Birth Injury Attorneys

Compassionate Oklahoma Birth Injury Attorneys

Although the United States is a hub of medical science and technology, issues during the birthing process still occur. From poor pre-natal care to problems that arise during and after birth, families tragically deal with numerous birth-related complications as a result of medical errors from a doctor or medical facility.

Birth Injuries by the Numbers

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), birth defects occur in the following:

  • One in every 33 babies experiences a birth defect (3% of all babies born in the United States).
  • 20% of all infant deaths are a result of a birth defect.
  • Some of the highest defects caused by birth injuries include muscle and bone issues, facial issues, and heart issues.
Common Birth-Related Injuries

Birthing injuries occur during the act of a child’s birth. Injuries can also occur during the course of the pregnancy before a birth. Below are some of the more common types of birthing injuries.

Brachial Palsy

Biracial Palsy occurs when a baby experiences problems in the delivery of a shoulder through the birthing canal. The shoulder or arm of a baby becomes bruised or swollen, causing nerves in those areas to be damaged. Normally, babies may recover after a few months of treatment, but tearing of the nerves can cause permanent damage. This can lead to temporary or permanent damage to the child’s ability to maintain a proper range of motion.

Perinatal Asphyxia

This occurs when a baby fails to receive enough oxygen or blood flow, leading to oxygen deficiency in the bloodstream. Asphyxiation may happen before or during the birthing process. Signs of perinatal asphyxia include a pale complexation after delivery or labored breathing. Asphyxia can cause seizures, shock, coma, and death.

Bruising or Forceps Marks

Commonly babies experience trauma when traveling through the birthing canal, which may lead to bruising. This can be caused by making contact with the mother’s pelvis bone or other tissue inside the canal. Further, doctors may use forceps (a surgical tool with hinges used to grasp objects or tissue) to move or adjust the baby through the birthing canal. Usage of forceps may leave temporary marks or impressions on the baby’s skin. Lastly, doctors may use a vacuum suction devise to help a baby through the birthing process or remove excess fluid, which may also cause bruising or marks.

Fractures

Because of the fragile nature of a baby’s skeletal structure, babies often experience bone fractures during the birthing process. Birth often causes fractures of a baby’s clavicle or collarbone (the bone connecting the shoulder to the breastplate). When this happens, babies will normally heal quickly but could experience a lump or limited movement of the arm until fully healed.

Facial Paralysis

During the birthing process, a baby may experience pressure on its face caused by contact with tissue in the birthing canal or surgical instruments used in the birthing process. Too much pressure can cause paralysis of the baby’s face preventing movement and eye closure. Temporary damage heals over a period of days, but permanent damage may require surgery to repair nerve damage.

Cephalohematoma

This occurs when the baby’s head experiences bleeding between the skull bone and its fibrous covering, causing a lump of blood to form on the baby’s scalp. The lump tends to disappear over time as the blood is absorbed by the baby. However, some babies may develop jaundice (a condition that causes yellowing of the skin or the white space of the eyes during excessive breaking down of red blood cells) as the blood cells continue to be broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream.

Caput succedaneum

Caput occurs when a baby experiences excess swelling on a baby’s scalp caused by bruising or trauma while traveling through the birth canal. In most cases, caput heals over the course of several days. Commonly, caput develops when doctors use vacuum extraction to help deliver the baby.

Injury to the Spinal Cord

Spinal cord injuries occur due to trauma in the birthing canal that puts extensive pressure on the baby’s spine. Usage of forceps can also cause trauma leading to spinal cord injury.

Deprivation of Oxygen

Oxygen deprivation often occurs when the baby stays in the birthing canal too long. When a baby is deprived of oxygen, this can lead to cerebral palsy, chronic seizures, or other brain damage like intellectual and physical issues and disorders. Even mild oxygen deprivation can have lifelong consequences.

Fetal Death

Miscarriage (death of an infant before 20 weeks of pregnancy) or stillbirth (death of an infant after 20 weeks of pregnancy), can occur because of numerous complications in the health of the mother, or issues with the pregnancy. Fetal death can occur because the baby suffers from genetic abnormalities, complications in the mother’s uterus, medication or treatment errors, or infection.

Negligent Causes of Birth Injuries

Even though birth issues are a relatively common phenomenon and may be caused naturally during childbirth, many injuries can also be caused by surgical errors or negligence from the healthcare provider charged with delivering the baby. Issues caused by medical negligence may include:

  • Failure to identify pregnancy-induced hypertension or gestational diabetes.
  • Misuse of medical equipment like forceps or vacuum suction devices.
  • Prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong dose, which can cause dangerous side effects to the mother or child while the mother is carrying the baby to term.
  • Failure to respond to various issues during the birthing process like excessive bleeding, an entanglement of the umbilical cord causing suffocation or oxygen deprivation, or other fetal distress.
  • Delaying or mishandling a Cesarean Section (c-section).
  • Miscommunication between doctors and other medical staff during a medical procedure.
  • Unnecessary surgical procedures.
  • Failure to provide adequate testing or treatment for infant injuries.
  • Complications in genetic testing.

Doctors should be aware of all of these complications as they arise during the pregnancy. Further, doctors have the capacity to conduct numerous medical tests and evaluations before prescribing any medications, engaging in treatment, or delivering children to prevent many forms of injuries.

How Can a Birth-Related Injury Attorney Help Your Case?

Birth injuries lead to tragic outcomes for both the child and their family. Birth injuries may require months or years of costly medical treatment, physical or occupational therapy, and other expensive expediters to accommodate a child’s disability or illness. An experienced Oklahoma birth injury attorney can help walk families through the process of seeking financial compensation for their child’s injury or defect.

Investigating Claims

An Oklahoma birth injury attorney is the best position to investigate whether a child has experienced a birth injury. Because attorneys handle clients struggling with these issues on a daily basis, they have the knowledge to parse through complicated medical records and seek expert opinions on whether a child has suffered a birth injury.

Determining Fault

Like many states, negligence falls under tort law (personal injury law). Under a medical malpractice negligence claim, a plaintiff must show that their health care provider had a duty to act, breached that duty, the breach of the duty caused the injury, and the injury led to financial hardship.

To prove birth-related medical malpractice claims, attorneys need to collect the proper evidence and craft an appropriate legal strategy to show a health care provider deviated from their proper standard of care (“do no harm”) and caused the baby or mother’s injury. This can include collecting material evidence in the form of medical bills and diagnostic testing results. Evidence may also include testimony from expert opinions regarding the impact certain injuries or techniques have on children.

Filing a Claim

An injured party (in this case, a family representing their child’s interests) has seven years from the date of the injury to file a claim under Oklahoma Statutes §12-96. This is normally called a “statute of limitations.” Although seven years may seem like a long time for some, some defects or illnesses may not appear until later in life or go undiagnosed. This is why if a family believes their child has a defect caused by a birthing injury, they should immediately contact an attorney.

Seeking Compensation

The ultimate goal of filing a medical malpractice claim is to earn compensation for a child’s welfare. This can include funds to pay for ongoing medical treatment and procedures; physical, occupational, or social and emotional therapy; and pain and suffering caused by the medical provider’s negligence. Because these medical procedures and treatments can be costly, it is best for a family to maintain records of their child’s healthcare to provide ample evidence for their attorneys to use in the claim filing process.

Contact a Graves McClain Birth Injury Attorney Today

If your child has suffered a birth injury due to medical malpractice, you need an experienced attorney at your side. The attorneys at Graves McLain will carefully and thoroughly prepare your case, working diligently with medical experts to help you receive the maximum compensation for your child’s injuries. Our attorneys have been successfully providing legal counseling and guidance for parents during this tumultuous and emotional period in their life to ensure that they receive a fair outcome and compensation for the pain and suffering they have been unjustly forced to endure. No matter what your unique situation may be, our team is here to help. Please contact us today for a free consultation by visiting our website, or calling us at 918-359-6600.

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