Delivery Room Errors & Injuries
Mistakes in the Delivery Room Can Affect Lives. Our Attorneys Are Here to Help.
Pregnancy and new parenthood are some of the most rewarding times of our lives. They are also very stressful—and when the medical professionals you entrust with your care mislead you, your baby might be seriously injured before or during birth. At Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, PSC, we are here to help clients seek justice after delivery room mistakes or neglect.
Contact our nationally recognized birth injury team online or call (502) 242-8872 to speak with an experienced lawyer.
Delivery Room Errors Can Have Long-Term Effects
Infants are extremely vulnerable, and small medical mistakes that an adult could withstand might leave permanent marks on a newborn. Low oxygen levels can lead to mental impairment; a forceful delivery can cause arm and shoulder disability or paralysis; mis-dosed anesthesia can damage organs. Your baby will have these disabilities or injuries their entire life. As a parent, you’ll face an even harder path forward than most—not to mention the likelihood of high doctor bills and other disability-related expenses.
Learning that your baby has been injured because of your doctor’s negligence is heartbreaking. You may not want to think about the long-term implications of birth injuries because they are so serious. However, you are not without recourse in this situation. You may be able to file a lawsuit for the costs of raising a disabled child. You can also hold the negligent physician accountable for their actions and save other parents from a botched delivery. Sadly, we can’t help you turn back time, but we can help you pursue a better future for yourself and your baby.
Precise Care Is a Delivery Room Necessity
Delivery rooms are loud and busy places. Medical professionals must monitor both mother and baby’s health constantly. Many things can go wrong during a birth. Do you have questions about your delivery? Our in-house medical staff can provide qualified answers and advice on complex medical issues.
Pitocin (a synthetic form of oxytocin) or prostaglandins (which are produced naturally) are used to induce labor in some cases of pregnancy that threaten either the mother or the child. Some families may use these hormones on a doctor’s instructions to schedule their labor. Though induction works for around 3 in 4 first-time mothers, these drugs can cause excessive contractions that interfere with oxygen flow to the baby.
Use of these induction agents may also lead to uterine rupture, a condition that is dangerous for both mother and baby. Mothers who have previously delivered via cesarean section or have other uterine scarring are especially at risk. After a rupture, a baby may get caught in the mother’s abdomen where it does not have access to oxygen; in either situation, suffocation can lead to bradycardia (abnormally slow heart rate), brain damage, seizures, or even death.
Analgesics, epidurals, and general anesthesia are three options mothers may choose to reduce or numb pain during delivery. Opioids such as fentanyl are commonly used to help mothers during labor. These drugs, which can be fatal for adults when misused, cross the placenta and make it into the baby’s bloodstream. They will slow the baby’s central nervous system and breathing and could even affect brain function if present in high levels. Other risks of epidural anesthesia include changes to the mother’s blood pressure, which can cause fetal heart rate to drop, and the possibility of fetal mispositioning, which can necessitate use of forceps or vacuum deliveries.
In some cases, painkillers weaken contractions, slowing the delivery process. When a delivery has not been completed after 20 hours of contractions (or 14 hours, for those who have already given birth), doctors declare it a prolonged labor. Often, they will intervene with a cesarean section to avoid possible complications.
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, may develop in your baby during a long labor. A sign of oxygen deprivation, hypoglycemia can be treated—but if doctors don’t notice it, the condition can cause brain injury and seizures. Fetal macrosomia puts children at a high risk for this condition.
Infections Not Identified or Treated
Bacterial infections are especially dangerous for babies as their immune systems are still developing. Whether carried by the birth parent or picked up in the hospital, if not detected by caregivers, these bugs can put your baby in grave danger.
Group B Streptococcus (GBS) live in the digestive system and urinary and reproductive systems. Usually, adults don’t even know they’re infected. However, if they carry the bacteria, the placenta, womb, and amniotic fluid may pass it on to the baby. GBS disease causes minor symptoms at first, but if unnoticed and untreated, it could cause pneumonia, sepsis, or meningitis. Likewise, E. coli are present in everyone’s body, but newborns who come into contact with the bacteria either during childbirth or in the hospital may develop septicemia (which could progress to sepsis) or meningitis.
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) can be transmitted to a baby when it passes through the birth canal. Affected babies may develop blisters or jaundice and have trouble breathing when infected. The virus can spread to various organs and cause permanent damage or disabilities such as loss of sight or hearing and seizures. Herpes infections may also lead to encephalitis.
Infants who do not receive necessary treatment for bacterial or viral infections may develop sepsis, meningitis, or encephalitis, all of which are life-threatening conditions. Sepsis, or an infection of the blood, may cause breathing difficulties, bradycardia, fever above 100.4, or seizures. The condition is fatal—around 1 in 10 babies who develop a severe infection do not make it. Survivors often experience chronic pain or fatigue, decreased organ function, and/or loss of limb.
When an infection reaches the central nervous system, it can cause the membranes that protect a baby’s brain and spinal cord (meninges) to swell. Meningitis affects the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) and can cause a variety of symptoms including fever, rash, arching back, fontanelles, and seizures. Bacterial infections typically cause more serious forms of meningitis that can lead to lasting affects, including seizures, brain damage, and hearing loss.
Encephalitis, a viral infection of the brain, can cause seizures, paralysis, loss of consciousness and coma, or even death. Though some complications may fade after a few months, others such as memory problems, lack of muscle coordination or paralysis, vision or hearing impairment, or speech impairment may be permanent.
Make Sure Your Baby Is Taken Care of After a Delivery Room Error
If a doctor or nurse fails to catch signs of infant distress during delivery, your baby could develop serious health conditions that leave lasting scars. Caring for a disabled child is no less rewarding, but it will likely result in higher medical bills and more missed work. An institution that failed to provide your baby with proper care might be liable for these expenses. Our experienced birth injury lawyers at Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, PSC, work with families to build cases against negligent caregivers. If you have a question about what happened during your baby’s delivery, we are here to help.
Contact us online or call (502) 242-8872 to speak to our caring Kentucky team today.
Failure to Recognize Fetal Distress $7 Million
Failure to Perform C-Section $5.5 Million
Failure to Perform C-Section $2.5 Million
Failure to Perform C-Section $730 Thousand
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