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Understanding Birth Injuries – A Comprehensive Guide from Maryland’s Trusted Law Firm

Birth injuries are a harrowing experience for both the child and the family, often resulting in long-term physical, emotional, and financial consequences. When medical professionals fail to take proper care during pregnancy or delivery, injuries to the infant can occur due to negligence or malpractice. Understanding the causes, types, and legal options related to birth injuries is crucial to ensure that families receive the support and compensation they deserve.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore numerous aspects of birth injuries, including common causes, prevention measures, and legal remedies available for families in Maryland. Brought to you by the trusted legal professionals at Robinson & Associates, we strive to provide answers, guidance, and compassionate support to families navigating this challenging and complex issue. Gain clarity on your rights and options and discover how our skilled attorneys can help you secure the justice you seek.

Causes of Birth Injuries

Birth injuries can occur due to a variety of reasons during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Common causes include:

  • Insufficient oxygen supply to the infant
  • Inappropriate use of forceps or vacuum extraction devices
  • Delayed or inadequate response to fetal distress signals
  • Incorrect administration of medications
  • Failure to properly monitor the mother and baby during labor
  • Improperly performed C-section or natural delivery procedures

Types of Birth Injuries

There are several types of birth injuries, ranging from mild to life-threatening, such as:

  • Brachial Plexus Injuries: Damage to the brachial plexus nerves, leading to conditions like Erb’s palsy or Klumpke’s palsy. Symptoms can include weakness, paralysis, or loss of sensation in the affected arm.
  • Cerebral Palsy: Caused by brain damage during pregnancy or childbirth, cerebral palsy impacts muscle coordination, movement, and overall physical functioning.
  • Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE): A type of brain injury resulting from oxygen deprivation, leading to cognitive, motor, and learning disabilities.
  • Skull Fractures: Caused by excessive pressure or force during delivery, skull fractures can range from mild hairline fractures to severe brain injuries.
  • Facial Nerve Injuries: Temporary or permanent facial paralysis may occur due to improper forceps use or traumatic delivery.
  • Caput Succedaneum: Swelling of the scalp, usually harmless and resolves on its own but may indicate more severe underlying issues in some cases.

Prevention and Risk Management

Proper prenatal care and vigilant monitoring during labor and delivery are the best ways to prevent birth injuries. Some preventive measures include:

  • Regular prenatal check-ups for the mother, ensuring the baby’s growth and development are on track.
  • Monitoring and managing maternal health conditions like gestational diabetes, hypertension, or infections.
  • Careful assessment of the baby’s size, position, and progress during labor.
  • Proper utilization of medical interventions like C-sections, forceps, or vacuum extractions, only when necessary and under monitored conditions.
  • Continuous communication and collaboration between healthcare providers to facilitate a safe delivery.

Understanding Medical Malpractice and Birth Injuries

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider’s negligent actions or failure to provide the standard care result in harm to a patient. In birth injury cases, this can include:

  • Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose conditions during pregnancy.
  • Providing incorrect or delayed treatment.
  • Negligent handling of labor complications.
  • Medication errors or inappropriate use of medical equipment.

Legal Options and Compensation for Birth Injuries

In Maryland, families affected by birth injuries may pursue legal action and seek compensation for damages through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Compensation can include:

  • Medical expenses (past, present, and future)
  • Rehabilitation and therapy costs
  • Home modifications or specialized equipment
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Lost wages and future earnings for parents who need to care for the injured child

Statute of Limitations for Birth Injury Lawsuits in Maryland

Under Maryland’s statute of limitations, a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within five years from the date of the injury or within three years from the date the injury was discovered, whichever is earlier. However, there are exceptions for minors – a child who suffers a birth injury has until their 21st birthday to file a claim.

Understanding the causes, types, and legal options related to birth injuries is crucial to ensure families receive justice and compensation for their suffering. Robinson & Associates, a Maryland-based law firm, is committed to providing compassionate and skillful legal representation for families who experience these traumatic events. Trust our knowledgeable team of attorneys to guide you through every step of the legal process and see your case through to resolution.

Common Types of Birth Injuries

A wide range of birth injuries can result from medical negligence or malpractice. Some common categories include:

  • Nerve Injuries: Occur when nerves in the baby’s neck, shoulder, or arm are damaged. Conditions such as Erb’s palsy or Klumpke’s palsy can develop from complications in the brachial plexus nerves.
  • Brain Injuries: Can occur from oxygen deprivation, head trauma, or infections during birth, leading to conditions like cerebral palsy, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), or periventricular leukomalacia (PVL).
  • Broken bones and fractures: Excessive force during delivery or improper use of tools like forceps can cause fractures, with the clavicle being the most common bone affected.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: Birth trauma can result in injuries to the soft tissues, such as caput succedaneum, cephalohematoma, or subgaleal hemorrhage.

Risk Factors Associated with Birth Injuries

While every birth comes with inherent risks, certain factors can increase the likelihood of injuries:

  • Large infants (macrosomia)
  • Premature births
  • Prolonged or difficult labor
  • Abnormal birthing presentations, such as breech or transverse position
  • Maternal health complications like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, or obesity
  • Previous C-section or multiple births (twins, triplets)

Identifying and managing these risk factors can help healthcare providers minimize the chances of birth injuries.

Essential Steps for Preventing Birth Injuries

The prevention of birth injuries starts with proper prenatal care and continues through labor and delivery. Follow these steps to reduce the risk of birth injuries:

  • Receive Regular Prenatal Check-Ups: This ensures the baby’s health and development are monitored.
  • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Mothers should eat well-balanced meals, exercise, and avoid smoking, alcohol, and drugs.
  • Control Maternal Health Issues: Medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, or infections should be properly managed during pregnancy.
  • Develop a Birth Plan: Discuss labor and delivery preferences, potential complications, and interventions with the healthcare team to make informed decisions.
  • Choose a Skilled and Experienced Healthcare Provider: Select a provider with a proven track record and familiarity with high-risk pregnancies, if applicable.
  • Ensure Proper Monitoring during Labor: Continuous monitoring of the mother and baby during labor can help identify potential issues and enable timely interventions.

Pursuing a Birth Injury Lawsuit

If you suspect that your child’s birth injury resulted from medical negligence, it’s crucial to consult an experienced attorney to protect your rights. The process typically involves:

  • Gathering Evidence: Obtain medical records, expert witness opinions, and other documentation to support your claim.
  • Filing a Lawsuit: Work with an attorney experienced in birth injury cases to initiate a lawsuit against the healthcare provider or institution responsible for the injury.
  • Investigating the Case: Your attorney will investigate to establish negligence, causation, and damages to build a compelling case.
  • Negotiating a Settlement: In many cases, the parties involved may opt for a settlement before trial. A skilled attorney will negotiate on your behalf to secure fair compensation.
  • Taking the Case to Trial: If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will represent your interests in court, and a jury or judge will decide on compensation.

Compensation for Birth Injury Cases

Parents and children impacted by birth injuries can seek compensation to cover a wide range of damages, including:

  • Medical and Rehabilitation Costs: Including surgeries, prescription medications, assistive devices, and therapy.
  • Future Medical Expenses: Long-term care for chronic conditions or disabilities resulting from the birth injury.
  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical and emotional distress experienced by the child and family.
  • Loss of Income and Earning Potential: If parents need to forgo employment opportunities to provide care for their child.
  • Educational Support: Special education, tutoring, or other necessary support services for the affected child.

Furthermore, compensation depends on the specifics of each case, but victims of moderate to severe birth injuries may receive substantial sums to cover the lifelong expenses associated with the condition.

Get the Legal Support You Deserve in Your Birth Injury Case

Understanding the different types of birth injuries, risk factors, prevention measures, and the intricacies of pursuing a lawsuit is vital to obtaining fair compensation and justice. Families in Maryland seeking compassionate and skilled legal representation can rely on Robinson & Associates to ensure their rights are protected throughout the process.

Your child’s well-being is our top priority. If you suspect medical negligence caused your child’s birth injury, don’t hesitate to contact Robinson & Associates. Our experienced team of medical malpractice lawyers in Baltimore provides empathetic and personalized legal support to help you navigate the complexities of birth injury cases. We will work tirelessly to secure the compensation your family deserves, ensuring you have the financial support you need to provide the best possible care for your child. 

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