Birth Injury Medical Malpractice
We have successfully settled or tried numerous cases involving birth injury and are prepared to assist any family whose child was seriously injured because of negligence of the hospital, doctors or nurses at or around the time of birth. Contact us for a free consultation.
The number of newborns who suffer brain injury due to substandard medical care is large and the cost of providing necessary custodial, rehabilitation and medical care for those injured is a huge burden for families as well as for the schools, government support systems, medical insurers and ultimately the taxpayers who bear much of the cost to provide even the most minimal levels of care. The cost of loss of human potential and depression of the spirits and psyches of the injured and their loved ones is sobering and incalculable. Neither exact numbers and percentages nor reasonable approximations of the injuries that are caused by negligence are known at the present time. This is due to poor record keeping, bad data collection, vague or improper diagnosis, failure of hospitals and doctors to self-report bad occurrences whether or not they might involve verifiable negligence, denial, avoidance, cover-ups, failure to have clear universal standards, or ignorance or incompetence of medical providers relating to the understanding of medical causation of injury and its application to a given patient.
It has been the experience of attorneys at MUELLER LAW, as well as that of other legal and medical practitioners with substantial experience and knowledge in birth injury cases, that there are a number of fact patterns, instruments and drugs that result in a disproportionate share of the preventable injuries sustained, especially in the term or near term infant. These factors may operate alone or in combination with each other to produce injury.
Often, multiple factors will combine, any or all of them avoidable. For example, Pitocin may be used to a point of hyperstimulation even as there is a failure to progress and/or of fetal descent. This may be exacerbated by maintaining or increasing the Pitocin, failing to recognize the presence of caput and or molding and then ultimately misjudging the state of descent of the head leading to an unsafe attempt at a vacuum or forceps delivery from suboptimal position.
Improper use of labor stimulating medications, most notably Pitocin and Cytotec:
Both of these medications can cause uterine activity (contractions) that is too frequent, too intense, too long or with too much baseline muscle tone. If the condition is not reversed and goes on long enough and severely enough, brain injury can and will result. Generally this happens because the contraction activity will eventually impair uterine/placental blood flow to a critical level. This is referred to as ischemia or hypoxia/ischemia and the resultant damage to the brain is termed hypoxic/ischemic encephalopathy or brain damage. Sometimes the ischemia is caused by excessive mechanical pressures to the head and brain which can also impair blood flow alone or particularly in combination with reduced blood flow to the baby generally through the placental unit. Problems caused by Pitocin can generally be quickly reversed by reducing or stopping the medication until the uterine activity is restored to normal. Cytotec, once in the system, takes longer to wear off but is generally less intense than Pitocin-caused problems.
Failure to properly interpret fetal monitor strips involving either the baby’s heart rate pattern, the maternal contraction pattern, or both:
This can result in failure to detect or appreciate the severity of a current or impending blood flow problem. Doctors and nurses are notoriously inconsistent in their interpretations and often not sufficiently educated and informed on this area of medicine.
Failure to appreciate and respond to abnormal bleeding of the mother, the fetus or both:
Significant blood loss is dangerous for obvious reasons, but it can be a problem in and of itself by reducing the circulating blood volume available to transport oxygen and nutrients to the mother and/ or the baby. It can also be a sign of life-threatening complications such as abrupted placenta or uterus or a severed or compromised blood vessel (vasa previa, velamentous insertion, etc.) vital to the baby’s circulation.
Failure to timely call and/or perform an emergency C-section for a baby in a threatened condition. Improper use of delivery instruments, i.e., vacuum or forceps:
This may involve improper placement or technique, excessive numbers of attempts or force, applying the instrument in a dangerous position on the fetal head by way of either angle or level of head descent or both.
Failure to appreciate and remedy an obstruction/entrapment of the umbilical cord:
Such as around the neck too tight, below the head or presenting part –prolapsed, or twisted, knotted, pinched or damaged, or inadequate umbilical cord.
Failure to recognize and treat newborn conditions:
Such as high or low blood sugar, infection, blood loss, jaundice and bilirubin levels.