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Birth Injury Lawyer in West Hartford, CT

A child’s birth should be a happy event. But this happiness can be tainted by sadness, concern, and even anger when the child suffers an injury due to birth trauma. Your child’s injury might produce profound physical injuries, disfigurement, and neurological damage.

As a result, you and your child may face a lifetime of medical issues. They may need ongoing physical and mental health therapy to deal with the long-term effects of their injury. They may even need a caretaker for the rest of their life to help them meet their daily needs.

Not all birth injuries result from medical malpractice. Unfortunately, some birth injuries occur despite everyone exercising reasonable care. But when healthcare providers injure your child through their negligent or otherwise wrongful actions, a West Hartford birth trauma lawyer from Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge will fight for the injury compensation that could secure your child’s future.

What Is Birth Trauma?

Birth trauma includes any harmful or injurious condition that happens during labor or delivery. Strictly speaking, both the mother and child can experience birth trauma.

In many situations, they experience birth trauma together, such as when a doctor commits a surgical error during a caesarian section. In other cases, the baby experiences physical birth trauma while the mother only experiences bystander birth trauma from seeing the child’s suffering.

Birth injuries can result from many causes, including:

Diagnostic Error

The trauma the child experiences may result from a mistake in diagnosing the baby’s or mother’s condition. This error could produce:

  • A misdiagnosis of one condition as a different condition
  • A non-diagnosis, where the doctor fails to diagnose a condition
  • An incorrect diagnosis of a condition where none exists

Diagnosis errors also encompass laboratory errors. Doctors can only diagnose conditions correctly if they have all the available evidence. Bad or missing laboratory results can mislead a doctor into making a diagnostic mistake.

Rough Handling

Delivering a child through the birth canal may require the doctor to apply some finesse and force. But too much force can cause physical injuries when bones break and joints dislocate. Rough handling can even cause neurological injuries if the doctor’s actions stretch or compress the baby’s nerves.

Babies can also suffer disfiguring injuries due to rough handling. Instruments like forceps or vacuum extractors can bruise and lacerate the child’s flesh, leaving scars and other deformations.

Medication Error

Medication errors happen when a doctor administers the wrong medication or the wrong dose of the right medication. These errors sometimes inadvertently affect the child since most medications administered to the mother will eventually reach the child through the umbilical cord.

Three common sources of medication errors include:

  • Anesthesia errors
  • Nursing errors
  • Pharmacy errors

Anesthesiologists walk a fine line. They must administer the right drugs in the right way and at the correct dosage to produce an anesthetic effect in the mother without affecting the fetus. When they make a mistake, the fetus can suffer an injury.

Surgical Error

Surgical errors can happen during cesarean section (C-section) deliveries. If a surgeon fails to identify and treat complications as they arise, both the mother and baby can suffer an injury.

Equally importantly, the doctor must act with reasonable skill and competence so they do not create a problem that would not otherwise be there. Unskilled surgeons can nick a blood vessel or inadvertently damage the umbilical cord, leading to a birth injury.

Administrative Mistake

Doctors are supported by a large staff of administrators. When records get mixed up, a baby can suffer a birth injury. An example of this type of mistake happens when a hospital mis-records a mother’s allergies or prescription medications.

Without the correct records, a doctor or nurse might inadvertently trigger an adverse drug event during labor or delivery by administering a drug that reacts to the mother’s prescription medications. This adverse drug event might, in turn, injure the fetus.

Types of Traumatic Birth Injuries in West Hartford, CT

Birth injuries can take many forms depending on how they happened and how the fetus was affected. Some birth trauma examples include the following:

Physical Injuries

Rough handling and surgical errors can injure the baby’s musculoskeletal system. Examples of these injuries include:

  • Lacerations
  • Bruises, including caput succedaneum and cephalohematoma
  • Broken bones
  • Dislocated joints
  • Sprained ligaments
  • Strained muscles or tendons
  • Broken cartilage

Some of these physical injuries will heal within a few months. But some may have lifelong effects. Lacerations can leave disfiguring scars. Torn ligaments can cause joint pain and instability. Broken cartilage in the ears or nose can cause permanent deformities.

Nerve Injuries

Nerves cannot carry signals when they are severed, stretched, or compressed. Nerve damage from rough handling or lacerations during delivery can produce a range of birth trauma symptoms, including:

  • Paralysis
  • Weakness
  • Loss of sensation

Two areas that can suffer birth-related trauma include the facial nerves and the brachial plexus. If the doctor uses forceps or a vacuum extractor during delivery, the instrument can damage the baby’s facial nerves. This injury can cause permanent drooping in the child’s face and prevent them from forming facial expressions.

The brachial plexus is a nerve bundle in the shoulder. When a doctor pulls on a baby’s arm during delivery, traction on the brachial plexus can damage the nerves. This condition, called Erb’s palsy, can cause weakness or paralysis in the baby’s shoulder and arm.

Brain Injuries

Your fetus requires a steady flow of blood to supply oxygen to brain cells. Anoxic injuries happen when the brain goes without oxygen. Hypoxic injuries happen when the brain obtains some oxygen, but not an adequate amount to prevent brain damage.

A leading cause of this type of injury happens when the umbilical cord gets wrapped around the baby’s neck. The doctor must untangle the cord or deliver the baby via C-section to prevent a brain injury.

Damages Recoverable for Birth Injuries in West Hartford

Not all birth injuries result from medical malpractice. If a doctor acted reasonably in preventing and treating the injury but it happened anyway, the doctor has probably not committed malpractice.

Instead, malpractice happens when the doctor commits negligence while treating the mother and baby. Negligence has four elements:

  • Duty of care
  • Breach of duty
  • Damages
  • Causation

The duty of care arises from the doctor-patient relationship. A healthcare provider breaches this duty by failing to provide a level of care that is reasonable under the circumstances. This professional standard of care is judged from the viewpoint of a reasonably prudent and competent healthcare provider in the same situation. You will often need an expert witness to testify about the reasonableness of the doctor’s actions.

If your birth trauma attorney proves liability, they must prove damages. Your child is entitled to recover compensation for economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses include the cost of medical treatment necessitated by the birth injury over the child’s entire life. Non-economic losses cover the diminishment in the child’s quality of life due to pain, emotional distress, disability, and disfigurement.

How it Works

Contingency Fees

At Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, P.C., we handle all Birth Trauma cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we do not get paid unless and until you receive a settlement or a jury award.

Schedule a free, confidential consultation with a skilled Connecticut personal injury lawyer today. Contact us online or call our New Haven law firm directly at 203-865-8430.

Questions

Birth Trauma FAQs

Who May Be Liable for Birth Trauma in West Hartford, CT?

Anyone involved in assisting the mother through labor and delivery may be liable, including nurses, anesthesiologists, nurse-midwives, and doctors. Doulas might also bear liability for negligence but not for medical malpractice since they are not healthcare providers.

Can I Get Compensated for My Physical Injuries and Emotional Distress?

Connecticut law allows mothers to seek compensation for physical injuries and emotional distress caused by their child’s birth injury.

What Is the Process for Birth Trauma Cases?

Birth injury cases often begin with an insurance claim to the healthcare provider’s malpractice carrier. While your birth trauma lawyer will try to settle your case fairly and quickly, doctors often fight hard against claims since they can face discipline and a loss of reputation if they settle or lose.

Before your lawyer can file a birth trauma lawsuit, a doctor must review your case and produce a written opinion. This requirement is meant to cut down on frivolous cases, but it also slows down valid cases. 

Because malpractice insurers do not like paying to litigate cases they will ultimately lose, many cases will be settled even after filing a lawsuit. If it does not settle, your case will go to trial.

Contact a West Hartford Birth Trauma Lawyer to Learn More About Your Rights

Birth injuries can cause lifelong medical issues for your child. A West Hartford birth trauma attorney from Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge can fight for the compensation your child needs to receive the treatment and therapy they will require. Contact us to discuss your child’s injury and how we can help.

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