Medical malpractice refers to a health care practitioner or facility failing to fulfill its duties of care to a patient, resulting in injuries or deaths. Medical malpractice can take many shapes and forms, including negligence-related birth injuries.
An injury suffered before, during or after birth could impact an infant for life. The victim of a birth injury may qualify for compensation if his or her family can prove medical malpractice. Certain birth injuries point to malpractice more often than others.
An infant could suffer a serious brain injury during labor or delivery under the negligent care of a physician. Brain injuries can arise from trauma to the head or skull, improper use of forceps or failing to intervene when the baby loses oxygen.
A doctor must carefully monitor an infant’s vital signs during labor and delivery. The doctor must act quickly to recommend emergency intervention if the infant shows signs of fetal distress. Malpractice could lead to the physician failing to act fast enough to prevent brain damage.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common motor function disability among children is cerebral palsy. CP can impact a person’s ability to move, speak, eat and think. No known cure exists for CP. A birth injury could cause CP by interfering with an infant’s brain development. The most common birth injury related to CP is lack of oxygen to the brain.
If a doctor uses inappropriate or dangerous methods to dislodge a child from the pelvic bone or elsewhere in the birth canal, the infant could suffer a range of injuries. Tugging on the infant’s arm could damage the muscles, ligaments or nerves in the shoulder. This could lead to preventable birth injuries such as shoulder dystocia, brachial plexus injury or Erb’s palsy. Broken bones in the shoulder or arm are also possibilities.