother’s or the child’s life.
- Misdiagnosis and improper treatment of jaundice, leading to kernicterus
- Failure to notice umbilical cord wrapped around the child neck, thus resulting in permanent brain damage of the child due to lack of oxygen
- Mistakes during administration and management of epidurals or spinal blocks
- Administering the wrong dosage of antibiotics or labor inducing drugs
- Failure to remove all medical supplies (i.e. sponges) from the mother before finishing a c-section
- Organ perforation during a c-section
- Uterine Rupture
- Dropping a baby during the birthing process, causing injury to the baby
- Failure to identify and control bleeding
- Failure to monitor contractions for declarations and accelerations
The examples above are all circumstances that could be avoided if a mother and her baby receive the appropriate standard of care monitoring and treatment. A healthcare provider’s failure to adhere to providing standard of care treatment (i.e. close monitoring of mother and baby throughout labor and delivery, following hospital protocols such as counting sponges before closing the patient, etc.) can result in serious complications for the mother and baby, including wrongful death.
Signs that a Labor and Delivery Injury Has Occurred
The presence of a birth injury or injury to the mother during labor and delivery can sometimes be detected shortly after birth. These signs and symptoms include the following:
- Low Apgar score at birth
- Noticeable paralysis or weakness of one limb or one side of the infants body
- Seizures (mother or baby)
- Issues with feeding the child.
- Inconsolable or very agitated newborn
- Maternal fever, indicating infection
- Physical distortion of a newborn (i.e. limb, facial drooping, etc.)
- Death of the newborn or mother
- Internal bleeding, possibly due to a physician or surgeon’s error
Types of Deliver and Labor Injuries
Birth injuries classified into various types. They affect different parts of the body and could range from mild to severe. They are:
- Brain Injuries: This is one of the most serious types of injuries resulting from labor and delivery. Brain injuries or damage can occur for the mother or child. This may include cerebral hemorrhage or brain bleed or anoxic brain injury (lack or oxygen to the brain, resulting in brain damage).
- Peripheral Nerve Damage: This includes nerve damage to the mother or baby. Any damage to peripheral nerve during delivery can cause serious injury to the newborn or mother which could lead limited mobility and function of the mother or child. Brachial plexus injuries are an example of these types of injuries.
- Bone Fractures: Another type of delivery injury is bone fractures. This usually happens in breech births (when the baby is born bottom first and not the usual head first), or when the baby is slightly larger in size. The bones of babies are quite soft so they have the propensity to break more easily.
- Cranial Nerve Damage: The damage to cranial nerve takes place when the baby does not come out of the birth canal safely. An infant who is afflicted with cranial nerve damage may have a facial palsy.
How Can Our Oregon Labor and Delivery Medical Malpractice Help You?
While some injuries during labor and delivery sadly unavoidable, there are injuries that occur every day that could have been prevented. Physicians and medical providers who cause these injuries should be held liable. If you or your child suffered an injury during the labor and delivery process, you may be eligible for compensation for these injuries. Compensation for these types of injuries typically includes the following:
- Past physical pain and suffering
- Future physical pain and suffering
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Past, present and future medical bills
- Burial and funeral expenses if injury caused wrongful death
- Rehabilitation coverage
- Assistive device coverage
- Loss of consortium
These are just a few of the many examples of compensation for an injury sustained during the labor and delivery process.
Ask Our Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers for Help
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.