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Birth Injury Basics: What You Need to Know

by Karla Somers on September 3, 2012

Trinity in the NurseryMedical malpractice can occur when a medical professional fails to perform his or her duty in the normal standard of care, or is negligent in providing proper care for a patient. Birth injuries that occur because of negligent medical care may result in injury to the baby. If you suspect you or your baby may be a victim of a birth injury, continue reading. Some of the most common birth injuries include the following scenarios:

• The obstetrician induces labor too early in the pregnancy
• Failure to respond to obvious signs of fetal distress which deprives the baby of oxygen
• Misusing the forceps during delivery
• Failing to diagnose an infection in the mother
• A Brachial plexus injury can occur if there is difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder
• Not performing a Cesarean section after prolonged labor, thereby leaving the baby in the birth canal without oxygen
• Problems with the umbilical cord or failure to take immediate action

Birth injuries can also happen when the collarbone is fractured during delivery, most often if the baby is in a breech position.

Proving Your Malpractice Claim

All healthcare professionals are tasked with providing the best possible care to their patients. All medical professionals owe a legal duty to the patient to administer care that is commensurate with the standards of their colleagues. When an injured plaintiff files a malpractice suit, they must be able to prove the following four elements in order to win the case:

1. A Duty of Care Was Owed — The plaintiff must prove that the doctor owed a duty of care because they had a doctor/patient relationship.

2. A Breach of Duty Occurred — The doctor owed a legal duty to the patient and the duty was breached when they deviated from the acceptable medical standards.

3. Injury to the Victim — The breach of duty was the primary cause of the injury suffered by the patient, such as failing to diagnose a condition.

4. Obtaining Damages — The plaintiff is entitled to obtain compensation and they can seek damages for the injuries they suffered due to medical negligence.

The injured victim can file a lawsuit for compensatory damages, which include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic losses typically include the cost of medical treatment needed. Non-economic damages include the pain and suffering the victim endured. In some cases, these may be harder to prove than economic losses. If the doctor acted maliciously, the plaintiff can sue for punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant for bad behavior and keep others from similar conduct in the future.

When to Seek Advice From a Medical Malpractice Attorney

Childbirth injuries continue to be a problem in today’s society. Obstetricians may find themselves facing lawsuits when a baby or mother is injured, causing permanent life-long disabilities. According to our medical malpractice lawyer in Syracuse NY, medical malpractice cases can be tough to prove because the stakes are high for everyone involved in this type of lawsuit. Because of this, it is critical for patients to hire experienced and well-trained medical malpractice attorneys to represent their interests. Malpractice attorneys can determine which cases will be successful if they go to trial.

Patients who have suffered serious harm during any type of medical care have the right to hold medical professionals legally liable. If you suspect you or your baby are victims of a birth injury malpractice, seek the wisdom and advice of an experienced malpractice legal firm to examine the facts regarding your case. They can help you recover damages for injuries you or your child may have suffered.

A native of upstate New York, Karla M. Somers is a mother, writer and legal researcher. She contributes articles to the law firm of Bottar Leone, a medical malpractice lawyer in Syracuse NY. For more than 30 years, this experienced legal team has been helping people recover their losses in wages and benefits, medical bills and permanent disabilities as a result of medical malpractice.

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