Physician Mistakes Can Lead To Serious Birth Injuries


Most prospective parents are excited to welcome their new babies and look forward to their deliveries. Unfortunately, however, some infants suffer birth injuries during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. While not all birth injuries are caused by medical malpractice, some are preventable injuries that result because of the medical mistakes made by doctors and other medical providers. If you think that your doctor might have caused your baby’s birth injury, Raynes & Lawn can help you understand your rights and options.

The Mistakes Physicians Can Make That Lead To Birth Injuries

Improper Monitoring

Doctors and other medical providers must properly monitor and evaluate the health and wellbeing of both mothers and babies during pregnancy and the labor and delivery process. Typically, doctors use fetal heart rate monitors to check for signs of oxygen deprivation or fetal distress. If a doctor improperly monitors the fetal heart rate, the signs might go unnoticed and cause a serious birth injury called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). This condition results when the baby’s oxygen flow to the brain is disrupted, and it can cause epilepsy, cerebral palsy, or other permanent disabilities.

Some other signs of fetal distress or complications that could lead to it that doctors should watch for include the following:


  • Reduced movement
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Abnormal volume of the amniotic fluid
  • Abnormal biophysical profile results
  • Excessive or inadequate maternal weight gain
  • Maternal cramping


Communication Failures

Communication failures are another common area in which doctors might make medical errors. For example, a medical provider might identify an issue but fail to communicate his or her concern to the other medical team members during shift changes. Communication failures can place both mothers and babies in danger.


Misdiagnoses/Failures To Diagnose

Some doctors fail to properly diagnose a patient’s condition or fail to take the symptoms a patient is experiencing seriously. This can be dangerous when mothers experience complications that can rapidly escalate to life-threatening emergencies.


Lack Of Informed Consent

Doctors must obtain their patients’ informed consent before starting a new treatment or procedure. This means that a doctor must tell the patient the risks of a recommended treatment or procedure so that the patient can make a fully informed choice.

The Mistakes Physicians Can Make That Lead To Birth Injuries

Medication Errors

Prescription drug errors, including prescribing the wrong medication or administering the wrong dose, can be dangerous to both the mother and baby and cause serious birth injuries. For example, administering drugs intended to induce labor can cause uterine rupture or oxygen deprivation when they are not administered in the correct dose. Anesthesia errors can cause interference with labor and increase the chance that a doctor will try to use instruments like vacuum extractors and forceps. If they use these instruments incorrectly, a baby can suffer birth trauma and potential lasting disabilities. Anesthesia errors can also cause the mothers to suffer hypotension, postpartum hemorrhage, and other serious injuries.


Failing To Properly Intervene On Time

When complications arise, doctors must intervene quickly to protect babies and mothers. If they wait too long, both the baby and mother can be in danger. For example, signs of fetal distress should prompt doctors to quickly work to restore the infant’s oxygen flow to prevent the development of HIE by changing the mother’s position and administering medication, fluids, and oxygen. Failing to promptly perform a medically necessary C-section is also a type of negligence that can cause serious birth injuries.


Failing To Monitor High-Risk Patients


Women with the following conditions are considered to have high-risk pregnancies and require careful monitoring throughout their pregnancies:



Even if a mother has a high-risk pregnancy, proper monitoring can still help their babies to be born healthy. When a doctor fails to properly monitor a pregnant mother with a high-risk pregnancy, serious consequences can result.

When To Consult A Birth Trauma Attorney

If your doctor or other medical provider failed to act promptly and properly during your pregnancy, labor, or delivery and caused a birth injury, then you should contact a birth trauma attorney at Raynes & Lawn as soon as possible. Many different types of medical mistakes can cause birth injuries that might cause lifelong disabilities. In addition to the common types of mistakes listed above, there are others that might also amount to medical malpractice.

If you think that your baby’s birth injury was caused by medical negligence, you should consult an experienced child injury lawyer as soon as possible. Birth injury lawsuits are complex and require the help of medical experts and an experienced malpractice lawyer. Under Pennsylvania law, you will also be required to submit a certificate of merit to the court at the time you file your lawsuit. This certificate is a confirmation by a medical expert that has reviewed your case that the medical provider’s care deviated from the standard of care and caused your infant’s birth injuries. If you cannot show that the doctor’s negligence caused your injuries, you will not have grounds to file a claim.

Your lawyer will also need to present evidence to the court that you suffered compensable harm before you can file a claim. At Raynes & Lawn, we have fought for the rights of malpractice victims for more than five decades and have recovered billions of dollars on behalf of our clients. A serious birth injury can cause permanent disabilities requiring lifelong care and treatment. Filing a medical malpractice claim against the medical professionals who negligently caused your baby’s injuries can help to cover the extensive costs of a serious birth injury and your other losses. Our team of experienced attorneys can evaluate your case for free and explain its legal merits to you. Call us today at 1-800-535-1797 to schedule your free consultation.


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