Pittsburgh Birth Injury Attorneys and Medical Malpractice Lawyers
A traumatic birth can mar an otherwise joyful life event. Brain damage, respiratory distress, learning disabilities, and a host of other birth injuries can result from the careless or improper actions of medical professionals before, during, or just after birth. Injuries can be caused when medical providers involved in the delivery fail to provide adequate care to mother and child, or cause harm by acting carelessly.
It may be difficult to determine the exact causes of your baby's birth trauma and injury and whether or not a medical professional is to blame. Our birth injury and trauma lawyers understand how confusing and devastating a traumatic birth can be. Our medical malpractice attorneys can assist you in determining the exact causes or your child's trauma and, if medical malpractice was to blame, work to obtain compensation to provide support for your child through recovery and throughout life.
Fetal Hypoxia (Distress)
Oxygen deprivation, known as fetal hypoxia or fetal distress, may occur for a variety of reasons during labor and delivery including prolonged labor or a slipped umbilical cord that interferes with the infant’s oxygen supply. When your baby does not receive sufficient oxygen, a myriad of physiological problems can result including significant brain injury and cerebral palsy. Doctors and nurses typically use a fetal monitor to track changes in your baby’s heart rate and breathing that can signal fetal distress. However, when distress has been recognized and steps aren’t taken to prevent further oxygen deprivation, such as performing a cesarean section, serious injuries can result.
Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS)
Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS) is often linked to fetal hypoxia. The distress an infant undergoes during fetal hypoxia can cause meconium, the infant’s first intestinal discharge, to pass into the amniotic fluid. When the infant inhales (aspirates) this meconium-stained fluid, a host of complications associate with MAS can develop, including airway blockages, lung irritation, and an increased risk of infection.
If you were told that your baby was showing signs of distress, had a slower than normal heart rate, or that meconium stool was present during labor or delivery, your baby may have suffered fetal hypoxia. By reviewing the circumstances of your baby’s birth, our Pittsburgh-based birth injury lawyers and medical malpractice attorneys can help determine if a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional was to blame for your child’s injury.
Cerebral palsy is a medical condition that causes abnormal brain function and is often characterized by a lack of muscle control and problems with movement, speech, hearing, and vision. The condition is caused by permanent brain damage that is most commonly the result of an injury to an infant’s brain before birth or during the delivery process.
Oxygen deprivation or fetal hypoxia, prolonged bleeding within the infant’s brain, and other problems during labor can cause permanent brain damage that may result in cerebral palsy. If a physician fails to properly monitor your newborn and misses warning signs, or fails to takes steps to prevent further damage once he or she is aware of problems such as oxygen deprivation, they are acting negligently and can be held responsible for your child’s injuries.
If you notice that your child isn’t catching on like other children, seems to be behind, or isn’t developing emotionally, your child may be suffering from cerebral palsy. At GPW in Pittsburgh, our birth injury lawyers and medical malpractice attorneys are experienced in representing the parents of children who have developed cerebral palsy as the result of an injury at birth and will work to get you and your child the compensation you deserve.
Shoulder Dystocia and Erb’s Palsy
Shoulder dystocia is a condition in which the infant’s shoulder becomes stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery. While attempting to dislodge your baby’s shoulder, your doctor may have used excessive force or acted carelessly and stretched or torn the nerves that connect the spinal cord to the shoulder, wrist, and arm. These injuries can sometimes heal with time, however, if they don’t, a permanent condition known as Erb’s palsy can develop, causing lifelong hand and arm movement limitations for your child.
If your doctor suspected shoulder dystocia and did not order a cesarean section, or carelessly used excessive force to try to dislodge your baby during birth, he or she may be to blame for your baby’s birth injury. Our attorneys have the resources and experience to investigate your case to determine if your doctor is to blame for the injuries your child is now suffering.
APGAR Test Errors
Most hospitals use the APGAR test to evaluate the condition of newborns after birth, and determine if further medical attention is necessary. However, if your baby’s APGAR test score was misread and a serious problem went undiagnosed, he or she may have missed out on critical medical care that could have prevented further problems from developing.
The APGAR test scores newborns in the following areas:
- Is your baby pink in color with a lack of bluish skin?
- Does your baby have a normal heart rate?
- Does your baby show adequate responsiveness?
- Does your baby’s muscle activity appear normal?
- Is your baby breathing steadily without assistance?
If your child suffered problems following birth and did not receive the care he or she needed, a medical professional involved in the birth may have misread one of the above tests. By reviewing your baby’s APGAR scores and the events of his or her birth, our birth injury lawyers can often determine if your child’s injuries could have been prevented.
Negligent Neonatal Care
Care for your baby after birth is extremely important and if any member of the delivery team fails to provide needed care, the health and safety of your baby may be in jeopardy. Infants may be injured when medical workers perform procedures for which they are not properly trained, fail to properly monitor the condition of the newborn, or miss a vitally important warning sign.
If your baby needs extra care just after birth, he or she may be moved into the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). In the NICU, neonatologists and neonatal nurses provide specialized care to newborns, however, one of the most common errors in the NICU, the misidentification of babies, is a matter of basic training and following of appropriate procedures. Newborns may receive the wrong medication or procedure as a result of careless identification. These errors can lead to life-threatening consequences and serious birth injury. Our attorneys are able to investigate the care your baby received following birth to determine if their injuries are due to negligent neonatal care.
Contact Our Pittsburgh Offices to Speak with Our Birth Injury Lawyers
If you are unsure whether or not your child has suffered a birth injury, please contact our Pittsburgh office to speak with our birth injury attorneys about your case. Our lawyers have the resources and experience to thoroughly investigate the birth of your child to determine if a medical professional’s actions led to a birth injury.