While the birth of a child should be a joyous experience for parents, the excitement of welcoming a new child can quickly be followed by anxiety when a newborn is diagnosed with a birth injury. Parents of babies who have suffered birth injuries may wonder if their child’s harm could have been avoided. Mothers may also face an even longer road to recovery after childbirth if they have sustained an injury during delivery. In many cases, birth injuries are caused by the negligence of healthcare providers, making those injuries completely avoidable.
If you or your child has suffered a birth injury, you should speak to a medical malpractice lawyer about your family’s rights and options to seek financial recovery and justice from those responsible for your baby’s harm.
Birth Injury Statistics
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birth injuries are unfortunately an all-too-common occurrence. According to the National Healthcare Quality Report published by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, about six to eight out of every 1,000 births in the U.S. involve a birth injury. The risk of birth injuries to mothers is highest for mothers aged 25 through 34 during deliveries in which birthing tools are used. Maternal birth injuries in non-instrument assisted deliveries are highest for mothers aged 25 through 29.
While birth injury rates have been decreasing in recent years, many more infant and maternal birth injuries can still be avoided. Families can help reduce the risk of birth injuries by working with OB/GYNs that they trust. If you are an expecting mother and you feel at any time that your obstetrician is not taking any health concerns you have seriously, you may want to consider switching providers.
Birth Injuries vs. Birth Defects
Many people may improperly conflate birth injuries with birth defects. A birth defect is a congenital condition that occurs to an infant due to genetic factors or environmental exposure during pregnancy. While some birth defects are avoidable because they are caused by maternal lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption or drug use, in many cases birth defects are an unavoidable occurrence.
Conversely, birth injuries are typically caused by negligent medical care rendered by healthcare providers during pregnancy or during or immediately after delivery. Birth injuries may be caused by untreated infections or medical conditions, by a lack of oxygen flow to a fetus or baby, or by physical trauma inflicted on a baby during delivery. Common causes of birth injuries include:
- Failure to diagnose or treat a mother’s medical condition, such as gestational diabetes or a sexually transmitted infection like syphilis or herpes
- Not ensuring that an infant is in the correct head-down position for delivery
- Not performing a cesarean section delivery when vaginal delivery is contraindicated, such as in cases involving a large baby or a mother with a narrow pelvis
- Failing to promptly react to complications during delivery, such as shoulder dystocia (when the baby’s shoulders are stuck inside the mother’s pelvis), fetal distress from lack of oxygen, or the mother’s exhaustion during long delivery
- Improper use of delivery-assisting tools such as forceps or vacuum extractors
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Birth Injury?
Many parties who provide care during pregnancy and delivery may have liability for causing a birth injury, including the OB/GYN, midwife, nurses, or other hospital staff. Healthcare facilities may also be held vicariously liable for the negligence of their employees.
Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Birth Injury Case in New Jersey
Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in New Jersey? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Haddonfield birth injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Andres & Berger P.C. are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout New Jersey, including Pennsauken, Voorhees, Lindenwold, and Collingswood. Call us today at (856) 795-1444 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 264 Kings Hwy. E., Haddonfield, NJ 08033.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.