Birth injury cases can be the most legally challenging type of medical malpractice case. If your child has suffered an injury during childbirth, you absolutely need highly experienced Chicago birth injury attorneys with a track record of real and demonstrable success in court. The medical expenses for families following a traumatic birth injury will be very high for several years, so it is important to hold the responsible parties accountable so you can receive the damages you are due to compensate for the financial and emotional losses you have incurred.
Common Risk Factors for Birth Injuries
Medical professionals should account for several potential risks that increase the likelihood of a traumatic birth injury occurring. These include:
- Macrosomia: Unusually large babies; if the infant weighs 8-9 pounds or above, it is cause for concern.
- Abnormal Pelvis Size/Shape: Mothers with a pelvis that is not large enough for a safe delivery may require an alternate method of safely giving birth to the child.
- Premature Babies: Babies born on or before the 37th week of pregnancy are at a higher risk of complications because their body parts are not fully developed.
- Prolonged Pregnancies: Pregnancies that continue far beyond the projected due date and/or include an unusually long labor period may be cause for concern.
- Past Pregnancy Problems: If a mother has had birth complications in the past, this should be taken into account when planning a safe delivery.
- Abnormal Delivery Positions: Such as babies that are born in the breech position (feet first) where the infant’s arms can become hyper-extended.
- Instrument Deliveries: Deliveries wherein the obstetrician uses instruments such as a forceps or vacuum extractor and if not careful, can end up applying undue force to the child’s head during delivery.
- Obesity/Excessive Weight Gain: If the mother is gaining weight excessively during the pregnancy, it could be a sign that the child will be too large for a safe delivery.
Types of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries can cause long-term disabilities to newborn children such as cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injuries (also known as Erb’s Palsy), cognitive impairments, mental disabilities, and paralysis. A birth injury case requires a team of highly experienced medical malpractice trial lawyers, working with top-notch obstetric experts, to wade through the records and evidence to find out exactly what happened, to evaluate whether there was medical malpractice, and to stand up to the doctors and hospitals who too often fail to take responsibility.
Birth injuries are often caused by a medically unreasonable delay in the delivery process. When a fetus is not receiving sufficient oxygen or if there is an infection, waiting too long to perform a C-section can deprive the baby of oxygen and cause permanent brain damage including cerebral palsy or paralysis. Sometimes, symptoms of cerebral palsy are not noticeable until several years later when the child starts experiencing difficulty in moving or communicating.
Another common form of childbirth malpractice is a brachial plexus injuries associated with shoulder dystocia. In this type of case, a baby’s shoulder is lodged behind the mother’s pelvic bone while the mother is attempting to give birth. If the obstetrician does not act in a reasonably careful manner—i.e., if the obstetrician stretches or pulls on the baby’s head—the obstetrician can injure the baby’s brachial nerve during delivery, resulting in permanent weakness or paralysis to one of the child’s arms. As with cerebral palsy, the full extent of a brachial plexus injury is often not visible until years later.
If you think your healthcare professional made a mistake during your child’s birth, the first thing you should do is contact the experienced Chicago birth injury lawyers at Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. At HM&M, our attorneys work closely with physicians and other healthcare professionals to help you get answers, determine your rights and seek the compensation you deserve.
A Sample of Our Successes
- $14,128,000 – Verdict for 14-year-old boy for brain injury caused by medical malpractice at birth. An obstetrician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital failed to perform a timely C-section leading to brain damage. Read the Chicago Sun-Times article about this case here.
- $9,000,000 – Verdict for a 20-year-old disabled man for severe injuries caused due to medical malpractice at birth. A resident doctor at Cook County Hospital prematurely and improperly performed an amniotomy leading to a cord prolapse and brain damage.
- $7,500,000 – Settlement for brain injury suffered by a child at birth due to the failure of his doctors to treat a Group B strep infection.
- $7,500,000 – Settlement for brain injury, which was caused when the doctors and nurses failed to use a fetal heart monitor to track labor.
- $7,300,231 – Structured settlement for 6 year old girl injured at birth when resident physicians pulled excessively on girl’s head during delivery, resulting in an injury to child’s left brachial plexus nerve.
- $6,500,000 – Settlement during trial for brain injury to a child caused during labor and delivery when doctor and nurse failed to realize that the fetal heart monitor was picking up the mother instead of the baby for nearly two hours. See Chris Hurley interviewed about the case here.
- $4,500,000 – Settlement on behalf of a 12-year-old boy born developmentally challenged when doctors failed to perform an immediate cesarean section after there were indications he was suffering from lack of oxygen in the womb.