There are over 28,000 birth-related injuries every year, and seven out of every 1000 babies born in this country end up injured during the labor and delivery process. As disturbing as these numbers may sound, it is important to understand that many of these injuries are preventable if the medical professional overseeing the birth is providing care at or above the standards of care required of doctors and hospitals. Our law firm helps parents of babies injured at birth to get fair compensation and explains important aspects you need to know about birth injuries.
What Are the Most Frequent Birth Injuries and What Should I Do If My Baby Was Hurt?
Birth injuries are different from birth defects in the sense that most of them could have been prevented with proper medical practices during the birth, whereas birth defects can happen at any stage during the pregnancy and can be caused by external factors such as a dangerous pharmaceutical drug, improper prenatal care or simply due to genetic factors beyond anyone’s control.
Some of the most common birth injuries are:
- Cerebral Palsy – a child can suffer from cerebral palsy if he or she suffered a brain injury during birth, resulting in lack of motor development, muscle weakness and muscle spasms. Cerebral palsy can be prevented by adequate monitoring of mother and baby during labor as well as by checking for fetal distress.
- Erb’s Palsy – this injury is often caused by a medical professional pulling on the baby’s arms during birth, causing trauma to the infant’s shoulder nerves. This results in issues such as trouble moving the arms, arms bent inward and a lack of reflexes.
- Head injuries – injuries to a baby’s head and neck caused by the improper use of instruments such as a vaccum extractor.
- Oxygen deprivation – also called perinatal asphyxia, it is caused by a lack of proper oxygen supply to a baby during birth, and may lead to a pale complexion, seizures and shock.
Some birth injuries can be mild and heal without treatment over time, while others require extensive medical care and may have lifelong consequences for the child. If you believe your child suffered a preventable birth injury, it may be wise to consult with a birth injury attorney to see if you have a case.
Can I Sue My Doctor For Birth Injuries to my Baby?
Medical professionals and facilities are required to provide services that are at or above the standard of care for all patients. When a doctor makes a serious mistake or provides medical care that is below the standards for their profession, they can be held liable for a patient’s injuries on the grounds of negligence.
Preventable birth injuries caused by the negligence of a doctor or medical facility can be considered medical malpractice. Parents whose child was injured during birth may be able to seek compensation on behalf of the child. It is important to be working with a skilled birth injury attorney who can help you by conducting a thorough investigation to collect enough evidence for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
What Should I Do If My Baby Was Hurt By a Defective Drug?
There have been cases of birth defects caused by drugs prescribed to pregnant women. Those pharmaceutical drugs were originally thought to be safe, but later proved to be dangerous to unborn children. Teratogenic drugs are drugs that have been shown to cause birth defects. Examples of those drugs include Delalutin (used to prevent miscarriages) and Bendectin (used to help pregnant women fight nausea).
If a woman took a legally-prescribed substance during pregnancy and that substance caused birth defects, she may be able to sue the drug manufacturer for negligence and failing to warn patients about the risks of taking that drug while pregnant. A lawsuit may also be brought against pharmacists and physicians in some cases. This requires the help of a birth injury attorney who can help guide parents through the complexities of filing a lawsuit of this nature.
How Long Do I Have to Sue for Birth Injuries?
In Canada, the statute of limitations for filing a birth injury lawsuit is two years after a minor affected by the injury turns eighteen years old. The two-year deadline does not begin after the birth. Canadian law allows the clock to start ticking only after the child reaches the age of majority, or from the time a minor is assigned a litigation guardian.
If the person remains incapacitated after they turn eighteen, the two-year period can be extended even further. This is important because many birth injuries are not diagnosed immediately after birth. Sometimes, the injury may not be apparent for years until the child starts missing important developmental milestones or develops certain behavioral problems.
How Can a Birth Injury Lawyer Help Me?
The majority of birth injury cases fall under the medical malpractice category, and because of that, the level of complexity and skills required to navigate this type of claim means that most birth injury clients will need the help of a knowledgeable birth injury lawyer if they want to have any chances of a positive outcome. In Canada, physicians are protected by a large, well-funded organization called the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA). A recent annual report shared by the CMPA reveals that 72% of all medical malpractice cases heard in court were lost by plaintiffs and dismissed with victims receiving zero compensation.
Only a strong team of birth injury and medical malpractice attorneys can level the playing field and provide a higher chance of a positive outcome for birth injury victims looking to receive compensation for their pain, suffering and expenses. McKiggan Hebert has the right combination of seasoned attorneys to help you with your case. If you or your child suffered a birth injury with serious consequences, contact us today for a free case review.