Types of Medical Malpractice During Birth
The birth of a child should be one of the happiest times of your life, but what happens when the doctor makes a preventable mistake that harms you or your child? Medical malpractice comes in many forms, but malpractice during childbirth is one of the most common. Childbirth-related medical malpractice happens when the doctor, hospital or other medical professionals behave negligently and cause:
- Injury to the mother or child
- Wrongful pregnancy
- Wrongful birth
Birth Injuries and Medical Malpractice
Most birth-related cases of medical malpractice result in harm to the child or mother. These injuries may occur during pregnancy or childbirth when the doctor fails to exercise proper skill and care.
Delivery injuries can include:
— Erb’s Palsy, a nerve-related injury that happens if the baby’s shoulder or neck is stretched too much during delivery. Erb’s Palsy affects up to 2 out of every 1,000 babies and it causes limited range of motion and weakness. Most babies recover feeling in the arm, but it may require physical therapy and surgery.
— Fractures. The clavicle is the most commonly fractured bone in babies during childbirth. While fractures can be unavoidable in difficult deliveries, they can also happen when the doctor has the chance to spot the likely complication and choose a C-section delivery instead.
— Subconjunctival hemorrhage that causes blood vessels in the eye to rupture.
— Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) happens when the baby’s brain does not receive enough oxygen. This can cause epilepsy, cerebral palsy, delayed development, brain damage, and even death.
Unlike a wrongful death claim, a wrongful birth action involves the claim that a physician should have warned the mother of impending birth defects or genetic defects and that if the parents had known, they would have avoided pregnancy or terminated the pregnancy. These cases are usually based on negligent genetic testing before conception or failure to detect physical or mental impairments during early pregnancy.
In some cases, parents may sue for wrongful pregnancy if they tried to avoid pregnancy through abortion, testing, or sterilization but the methods failed due to medical negligence. Parents may be able to sue for harm caused by the unwanted pregnancy and childbirth.
Every medical malpractice case requires proving not only that harm was suffered but that the doctor or medical professional failed to exercise an adequate level of care and skill. After determining the Medical Standard of Care in the situation, your Delaware medical malpractice attorney will help determine how the physician breached this standard of care.
If you or your child were injured during childbirth and you suspect medical malpractice, it’s important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact Edelstein Martin & Nelson for a free consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your case.