What You Should Know About Birth Injury Medical Malpractice

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(Newswire.net — September 7, 2020) — Medical negligence compensation claims are dealt with under the general law of negligence however there are unique protocols applying to cases involving clinical errors which differ from ordinary personal injury claims. Doctors, dentists, nurses and technicians are expected to treat patients with a reasonable degree of skill and care which is established by comparing the behavior of the allegedly negligent healthcare professional with reasonably competent healthcare practitioners treating patients with similar illnesses in similar locations. Once negligence has been established it must be shown that the injury is as a direct result of the malpractice which may be a difficult proposition to prove given that the patient was already ill and usually deteriorating prior to the erroneous treatment. The issue is dealt with by expert testimony from medical specialists who show the natural progression of the illness and the effect that the negligent treatment had and the anticipated effect of alternative non-negligent treatment

Birth Injury

Birth injury is caused to infants before, during and shortly after birth and is often caused by medical malpractice. Babies born with the assistance of induced or operative procedures are more likely to suffer physical injury than babies born by spontaneous vaginal delivery. Birth injuries sustained as a result of medical malpractice include permanent brain damage caused by shortage of oxygen and physical damage caused by traumatic delivery. Complications can occur due to the baby being in a difficult position just before labor starts or when the baby is too large to pass through the birth canal without mechanical assistance. Injury can occur if excessive force is applied during delivery or if there is a delay in performing a necessary caesarean section. 

Common birth injuries that may be caused by medical malpractice include: 

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Erbs Palsy
  • Shoulder Dystocia
  • Klumke’s Palsy
  • Brachial Plexus Palsy
  • Horners Syndrome

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is a condition that varies in severity with symptoms that range from mid to severe and in its most serious form may be classed as a catastrophic injury which frequently alters the lives of both the victim and their immediate family forever. There is no cure for cerebral palsy which is caused by a permanent injury to the brain. According to the practice in Canada medical malpractice lawyer can obtain compensation for personal injury however it is a fact that the majority of cases of cerebral palsy naturally for unknown reasons that cannot be classed as clinical error. Whilst compensation cannot make up for the brain injury it can make life easier for the victim and their family when coping with the condition in the long term.

Medical malpractice is any act or omission which falls below the standard of a reasonably competent doctor in that particular field of medicine. Often there are several acceptable ways of doing something and there may be no negligence if the chosen method fails whereas alternate treatment may have succeeded provided that the failed option is supported by a substantial body of medical opinion.

Risk factors are always considered by cerebral palsy lawyers during investigation into the cause of the condition. A medical malpractice risk factor is a variable which may increase the chance of developing a medical condition. The presence of a risk factor does not mean that the condition will occur, nor does the absence of a risk factor mean that the condition will not occur. There are risk factors relating to cerebral palsy and if present then care should be taken by medical professionals to ensure that they are ready to deal with any eventuality.

Risk factors that may be considered by cerebral palsy lawyers when assessing liability include: 

  • lengthy labor and delivery
  • breech presentation babies
  • vascular or respiratory problems during labor and delivery
  • the first or fifth or later child born to the mother
  • one of twins with higher risk if one dies
  • low birth weight of less than 3.5 pounds
  • premature infant born prior to 37 weeks gestation
  • multiple births
  • obvious nervous system malformations
  • Rh or ABO blood type incompatibility between mother and infant
  • infections of the infant’s central nervous system
  • low Apgar score shortly after birth which is a measure of heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, reflexes and skin color

Risk factors which can be associated with the mother that may be considered by cerebral palsy lawyers include: 

  • maternal bleeding
  • proteinuria late in pregnancy
  • maternal hyperthyroidism
  • infection by German measles and certain other viruses
  • maternal seizures
  • African-Caucasian ethnicity
  • mother 40 years or older
  • mother 20 years or younger

Cerebral palsy lawyers will scrutinize the mothers and child’s medical records looking for any potential risk factors that may have been missed by health care providers. The delivery of a child can be a complex and difficult matter especially if there are complications. Medical providers should do everything that they can to reduce problems by identifying the circumstances that increase the risk of cerebral palsy. If an obvious risk becomes apparent, then failure to take adequate precautions at an early stage may mean that they are liable to pay damages for any injury caused to an unborn child because of negligence.

To establish a diagnosis doctors will test motor skills, development, muscle tone, and posture after detailed consideration of the medical records. There is no treatment that can undo the damage caused as a result of irreversible injury to the brain which may result in serious and difficult medical, social and educational challenges however an award of substantial compensation for medical malpractice can make life easier and more comfortable for all concerned.