Every family should be filled with joy at the prospect of adding a new child. Unfortunately, some new parents are denied this joy due to negligence, which can turn a happy occasion into something filled with deep sadness.
Though the United States is a wealthy country, it is one of the most dangerous places in the developed world to give birth, according to federal data. Hundreds of U.S. women die in childbirth annually, nearly 40,000 babies suffer a birth injury. These numbers mean the U.S. ranks first among all developed nations in serious birth incidents.
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this situation is that many of these fetal and maternal deaths and injuries are preventable. A 2018 report by USA Today discovered 50% of birth injuries and fetal and maternal deaths were preventable with a better medical response.
So why is the medical system failing so many families and their newborns?
Some of the most common birth injuries include:
These injuries are often caused or made worse by negligent medical care, prenatally, during labor or at delivery. A delayed response to complications, a failure to recognize or diagnose fetal distress or bleeding, or incorrectly using vacuum devices, Pitocin or other birthing tools are common forms of negligence, as is the failure to order a medically necessary C-section.
Should these events occur, deaths or permanent injuries may result -- injuries that may have devastating consequences for babies and their mothers, including lifelong physical disabilities. It is no exaggeration to say that inadequate knowledge of nurses or doctors, being hurried or inattentive can irrevocably alter the outcome of a newborn’s life.
Fortunately, the legal system features robust protections for those who have suffered from medical negligence. Working with an attorney who specializes in such litigation is the first step toward receiving justice.
Birth injury refers to infants who at birth or soon after appear depressed-low heart rate, pale, not moving, not breathing, or any of these problems. The baby might receive CPR or intubation right in the delivery room. These babies often require care in the NICU or are transferred to a children’s hospital for higher-level care. Many of these infants are later diagnosed as having cerebral palsy or "CP", have problems with seizures, feeding, movement, spasticity and delayed development. We often find that these problems are caused by a lack of adequate oxygen during labor or delivery and could have been prevented with proper nursing, doctor and hospital care.
The answer is that in our cases - many times. We look carefully at the fetal heart monitor strips for signs that the baby or fetus is struggling during labor. Prompt action by the nurses or doctors including immediate delivery or other action may prevent permanent brain damage.
What do past clients of the lawyer say about them in online reviews; what have their results been; do other lawyers recommend them? Have they been active in trial lawyer organizations? How long have they been in practice; when you call them are you treated with respect, kindness and attention? Do you get prompt callbacks?
You should never be asked to pay for your medical records or expert evaluations. Experienced medical malpractice lawyers will always advance costs and be repaid only if they are successful in your case.
Look at the doctor’s website - are they board certified? There are national doctor organizations or boards that will recognize or "Certify" a doctor as experienced in a certain area of medicine. They usually require that the doctor pass an oral and written examination in their specialty.
Look at how long has the doctor been practicing and where was he trained. The medical schools in the United States are hard to get into and have rigorous requirements to graduate. Foreign medical schools may be less so.
Look for what training the doctor had after medical school. What residencies or fellowships did the doctor complete? What hospitals is he or she on staff at?
Not all hospitals are of equal quality. The major medical centers and those part of university-level training programs differ from community hospitals in the experience and training of their physicians and nursing staff. They are stricter in assuring that their policies and procedures are followed by the physicians and other staff. They have more resources than you find at community hospitals.
Few things are more traumatic than serious birth injuries -- and statistics show that they occur with alarming frequency in the United States. The repercussions from such negligent actions can last a lifetime. They can turn a joyous occasion into one of the worst moments of a mother’s life.
We have extensive experience and vital resources including an in-house M.D. Bradford S. Davis, M.D. has been our in-house Medical Director since 1994 and is the former Clinical Director of the Emergency Department at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica. For nearly two decades Dr. Davis has been especially focused on evaluating infants and children who may have suffered birth trauma or other medical challenges caused by medical malpractice and negligence.
Contact the California birth injury attorneys of Michels & Lew if you believe that your child has suffered a birth injury or you are a mother who has been harmed during your pregnancy. We have been providing personalized and attentive legal representation to California families in this area of the law for more than 40 years. Our personal approach to our clients has been successful; we have helped injury victims recover more than 1.5 billion dollars in compensation. We may be able to help you and your family.