Do You Need a Denver Birth Injury Attorney?
Every expectant parent has hopes and dreams for their soon-to-be-born baby. Of course, primarily, we all want a healthy baby. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Negligence during prenatal care, labor, or delivery can lead to a baby being born with cerebral palsy, a head injury, brain damage, nerve damage, or other injuries. A baby might also be disfigured from the aggressive use of forceps during delivery.
There are many other ways injuries can occur in the delivery room, but when these injuries are the result of careless procedures that harm the health of the baby or the mother, or when medical malpractice occurs, your baby can suffer a lifetime of serious consequences. While a birth injury can occur even when everyone does everything right, when medical negligence is the cause, call the Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya.
Helping the injured in Colorado for over 25 years.
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When we take your case, you are our priority.
Perhaps you feel something was just not quite “right” about your delivery, leading to an injury or disability for your child, we will investigate your case, putting the finest medical experts to work reviewing your records and the medical procedures which occurred. With our economic specialists, we’ll develop a comprehensive plan which can help you provide your child with the medical care, education, and other special requirements he or she requires.
Our birth injury attorneys are willing and able to take on negligent doctors, hospitals, obstetricians, midwives, nurses, and their insurance companies. While we are highly skilled negotiators, we are also experienced, aggressive litigators who will not hesitate to take your case before a jury to obtain the compensation your child deserves.
The Most Serious Birth Injuries
Three of the most serious birth injuries include:
If your child has been diagnosed with Brachial Palsy, this means that during the birth, there was an injury to the nerves which travel from the neck, through the shoulder region, down to the arm and hand. The Brachial Plexus nerves provide “electrical power” to the muscles of the arm. Brachial Palsy occurs in one to three of every 1,000 babies born. The severity of the Brachial Palsy will depend on where the nerve injury occurs and whether the injury is a stretch, a partial tear or a total tear. In about half of all cases of Brachial Palsy, the injury will heal itself in the first few weeks of life. If the weakness of the area persists at six months, nerve surgery may be advised.
Other children may undergo muscle, joint, or tendon surgery between the ages of two and five years. Brachial Palsy is a serious condition, but a treatable one. However, in too many cases, the condition resulted from the negligence of a medical professional. Brachial palsy is a medical condition that can often be foreseeably anticipated and possibly prevented when the medical professional’s full attention is focused on the case at hand. If there is a failure to monitor you or your baby during birth and your child is diagnosed with Brachial Palsy as a result, the doctor could be held responsible for the child’s condition. Some of the causes of Brachial Palsy include:
- When the baby’s shoulder becomes lodged against the mother’s pelvic bone, special care during the delivery is necessary. To prevent injury, obstetricians must be familiar with the necessary techniques required to avoid lodging of the baby’s shoulder as well as how to deal with the problem should it arise.
- During a difficult birth, the doctor may attempt to deliver the baby using forceps or other forms of excessive pressure to the baby’s head and shoulders, leading to nerve damage. Doctors who have the necessary experience in newborn delivery should be aware of techniques to avoid damage to the baby during a difficult delivery.
- Vacuum machines are sometimes used during a difficult delivery; when used improperly, the machine can lead to nerve damage to the neck and shoulders.
- In the vast majority of births, babies position themselves to be born head-first. In a few cases, the baby is breech, or feet first. When a doctor becomes aware of a breech birth, a preventative birthing plan should be put into place to ensure the safest delivery of the baby. If proper precautions are not taken, excess pressure and stress can be placed on the baby’s neck, head, and shoulders.
Your physician must be sufficiently experienced and trained to recognize certain birth issues which could potentially lead to the development of Brachial Palsy. The doctor may have failed to recognize an exceptionally large baby, fetal distress of the baby or malposition of the baby. The doctor may also have failed to recognize a compressed or entrapped umbilical cord, could have misused labor-stimulating drugs like Pitocin or could have failed to order a C-section in a timely manner. Any of these failures to recognize or act could be considered medical malpractice and may entitle you to a settlement for your baby’s medical condition.
Erb’s Palsy is a form of brachial plexus palsy, named for one of the doctors who first described the condition. The network of nerves near the neck, which provide feeling and movement to the arm, hand, and fingers are known as the brachial plexus. When the upper nerves are affected, the condition is known as Erb’s Palsy. The infant may not be able to move his or her shoulder but is able to move the fingers. About one out of every 1,000 babies is diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy, which is often caused when the baby’s neck is stretched to one side during a complicated delivery. Erb’s Palsy is most often seen in challenging deliveries with breech presentation, a large baby, or extended labor.
If the birth turns into an emergency situation and the medical professional must use force to extract the baby from the birth canal, the side of the baby’s neck may be stretched, and Erb’s palsy may result. The symptoms of Erb’s Palsy include partial or total paralysis of the arm or a loss of feeling or weakness in the arm. Your doctor will likely order an x-ray in order to determine whether damage to the bones and joints of the baby’s neck and shoulder have occurred. Most newborns with Erb’s Palsy will recover on their own within two years, although daily physical therapy may be required. If no improvement is seen within the first six months, the doctor may suggest exploratory surgery as a means of improving your baby’s outcome.
Some of the potential causes of Erb’s Palsy which are the result of the negligence of a medical professional include the following:
- When your child’s shoulder is lodged against your pelvic bone, the potential for a difficult delivery can be present. Your doctor should have the necessary skills to alleviate the possibility of shoulder dystocia during the birth of your baby.
- Breech births occur in about 3% of all births. Breech birth can put an undue amount of stress and pressure on your baby’s head, neck, and shoulders. Your doctor should have been aware of the possibility of a breech birth from your ultrasounds and should have made preparations for a Cesarean section to avoid any potential harm to your baby.
- When your doctor uses forceps or a vacuum tool in order to extract your baby from the birth canal, you assume he or she is well trained in the use of those tools and knows when and how to use them. If the forceps or vacuum is used improperly, your baby’s skull could be damaged, leading to nerve damage to the neck, shoulders, or arms.
- Any time excessive force is used during a complicated delivery, Erb’s Palsy can result.
Your doctor has a responsibility to be trained and familiar in dealing with any risk factors which would require special procedures during the birth. If negligence was a factor in your baby’s birth injury, the attorney you choose can have a significant impact on the eventual outcome of your case.
Cerebral Palsy is a medical condition that affects a child’s motor skills, movement, and muscle tone. Cerebral Palsy is generally the result of brain damage that occurs during birth, or during the first few years of the child’s life and is one of the most common congenital disorders. Approximately half a million children and adults across the United States are living with Cerebral Palsy at any given time. In addition to affecting motor skills, movement and muscle tone, Cerebral Palsy can also lead to health issues including impairment of vision and hearing, problems with speech and learning disabilities.
Your child’s Cerebral Palsy may have been the result of a difficult birth in which the doctors and nurses were unable to do anything to prevent the condition. In other cases, negligent actions or inactions by the medical professionals could have been the direct cause of your child’s Cerebral Palsy. Causes of Cerebral Palsy which could indicate medical negligence, include the following:
- Neglecting to order a C-section in a timely manner once it became clear there were problems with the birth;
- Use of forceps or vacuums in a manner which causes harm to the baby;
- A doctor’s failure to recognize anything unusual on the fetal heart monitor including changes in the child’s heart rate;
- A doctor’s failure to recognize your baby is in the breech position, or
- Maternal infections which go undiagnosed, therefore untreated.
FAQs Regarding Denver Birth Injuries
What Causes Birth Injuries?
While there are many different causes of birth injury, the most common include a delay in performing a necessary c-section, lack of proper medical care, failure to act quickly when the baby is in distress, use of excessive force during delivery, and oxygen deprivation for the baby.
What are the Most Common Birth Injuries?
Fractures to the arm or collarbone, severe skin irritations, bruising on the face or head, and entrapment of the umbilical cord are the most common birth injuries, however, the most serious are those listed above (Erb’s Palsy, Cerebral Palsy, and Brachial Palsy).
What’s the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect?
Birth injuries are generally the result of something going wrong during delivery, including an injury due to medical malpractice—negligence or carelessness on the part of the medical professional. A birth defect involves harm to a baby arising prior to birth, usually as a result of something which happened prior to the delivery, an infection, or genetics.
How do I know if medical malpractice is the cause of my baby’s birth injury?
Any time a medical professional’s performance of his or her duty departs from the standard of practice among those with similar experience and training—and that departure from the accepted standard of practice leads to harm—then medical malpractice has probably occurred.
What are some common examples of negligence in the delivery room?
Errors made by a medical professional which can lead to a birth injury can include miscalculating the mother’s contractions, failing to take vital signs for mother and/or baby, forcing the delivery, improperly extracting the baby, administering the wrong drug, neglect, or improperly administering an epidural.
Getting the Help You Need for Your Baby’s Birth Injury
If your baby has been seriously injured during birth, call the Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya now at (303) 758-4777, or contact us for a free evaluation of your birth injury claim. We will work hard, doing everything in our power to get the justice you and your child deserve. There’s no obligation, and when we work together, we don’t get paid until you get paid. Dianne Sawaya is smart, aggressive, and compassionate. She understands what a difficult time this is for you and your family and that you are potentially facing a lifetime of medical needs for your child—medical needs which can drain your family financially.