Pennsylvania – New Jersey
The Pennsylvania Birth Injury Lawyers at Kane & Silverman understand how life changing it can be when you discover you’re newborn’s been injured. This usually occurs when a medical professional or staff member makes a mistake before, during or after the birth process. The effects of a birth injury leaves these precious babies disabled for the rest of their lives.
This is why it’s so important to file a lawsuit as soon as possible if your baby has suffered brain damage, cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy or other medical complication at birth. Most likely your child will need a lifetime of constant care and you should be compensated to help with those inevitable high costs.
Depending on the birth injury, it’s difficult to identify how much you will actually need to care for your child. Our New Jersey and Pennsylvania Birth Injury Lawyers compassionately and professionally keep you well informed about your birth injury lawsuit every step of the way. Our personal injury attorneys have over 25 years of experience advocating for your rights and families like yours.
Contact our highly experienced and award winning Birth Injury Lawyers located in Marlton, NJ and Philadelphia, PA, 24 hours a day.
A birth injury can be traumatic and you may not know where to turn for more information. Knowledge is always power when you feel powerless, so the following are some helpful resources to help you navigate through this difficult time.
Types Of Birth Injuries
There are a number of pregnancy issues that can result in neurological and brain damage. These occurrences can cause a lifetime of hardships and problems. Some of these are not even a result of malpractice or labor negligence including infections and genetic abnormalities. Others are a direct result of malpractice or labor negligence including lack of oxygen to brain, skull compression, hydrocephalus, ischemia, umbilical cord compression, and premature separation of the placenta from the uterus.
Brain injury to a newborn can eventually lead to cerebral palsy, special therapy, lifetime attendant care, lifetime medical equipment, cognitive rehab and emotional support and family counseling.
Simply put, Shoulder Dystocia (also known as Erb’s Palsy and Brachial Plexus) is a condition caused by an injury to the brachial plexus, which are the nerves surrounding the shoulder. While one out of every five hundred newborns will suffer some form of bronchial nerve injury, only one newborn out of every five thousand will require surgery to treat Erb’s Palsy. Surgery is not the first resort and is usually recommended when a newborn shows no improvement within the first four months following delivery.
These injuries usually occur when the neck and head are drawn to the side when the shoulders exit the birth canal. However a breech birth, excessive pulling or poor use of labor tools may also lead to injury. To repair the brachial plexus, or the nerves that surround the shoulder, medical professionals may have to graft nerves or release tendons or muscles.
Klumpke’s Palsy, also known as Klumpke’s paralysis is a type of brachial plexus palsy that causes paralysis of the muscles of the hand and forearm. To suffer from Klumpke’s Palsy, the lower nerve roots of the brachial plexus including roots at the C8 (eighth cervical vertebrae) and T1 (first thoracic vertebrae) will become injured. It is rare to have an isolated situation involving only Klumpke’s Palsy so the term is usually spoken about when there is palsy of the brachial plexus.
While there is no formal treatment for Klumpke’s Palsy physical therapy or occupational therapy, or both, may help. The following must be taken into consideration to assess the probability of an injury to the brachial plexus:
- previous large birth weight babies
- gestational diabetes
- previous c-sections
- physical size of mother
Doctors refer to a lack of oxygen to a baby’s brain as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy or more simply put hypoxia. When this develops during birth it can become life-threatening and have a high potential to cause serious and permanent brain damage. Hypoxia may also lead to abnormal tone and reflexes, problems with feeding and problems with breathing.
Studies show that between 15 and 20 percent of all infants suffering from hypoxia will die during the newborn period with another 25 percent of those that survive suffering from permanent problems including cerebral palsy and mental retardation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are various causes for hypoxia in addition to birth problems including cigarette smoking, carbon monoxide and placental insufficiency.
Labor and delivery negligence are an unfortunate result of neglect that causes damage on a mother or child during delivery or shortly thereafter by a medical professional because necessary steps were not taken to prevent it. There are a variety of negligent actions that can or cannot be committed by a medical professional including:
- failure to diagnose medical condition
- failure to monitor fetus
- delayed causation
- medication errors
- anesthesia errors
- improper use of extractors
- failure to prevent or treat umbilical cord strangulation
Regardless of the serious of events that lead to labor and delivery negligence, serious consequences often result including cerebral palsy, erb’s palsy, klumpke’s palsy, paralysis, brachial plexus and brain damage. Make sure that your that your legal professional understands how to interpret fetal heart strips and delivery room records. Make sure that your legal professional is familiar with ACOG guidelines.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the most common birth injuries?
The most common birth place injuries are brachial plexus injury, infant brain damage, birth head trauma, breech delivery injury, cerebral palsy birth injury, failure to diagnose down syndrome, fetal distress and oxygen deficiency.
- Are birth injuries common?
Less than 1/2 of 1% of all deliveries result in a birth injury, or roughly 5 births out of every 1000.
- Who is responsible for my child's birth injury?
There is not always a definitive answer to this question because it is often difficult to determine whether any medical negligence existed or if the problem occurred before birth.
- What is shoulder dystocia?
Shoulder dystocia is a problem occurring when the shoulder gets stuck in the birth canal during vaginal delivery. It can lead to serious nerve injury to the baby’s arm and shoulder and thus needs to be monitored closely so that a C-section or early delivery can be arranged.
- Are there different types of cerebral palsy?
Yes, there are several types of cerebral palsy that can be linked directly to birth trauma including:
- Spastic Cerebral Palsy
- Spastic Quadriplegia
- Athetoid Cerebral Palsy
- Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
- Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy
- Mixed Cerebral Palsy
- What kinds of damages can be collected from a birth injury claim?
When a case is resolved successfully, you may be able to collect pain and suffering, medical expenses, future medical care, lost wages, life care plan expenses, and diminished earning capacity.
- Who receives the money if the claim is successful?
In most cases damages will be awarded to the child with the money being placed in a trust fund or blocked account that is subject to court order and review.