Giving birth to your little bundle of joy, or sharing the birth experience with your partner, is supposed to be one of the happiest and most exciting days of your life. However, a medical error can turn this joyous day into a nightmare, causing severe injury to mother, child, or both.
If you, your spouse, or your baby was seriously injured because of an OB-GYN or doctor’s medical errors, you should discuss your legal options with a birth injury attorney serving the Miami area. Depending on the circumstances, you may have a birth injury claim, and could be entitled to financial compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Prosper Shaked is ready to fight tirelessly for justice and compensation for your family. For a free legal consultation concerning a potential birth injury claim in Miami, contact Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA at (305) 694-2676.
Can I Sue an OB-GYN or Hospital in Florida if My Baby was Injured?
Even though healthcare professionals receive many years of education and training, there is always a risk that an obstetrician, gynecologist, surgeon, anesthesiologist, or nurse will make a devastating error that causes preventable birth injuries, organ damage, or other health problems in the mother, her child, or both individuals. In severe cases, a birth injury can permanently harm the mother, or permanently disable the child from the very beginning of his or her life. Tragically, some birth injuries even prove fatal to the mother, her baby, or both.
If a pregnant woman or her child is carelessly injured at any stage of the childbirth process, there may be a “cause of action,” or grounds for filing an injury claim. Likewise, if the birth injury is fatal to the mother or child, the survivors may have grounds for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. In either situation, it may be possible to recover financial compensation for the expenses and losses resulting from the negligent care. This can help to establish a safety net to lighten the burden of medical bills, while simultaneously helping you hold the negligent doctor or facility accountable.
Medical professionals, such as OB-GYNs and anesthesiologists, have what is called a “duty of care” to their patients. The duty of care requires healthcare professionals to exercise due caution and avoid making careless, preventable errors that cause harm to patients. If your doctor made a preventable error that caused you, your wife or girlfriend, or your baby to become injured or develop a serious medical condition, you could have grounds for a claim or lawsuit against the parties at fault, such as the individual who made the error or the facility which hired or trained the individual.
Common Types of Birth Injuries Caused by Medical Negligence
Serious injuries to mother and/or child can occur during or prior to childbirth. An injury may result from rough handling or physical trauma, such as the application of excessive force during a forceps- or vacuum-assisted vaginal delivery, or from the improper administration of medications while the fetus is still developing, or while the mother is entering labor. For example, the baby or mother can become sick or be killed by receiving an overdose of Pitocin (oxytocin), a drug commonly used to induce uterine contractions. Excessive Pitocin can cause seizures, neonatal jaundice, and an array of other serious complications.
Both vaginal births and deliveries performed via Caesarean section (“C-section”) can lead to disabling or life-threatening injuries if medical negligence occurs, though statistics indicate that women who have C-section deliveries have a higher risk of dying or sustaining injury. Unfortunately, it is common for doctors to make unnecessary delays before performing C-sections, which can starve the baby of oxygen and cause irreversible damage to brain tissue. A doctor can also cut too deeply, misposition the incision, or use an improperly sterilized instrument to make the cut, leading to a serious infection.
A few examples of birth injuries that can be due to medical malpractice include the following:
- Bone and Skull Fractures
- Brachial Plexus Injuries (BPI)
- Erb’s Palsy
- Facial Paralysis
- Klumpke’s Palsy
- Postpartum Hemorrhaging (Bleeding)
- Shoulder Dystocia
- Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
- Wrongful Death
Neurological Birth Injuries
Neurological injuries are often caused by a deprivation of oxygen during the birthing process. Medical malpractice claims are heavily regulated in the State of Florida. In fact, Florida stat. section 766.303 protects obstetricians and other medical providers from medical malpractice claims stemming from neurological injuries caused by their negligence during the birthing process.
More often than not, newborns and their parents are unable to pursue medical malpractice claims for birth-related neurological injuries. Instead, parents of newborns with neurological complications must apply to the Florida Birth-Related Compensation Association (NICA) for long term benefits and support. The issue with NICA, is that the organization often fails to provide adequate resources while stripping parents and newborns of their right to pursue a lawsuit against any negligent obstetrician, hospital or medical provider.
Despite Florida’s best effort to shield medical providers from liability for causing some of the most devastating injuries in newborns, there are certain ways to circumvent the law and pursue a birth injury lawsuit. Some of the more common examples of neurologic birth injuries include:
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
This birth injury is often due to medical malpractice. Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE, results in damage to the brain because it was not getting enough oxygenated blood flow. This results in lesions or damage to the brain. HIE is one of the common causes of cerebral palsy, or CP. With avoidance of risks (i.e. opting for a c-section instead of a vaginal birth if a vaginal birth is contraindicated) as well as proper fetal monitoring, HIE is a brain injury that can often be avoided.
Cerebral palsy is a term that refers to movement disorders that are caused by damage to parts of the brain. CP generally happens at birth or when the brain is still developing, and is a result of the brain being deprived of oxygen. Unfortunately, there is no cure for cerebral palsy, and children will live with these deficits for their lifetime. Cerebral palsy can cause difficulties with walking, talking, feeding, and performing activities of daily living. If your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy due to a birth injury or something that occurred prenatally, you should call our medical malpractice attorney in Florida today. Caring for a child with cerebral palsy is costly, and if your child’s CP was caused by a negligent healthcare provider you may be eligible for compensation that can cover the costs of care that your child will need for their lifetime.
Kernicterus is a condition that results from uncontrolled hyperbilirubinemia. Jaundice at birth is quite common and treatable. However, if a healthcare provider fails to diagnose or properly treat jaundice, it can lead to kernicterus which refers to brain damage due to an excess level of untreated bilirubin. Children with Kerniecterus will often suffer from significant neurological damage, and the condition is generally always due to medical malpractice.
Miami Birth Injury Attorney Offering Free Consultations
Nothing is more devastating than watching your child or loved one struggle with a serious injury that could have been avoided with higher quality care. At Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA, we understand how deeply personal and painful birth injury cases are for the families involved, and will handle your case with the utmost degree of compassion, care, and sensitivity. Prosper is an aggressive advocate for victims of medical negligence, and will work tirelessly to uncover precisely what went wrong while fighting for the maximum compensation.
To arrange a free legal consultation about your family’s options following a birth injury in Miami, contact Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA at (305) 694-2676. With offices located in Miami, Florida we proudly serve mothers, fathers, and children throughout Florida.