Atlanta Birth Injury Lawyers

Modern medicine has come a long way when it comes preventing potential problems associated with pregnancies and childbirth. Unfortunately, even in the 21st century with advanced tools and treatment methods, things sometimes go wrong.

What types of childbirth injuries can occur?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 587 deaths per 100,000 live births each year in the United States. The leading causes of infant deaths in the U.S. are congenital malformations, chromosomal abnormalities, deformations, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and disorders related to short gestation and low birth weights. Statistics suggest birth injuries occur in seven out of every 1,000 births in the U.S. and many of these events occur during the birthing process itself. Some examples of birth injuries that can happen to an infant include:

  • Cerebral palsy, a condition that can happen before, during, or after a baby’s birth.
  • Traumatic brain injury, including oxygen deprivation, which is a life-altering injury.
  • Erb’s palsy is sometimes the result when a baby’s nerves located in the arms are damaged.
  • Brachial plexus is when an injury occurs to the group of nerves linking the spinal cord to the nerves in the neck arms, and shoulders.
  • Lacerations, bruising, or forceps marks are left on a baby’s face or head from childbirth.
  • Broken bones or fractures that occur during the birth process.
  • Cephalohematoma is pooling of blood on the skull that usually resolves itself but sometimes has serious complications.

If your child has suffered any of these, or other conditions, related to prenatal care or childbirth, it’s a good idea to consult with a birth injury attorney to see if you are a victim of medical malpractice. Some conditions can be resolved within the weeks or months after an infant is born, but others may have a permanent effect on a child’s life, following them into adulthood. Sadly, many of these injuries probably could have been prevented.

Types of common maternal injuries

People usually think about infants when the phrase birth injury is heard, however, mothers can— and are— very affected by the birth process too. In the 18th century one in 100 women died in childbirth, but today that figure is about one in 4,000. Injuries are also less common then they were in previous generations but are still more common than you’d think.

Most women endure routine aches and discomfort during pregnancy and some level of pain during childbirth. However, occasionally a mother is seriously injured during pregnancy or when giving birth. These injuries can be temporary or permanent, creating physical injury, pain, or emotional distress. Here are some common maternal injuries.

  • Preeclampsia, if not diagnosed during pregnancy, can lead to high blood pressure, potentially harming mother and child.
  • Uterine rupture caused by problems associated with drugs used to induce labor.
  • Vaginal or anal tears which heal but some cause long-term discomfort, especially if not diagnosed and treated after delivery.
  • Episiotomy is a surgical cut a doctor makes to enlarge the vagina to assist in easier childbirth (and to avoid tears in some cases). Once common, today it is a less-utilized procedure, but still in practice. If done improperly, it can lead to discomfort and/or infection.
  • Epidurals and Caesarean sections are both common procedures used during childbirth but sometimes cause injury in a woman either due to anesthesia or from other steps taken during these procedures.
  • Pelvic organ prolapse can occur when the tissues and muscles supporting pelvic organs become loose or weak and cannot provide necessary support.
  • Pelvic fractures or pelvic muscle damage are common but most cases are never diagnosed by doctors after childbirth, yet between 50 and 80 percent of women experience tearing of pelvic muscle and skin.

After childbirth, if you have pain during sex, urination, or bowel movements, this could signal you’ve experienced a birth injury. Other symptoms you may have a maternal injury could be excessive or long-term bleeding that doesn’t stop or back pain that doesn’t resolve within the first four to eight weeks post-partum. If your healing process is delayed or your symptoms ignored by your doctor, you could be a victim of medical malpractice.

Potential grounds for lawsuits related to birth injuries

Pregnancy and birth-related injuries, like other medical malpractice cases, are based on negligence. Here is a list of some of the most common examples of events that can occur during pregnancy and childbirth that may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit related to birth injuries.

  • Misdiagnosis of medical conditions in either mother or child
  • Negligence affecting prenatal care, childbirth, and post-partum care
  • Excessive or unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Mistakes in administering or prescribing medications
  • Placental abnormalities
  • Mother’s gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia
  • Surgical errors
  • Premature delivery
  • Mistakes made with anesthesia
  • Physical injury to the baby during injury
  • Improper use of birthing tools (i.e. forceps and vacuum extraction)

If you, or your baby, have suffered a physical injury during pregnancy or childbirth, you should consult with an attorney right away. Your lawyer will make sure you and your child’s rights are protected in the event either of you are a victim of medical malpractice. He or she will also work hard to ensure you receive monetary compensation to pay any ongoing medical bills or receive compensation for your pain and suffering due to the negligence of a medical provider.