Kingston Birth Injury Lawyers
Compassionate, Strategic Representation When Medical Negligence Causes Birth Injuries
When medical professionals are careless during prenatal care, labor, and/or delivery, infants can suffer devastating birth injuries. Determining and proving this type of negligence often requires the skills of an experienced birth injury lawyer.
At the Law Office of Shafran & Rock, P.L.L.C., our Kingston birth injury attorneys have more than 20 years’ experience helping families seek justice when medical negligence harms their babies.
Call (845) 383-1170 or email our firm for a free, confidential consultation and answers about a potential birth injury claim.
As tireless advocates for the injured, we have what it takes to craft and present strong birth injury cases so that our clients:
- Can hold negligent medical professionals liable: Don’t let a careless or reckless physician, nurse, or other professional make the same mistake with another child and family. By filing a birth injury case, you may be able to prevent other children from suffering the same injuries. And you will be sending a strong message that medical negligence won’t be ignored.
- Get the financial recoveries and justice they deserve: Money can never reverse a child’s permanent injuries. And it can never erase the suffering children and families endure when birth injuries happen. It can, however, provide the financial support necessary to pay for ongoing medical treatments and other care injured infants may need. And that can be the key to restoring lives.
Birth injury claims can be complicated, and there’s limited time to take action. The sooner you contact the Law Office of Shafran & Rock, P.L.L.C., the sooner you can start seeking the justice you, your child, and your family may deserve.
How Medical Negligence & Malpractice Can Cause Birth Injuries
Tragically, it can only take one medical oversight to cause irreversible birth injuries. While medical negligence can take many forms, here are some of the most common examples.
Expectant mothers have every right to expect that they will receive careful, professional medical attention and supervision during the childbirth process. Unfortunately, some obstetricians and other medical staff fail to live up to their responsibilities.
One example comes with failures to provide fetal monitoring. As a standard part of the delivery process, fetal monitoring is done by attaching an electrode to the fetus’s scalp. This allows medical staff to keep track of the heartbeat and other vital signs so they can respond to indications of potential complications.
When obstetricians and their nurses do not recognize and respond to irregular tracings on fetal monitoring devices, they may lose the opportunity to prevent serious birth injuries.
Labor & Delivery Negligence
When mothers go into labor, medical professionals need to be ready to react when either the mothers or infants show signs of distress. For example, elevated heart rates, breached positioning, and other complications during the labor and delivery process may require an emergency C-section.
If medical professionals fail to notice these emergencies and they do not immediately perform a C-section, the risk of severe birth injuries, as well as harm to the mothers, increases significantly.
Labor & Delivery Medication Errors
The use of medication to induce labor can save both mothers’ and children’s lives. Still, these drugs must also be used responsibly and in correct dosages to avoid potential complications and potentially life-threatening birth injuries.
Similarly, whenever administering medications, medical professionals will need to consider factors like allergies, other medications a mother takes (or needs), and the mother’s medical history. Failing to consider factors like these can lead to medication mistakes and catastrophic birth injuries.
Two drugs often used to induce or hasten labor are misoprostol (marketed as Cytotec) and Pitocin. While the use of these drugs is appropriate under the right conditions, they also pose risks that must be carefully controlled for.
Both mothers and newborns can suffer serious harm when Cytotec, Pitocin, and other labor-inducing medications are overused or when they are used unnecessarily. Specifically, these drugs can hyper stimulate the uterus, causing uterine ruptures. They may also prevent the mother’s uterus from contracting after delivery. This may make it necessary for the doctor to perform a hysterectomy, and the associated hemorrhaging can be fatal in some cases.
Additionally, overmedication with these drugs can cause infants to be born with elevated levels of a waste product called bilirubin. This condition, known as hyperbilirubinemia or neonatal jaundice, may result in kernicterus, a serious brain injury that can cause permanent damage when not promptly treated.
The mother’s blood crossing over the barrier of the placenta is a normal part of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Unfortunately, not all mothers have an Rh that is compatible with their baby. This can lead to serious complications when not caught quickly and properly treated.
If your baby may have been hurt by medical negligence, find out more about your potential claim by calling (845) 383-1170 or emailing our firm for a free, confidential consultation.
Types of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries can take many forms, having lasting impacts on development, cognition, motor skills, and more. Here’s a look at some of the most common types of serious birth injuries and the impacts they can have on children.
Commonly caused by birth trauma and oxygen deprivation during delivery, cerebral palsy is a disability of the motor system. It can be mild to severe, and it is usually marked by symptoms like (but not limited to):
- Exaggerated reflexes
- Rigid or floppy limbs
- Difficulty coordinating movement
- Involuntary movement
- Posture, spine and/or joint problems
- Problems with speech, vision, and/or hearing
While cerebral palsy does not usually worsen over time, the symptoms can evolve as children grow. Even with the best care during infancy, most people with cerebral palsy need a lifetime of medical attention, and they usually have reduced earning potential as a result of their condition.
Shoulder dystocia is a childbirth complication that occurs when an infant’s shoulder gets caught in the birth canal. When this happens, the attending physician needs to maneuver the baby into a position that will allow the baby to be delivered the rest of the way safely.
Factors like the size of the baby’s head, the shape or size of the mother’s pelvis or birth canal, the mother’s weight, and more all need to be considered when evaluating the risk of shoulder dystocia.
When medical negligence causes this birth injury, shoulder dystocia can:
- Damage and tear the delicate nerve fibers in the child’s shoulder
- Result in a loss of muscle and nerve function in the shoulder, arm, and/or hand
- Lead to a condition known as Erb’s palsy
To overcome the mild or total loss of shoulder, arm, and/or hand function, a baby with shoulder dystocia will typically need to go through aggressive physical therapy from a young age on. This process can be traumatic for the entire family, as even the best physical therapy could still result in the permanent inability or reduced ability to use the affected part(s).
Severe cases of shoulder dystocia can result in Erb’s palsy, a loss of motor function resulting from tears of the delicate nerves in the shoulders. Typically, Erb’s palsy is marked by:
- Weakness and/or numbness in the affected limb
- Very limited range of motion in the affected limb
- Limited grip strength in the affected hand
- Poor reflexes
While physical therapy and/or surgery may restore some sensation and function to the impacted limb, Erb’s palsy can leave lasting damage and impairments. In fact, infants with Erb’s palsy may end up with a permanent inability or reduced ability to use the affected arm due to muscle atrophy.
Kernicterus is a life-threatening condition caused by hyperbilirubinemia, a disorder in which bilirubin backs up into the bloodstream. It causes a baby to become jaundiced or yellow as a result of the liver not processing bilirubin.
This life-altering condition is preventable and treatable when caught quickly and treated properly using current UV-light technologies. In fact, whether or when this occurs can be a critical factor in determining physician and/or hospital liability when infants suffer from kernicterus.
When not treated properly, this condition can lead to a variety of brain injuries and other maladies, including (but not limited to):
- Movement disorders
- Growth disorders
- Dental defects
To overcome the side effects associated with this birth injury, aggressive therapies will be required from a young age and for many years afterward. As with many other serious birth injuries, even the best treatments may not completely reverse the debilitating effects of kernicterus.
If your child is suffering from kernicterus as a result of medical negligence, you deserve the opportunity to hold the negligent parties liable for the harm that has been done.
Hypoxic-Anoxic Brain Injury (HAI)
Anoxia is a total lack of oxygen to the brain, and hypoxia is a partial lack of oxygen. Once a baby’s heart rate drops to dangerous levels during the delivery process, the attending physician may need to quickly convert the delivery to a cesarean section. Failing to do that may be considered medical malpractice if it leads to hypoxia or anoxia.
Like other birth injuries, both hypoxia and anoxia during delivery is avoidable when physicians recognize the signs of oxygen deprivation and act quickly to remedy the situation. When they fail to do so, their medical malpractice can cause infants to suffer permanent damage, including (but not limited to):
- Mental retardation
- Cerebral palsy
- Neonatal encephalopathy
- Learning disabilities
At the Law Office of Shafran & Rock, P.L.L.C., we work with children and parents to identify when medical negligence has contributed to HAI (and/or other birth injuries) and to help them determine their child’s future needs when it’s time to seek recovery.
Get Justice for Your Infant: Contact the Law Office of Shafran & Rock, P.L.L.C.
If your infant has suffered birth injuries and you believe medical negligence was involved, contact a Kingston birth injury lawyer at the Law Office of Shafran & Rock, P.L.L.C. We are ready to review your potential case, explain your legal options, and help you protect your rights moving forward.
Call (845) 383-1170 or email our firm for a free, confidential consultation.
Backed by decades of experience, our attorneys are skilled at representing our clients in even the most complex birth injury and medical malpractice cases. From investigating claims to hearings, negotiations, trial, and beyond, we can fiercely and effectively advocate our clients’ rights, fighting at every step to seek the resolutions, recoveries, and justice our clients deserve.