Delayed Birth Complications Leading to Birth Injuries: Legal Rights in Philadelphia

woman who is suffering birth complications that lead to birth injury in PA

Birth should be a time of joy and celebration for families. However, when errors or negligence occur during labor and delivery, severe and catastrophic birth injuries can result. These injuries dramatically impact the child and family for a lifetime. In Philadelphia, birth injury lawyers assist families in understanding their legal rights and whether they have grounds to file a birth injury lawsuit.

Raynes & Lawn Trial Lawyers has decades of experience guiding clients through birth injury cases. Our talented and dedicated attorneys can give you personalized and strategic attention. Call our offices today at 1-800-535-1797 for your free consultation. 

Overview of Birth Injuries in Philadelphia  

Bringing a child into the world is a highly complex medical process. Labor and delivery require close monitoring and care from physicians, nurses, and hospital staff to ensure the safety of both mother and baby. However, critical errors such as failure to perform a timely C-section, improper use of birth-assisting tools like forceps or vacuums, or failure to respond to signs of fetal distress promptly can lead to devastating problems.

Some of the most common birth injuries seen by birth injury lawyers in Philadelphia include

  • Brain damage from oxygen deprivation 

  • Cerebral palsy  

  • Broken bones  

  • Nerve damage and paralysis  

  • Severe lacerations. 

These injuries are painful, debilitating, and permanent. They require extensive medical treatment and radically transform the lives of both children and families. Understanding how they occur and whether medical negligence or errors are to blame is the first step in pursuing your legal rights.

What Causes Birth Injuries in Philadelphia Hospitals? 

Several factors during labor and delivery can increase the risks of injuries to the baby. However, often, a physician’s negligence also plays a central role. Common causes of birth injury lawyers see include  

Failure to Properly Monitor Fetal Distress.

Fetal monitoring tracks the baby’s heart rate for signs of oxygen deprivation or other problems. When concerning patterns emerge, the medical team should quickly take action – often performing an emergency C-section. Failure to correctly read monitors or respond appropriately can lead to catastrophic damage from oxygen loss.

Improper Use of Birth-Assisting Tools 

Tools like forceps or vacuums are used in difficult deliveries to help guide the baby out of the birth canal. However, improper placement or excessive pulling force can inflict serious injuries to the skull and brain. These tools significantly increase risks when not utilized correctly. 

Errors Leading to Hypoxia and Anoxia 

Hypoxia occurs when oxygen flow to the brain is disrupted. If deprivation lasts longer, anoxia results. Both can stem from failures to monitor fetal heart rates, perform timely C-sections, address umbilical cord issues, or properly manage shoulder dystocia. Lack of oxygen rapidly damages delicate brain cells.  

Delayed Emergency C-Sections 

When serious complications arise, an emergency C-section is often critical to protect both mom and baby. However, failure to recognize emerging problems or delays in beginning the procedure can be disastrous. The resulting birth injuries are often extensive.

In many Philadelphia-area birth injury cases, the damage could have been prevented if proper standards of care were followed. Exploring where errors occurred is key.

Common Birth Injuries: Medical Issues and Outlook

The types of injuries resulting from birth trauma or errors vary based on what went wrong and when. Some of the most severe include

Brain Injuries from Oxygen Loss. 

Brain damage often results when oxygen flow is disrupted during labor, delivery, or the critical minutes following birth. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a serious form that causes extensive destruction of brain cells. The fragile nervous system is rapidly affected. 

Brain injuries severely impact motor control, cognitive function, communication, behavior, and personality. Management involves years of rehabilitation, therapy, and particular education interventions. Support is frequently required life-long.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy describes several incurable movement disorders stemming from abnormal brain development or damage to motor control centers. It is one of the most common birth injury-related disabilities. CP often results when trauma, oxygen loss, or disruptions occur during labor and delivery.

Depending on the areas of the brain impacted, those with cerebral palsy suffer issues like muscle tightness, weakness, imbalance, loss of coordination, tremors, trouble walking, or paralysis. Some individuals have such extreme motor impairment they require wheelchair assistance and intensive care throughout life.

Brachial Plexus and Nerve Damage 

The brachial plexus network of nerves controls movement and sensation in the shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers. Excessive pulling or pressure during delivery can severely damage these delicate structures. Temporary or permanent paralysis typically results.

Nerve injuries may heal over time, but extensive rehabilitation is required to regain strength and function. However, some never recover, suffering permanent disability. Pain, loss of control, and significant impairment impact all facets of life.

Fractures and Physical Traumas

Difficult deliveries, tools like forceps or vacuums, or breech positioning can lead to broken bones – often in the collarbone, shoulders, or arms. However, fractures can occur anywhere when excessive pressure or force is applied. 

While breaks usually heal fully, recovery takes significant time. Severe fractures or those setting improperly may lead to permanent defects requiring intensive surgery and therapy. Pain and mobility issues also frequently linger long-term. 

Understanding Your Family’s Legal Rights After Birth Injuries

Coping with a loved one’s catastrophic birth injury is extremely difficult. The physical and emotional toll on both child and family is tremendous – dramatically altering all hopes and dreams for the future. In Philadelphia, an experienced birth injury attorney Philadelphia can help your family pursue justice.

Filing a birth injury lawsuit allows families to hold negligent parties financially accountable, access funds needed for extensive care, and spark systemic changes to prevent future errors. 

Investigation and Documentation. 

An in-depth investigation analyzes all factors surrounding the labor, delivery, and ultimate injury. Medical records are extensively reviewed to pinpoint what went wrong and identify areas of negligence. Additional testing also helps thoroughly document the damage. 

Demonstrating Causation  

Proving the specific acts or omissions leading to the birth trauma is essential. Experienced birth injury lawyers in Philadelphia work with top medical experts to explain how physician errors directly cause catastrophic damage. 

Assessing Damages and Planning for the Future

To seek the total compensation the child requires, current and future medical, rehabilitation, therapy, and life planning must be evaluated by specialist physicians and life care planners. Costs often rapidly escalate over decades.

Settlement Negotiations and Trial Preparation  

Based on investigative findings and damage documentation, most reputable Philadelphia birth injury attorneys first seek equitable settlement from hospitals and physicians. However, if reasonable agreements cannot be reached through negotiation and mediation, preparing for trial is essential.

Birth injury cases require extensive expertise both inside and outside the courtroom. An attorney well-versed in the complex medical details surrounding delivery and pediatric trauma is critical. Equally important, they must have the legal experience, resources, and courtroom skills to face major Philadelphia hospitals and insurers.

An Overview of Cerebral Palsy and Fetal Monitoring Errors 

Cerebral palsy remains one of the most prevalent birth injury-related disabilities. This incurable condition encompasses several movement disorders arising from abnormal development or damage to the immature, developing brain. 

For many children, cerebral palsy results when fetal distress during labor goes unnoticed or unaddressed. Errors in reading or responding to concerning fetal heart rate monitor patterns are a major contributing factor. Tragically, however, often the resulting catastrophic damage could have been prevented by prompt emergency C-section.

To help prevent cerebral palsy and other neurological harm, standards of care mandate continuous fetal heart rate monitoring to catch early warnings of oxygen deprivation or other issues—noticeable dips in the baby’s heart rate or changes in variability or rhythm signal problems. Failure to intervene quickly places fragile brain tissues at great risk.

Why Fetal Monitoring Is Critical

Monitoring gives advanced warning of threats like umbilical cord compression or placental abruption that reduces oxygen flow to the baby’s brain. When concerning patterns emerge, swift action prevents lasting damage – typically an emergency C-section delivery. 

However, nurses and doctors must accurately interpret readings, and clear protocols must exist mandating timely responses. Delays place babies at profound risk of lasting impairment. 

Cerebral palsy lawyers find that breakdowns tragically still occur far too frequently on one or both fronts – incorrect assessment of readings or delays in calling physicians, assembling teams, beginning C-sections, etc. The push for vaginal births and VBACs in Philadelphia hospitals also heightens risks compared to earlier emergency surgery.

What Are Some Common Causes of Brachial Plexus Injuries During Birth?

From shoulder dysfunction to complete arm paralysis, brachial plexus injuries occur when the delicate network of nerves running from the spine to the fingers suffers damage. While these debilitating injuries sometimes arise unexpectedly during delivery, often excessive pressure or stretching plays a role. 

Birth injury lawyers in Philadelphia see damage frequently tied to:

  1. Difficult Deliveries Requiring Excess Pulling

During labor, the baby’s shoulders sometimes become caught on the mother’s pelvic bone. This “shoulder dystocia” naturally brings the risk of brachial plexus stress. However, excessive pulling or pressure on a baby’s head and neck dramatically heightens the likelihood of injury. Standard protocols exist to guide appropriate responses in stuck deliveries to minimize harm; however, errors still occur.

  1. Doctor Errors Using Birth-Assisting Tools

Forceps or vacuums are utilized when facing challenges bringing a baby safely through the birth canal. By fitting around the skull, they provide additional guidance. Yet these metal tools also concentrate pressure on one area – increasing injury risks compared to natural childbirth. Strict standards govern appropriate size selection, placement, and amount of pulling force to prevent nerve damage. Mistakes remain common. 

  1. Breech Positioning Adds Unnatural Pressure

During natural deliveries, pressure focuses mainly on the skull as the baby exits the birth canal. However, force concentrates on the fragile neck and brachial plexus stretching down one or both arms in breech births. This creates a substantial injury risk if the baby becomes stuck, requiring excessive pulling or tugging.

Frequently Asked Questions on Birth Injuries and Medical Negligence 

The following are among the most common questions from Philadelphia-area families:

  1. How Do I Know If Preventable Medical Errors Caused My Child’s Disability? 

Thoroughly investigating prenatal care, labor, delivery, and postnatal management is required to understand what factors play a role. An experienced birth injury attorney in Philadelphia analyzes fetal monitor strips, medical notes, nursing charts, and all other records to pinpoint issues. They then work with medical specialists to assess how proper care could have led to a different outcome.

  1. What Sort Of Compensation Is Available In A Birth Injury Lawsuit?

Families cannot undo the damage, but financial compensation allows access to all care needed for the best possible life ahead. Funds address current and long-term medical needs, rehabilitation costs, loss of future income, specialized equipment, and more. Accountability also sparks healthcare improvements.  

  1. Will Filing A Lawsuit Make Coping Harder On Our Injured Child Or Family? 

The legal process is undoubtedly complex, often lasting several years for birth injury cases. However, an experienced catastrophic birth injury lawyer PA minimizes burdens as much as possible through sensitive guidance. They handle communications, paperwork, details, medical visits, etc. This allows family members to focus their time and energy on supporting the injured child.

  1. Is There A Time Limit For Taking Legal Action After Birth Injuries?

Pennsylvania law strictly limits the timeframe for injury lawsuits. Thus, working with a Philadelphia birth injury attorney promptly is essential to preserve your rights. PA birth injury claims must be filed before your child’s 20th birthday. An attorney ensures timely action.

  1. Will Contingent Fee Agreements Provide Access To Experienced Birth Injury Representation? 

Yes, reputable birth injury lawyers in Philadelphia work on contingency – only collecting their fee if and when compensation is won. This removes barriers for injured patients and families who cannot afford elite legal help. Initial consultations are also typically free, allowing you to learn your rights.

When birth trauma leads to catastrophic injuries, lives are forever changed. Economic realities make coping even harder. In Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania, an experienced birth injury lawyer can help your family take legal action to access needed compensation while promoting better medical care for future deliveries. Consider contacting an attorney for guidance in pursuing justice.

Paths Toward Justice for Brachial Plexus Injuries

Given intricate medical issues surrounding nerve injuries, birth trauma lawyers play an invaluable role in informing families of their rights while fighting for maximum compensation and enhanced birth safety. Specially trained legal and medical experts demonstrate how negligence caused preventable harm – then compel hospitals to improve care protecting future children from permanent damage.

Don’t hesitate to contact our talented and knowledgeable birth injury lawyers at Raynes & Lawn Trial Lawyers to protect your rights and your child’s future. Justice may be a long process, but the outcome and results our attorneys achieve can make a tremendous difference for your family. Call us today at 1(800) 535-1797 for more information.