One of the most wonderful moments in a family’s life is welcoming the birth of a new baby. After nine months of waiting and planning, that perfect bundle of joy has finally arrived. Unfortunately, not all labor and deliveries go smoothly. Situations occur and if the doctor and medical staff involved in the delivery are negligent or careless, the result can be tragic. Too often, these failures by medical personnel cause serious birth injuries to the baby, such as cerebral palsy (CP), and the life the family was planning is forever changed.
What type of mistakes do obstetricians and hospital staff make that can cause such severe injury to an otherwise healthy infant? Some of the most common include:
- Failure to recognize the infant is in distress and delaying delivery by caesarean section – also referred to as a C-section;
- Failure of the medical facility to detect and diagnose an infection in either the infant or the mother;
- Failure to read the fetal heart monitor correctly;
- Failure to administer the correct dose of Pitocin or failure to administer at the appropriate time; and
- Failure to use medical devices – such as forceps or vacuum extractor – correctly during the delivery.
Many times, after these crisis deliveries, it is not always evident that the baby is suffering from a birth injury. It may take months before parents suspect something is wrong with their baby. The baby is three months old and she isn’t reaching for the toy in front of her. She is seven months old and she still cannot sit up on her own. At 14 months, she is not attempting those milestone baby steps that all parents hold out their arms for.
A child with CP will never get better. They will grow to be an adult with CP – although, sadly, many children die from medical complications caused by the condition. The medical care costs, as well as the costs to care for a child or adult with CP, are astronomical. Parents who suspect their child’s condition was caused by the carelessness or negligence of the doctor and/or medical facility where the birth took place should contact a skilled Virginia birth injury attorney to find out what legal action they may be able to take. Our VA medical malpractice firm has successfully represented many families who have had their lives forever changed because of medical personnel failures, and understand how overwhelming the legal process can feel.