Even in some of Arizona’s best medical facilities, like Banner University Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital, mistakes happen every day that leave families facing the agonizing reality of a birth injury.
As an experienced birth injury law firm, we know all too well that the impact of a birth injury on a child and their family is immeasurable, turning what should be a joyful time into a period of anxiety, confusion and heartbreak. Conditions such as cerebral palsy and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) can mean lifelong challenges, ongoing medical care, and a future filled with uncertainty.
I trusted my doctor with my baby’s safety, but something went horribly wrong during delivery. Now my son has serious developmental delays, and I can’t shake the feeling that a mistake was made. The fear that he might have brain damage is keeping me awake at night, and I don’t know how to get him the help he needs.
If you find yourself in this painful situation, you’re not alone, and you don’t have to face it without support. Arizona birth injury attorney Laura Brown understands the complex emotions and challenges that follow a birth injury and is dedicated to advocating for families like yours across Arizona.
With compassion, experience and a commitment to justice, Laura can guide you through the legal process, ensuring that negligent parties are held responsible so you have the resources you need to provide the best possible life for your child.
Arizona birth and infant mortality statistics
According to data from the March of Dimes, there were nearly 77,000 babies born in Arizona in 2020, a fertility rate of 54 per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44.
Sadly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 399 infant deaths in Arizona in 2020, which equates to an infant mortality rate of 5.19 deaths per 1,000 live births. This is slightly less than the national infant mortality rate that year of 5.4.
During the period from 2018 to 2020, the ethnicities of the babies born in Arizona were as follows:
- 42.5% Hispanic
- 41.2% White
- 6.1% Black
- 5% American Indian and Native Alaskan
- 4% Asian and Pacific Islander
What are birth injuries due to negligence?
“Birth injuries due to negligence” refers to any harm or injury to a baby that occurs as a result of medical mistakes or failures on the part of heath care professionals. Below are instances of potential medical negligence at various stages of pregnancy and childbirth:
- Failing to diagnose or properly manage conditions, including not recognizing or treating maternal infections, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes or other conditions that could endanger the baby
- Prescribing medications that are harmful to the fetus without considering safer alternatives
- Not ordering regular blood tests, scans and other necessary tests to monitor the fetus’s health and development
- Failing to detect or treat jaundice, which can lead to brain damage
- Failing to monitor the baby’s vital signs and respond to any irregularities
- Not diagnosing or treating infections promptly and correctly
In all of these instances, medical negligence can arise from lapses in judgment, lack of communication, failure to follow standard protocols, or insufficient skill or training on the part of healthcare providers.
Parents who suspect that their child’s birth injury was caused by medical negligence should consult an attorney who specializes in birth injury cases, as compensation may be available.
What are the most common complications during labor and delivery?
Labor and delivery are critical phases of childbirth that involve complex physiological processes. While most deliveries proceed without issues, complications can arise that pose risks to mother and baby.
Here are some of the most common complications that occur during labor and delivery:
- Fetal distress. This refers to signs of distress in the baby, such as a decrease in movement or abnormal heart rate, which could indicate that the baby is not receiving enough oxygen.
- Preterm labor. Labor that begins too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy, can result in premature birth and associated health problems for the baby.
- Breech position. When the baby is positioned feet or buttocks first, instead of head first, it can lead to complications during delivery.
- Umbilical cord problems. Cord prolapse, knots or entanglement can cut off the baby’s oxygen supply, requiring immediate medical intervention.
- Placental issues. Placenta previa (low-lying placenta) or placental abruption (separation of the placenta from the uterus) can cause serious bleeding and other complications.
- C-section complications. Emergency or planned cesarean sections carry risks such as infection, bleeding, and injury to other organs.
- Shoulder dystocia. This occurs when the baby’s head passes through the birth canal but the shoulders become stuck, posing a risk of injury to both mother and baby.
- High blood pressure and preeclampsia. These conditions can lead to reduced blood flow to the baby, premature birth, and other serious complications if not managed properly.
- Infection. Infection in either the mother or baby can lead to serious health problems and must be treated promptly.
- Uterine rupture. Though rare, this serious complication involves the tearing of the uterus, often at the site of a previous C-section scar, and requires emergency surgery.
- Cephalopelvic disproportion. This means that the baby’s head is too large to fit through the mother’s birth canal during delivery. In many cases, it necessitates a C-section.
- Forceps- or vacuum-assisted delivery. These tools used to help deliver a baby can lead to birth trauma and injuries if a doctor isn’t trained to use them correctly.
- Hemorrhage. Excessive bleeding during or after delivery can be life-threatening if not controlled.
- Prolonged labor. Sometimes referred to as “failure to progress,” this complication occurs when labor lasts too long, often leading to exhaustion and an increased risk of infection or distress for both the mother and baby.
- Rapid labor. This condition occurs when the mother is in labor for as little as 3 to 5 hours. Often, it signifies that the baby is smaller than average and may have health issues.
Healthcare providers carefully monitor for these and other complications, and they often have protocols in place to manage them. A failure to abide by the established standards of care in any of these situations could be medical malpractice.
Did your baby suffer one of these birth injuries after a complication during delivery?
A “birth injury” refers to any harm or damage that occurs to a newborn baby during the process of labor and delivery. While not all birth injuries are preventable, some unnecessarily occur because of medical errors or negligence.
If your baby suffered any of the following birth injuries, medical negligence could be to blame:
- Brachial plexus injuries. These involve damage to the nerves that control movement and sensation in the arms and hands, often resulting in conditions like Erb’s palsy or Klumpke’s palsy.
- Cerebral palsy. It is a group of neurological disorders that affect movement, muscle coordination, posture, speech and more. Cerebral palsy can occur due to brain damage from a lack of oxygen before, during or shortly after birth.
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE is a serious birth injury that can result from a decrease in oxygen and blood flow to the baby. This lack of oxygen can cause brain cells to become damaged or die, leading to potential developmental delays, intellectual disabilities and cerebral palsy.
- Brain bleeds. A brain bleed, also known as an intracranial hemorrhage, is characterized by bleeding in or around the brain of a newborn during the birthing process. Brain bleeds can lead to potential complications such as brain damage, developmental delays and neurological impairments.
- Fractures. Common fractures during birth include clavicle (collarbone) fractures, which can occur during difficult deliveries or when excessive force is applied to the baby’s shoulder area.
- Facial nerve injuries. These injuries may occur as a result of birth trauma, such as pressure on the baby’s face during delivery, leading to facial nerve damage and potential facial paralysis.
- Caput succedaneum and cephalohematoma. These are conditions involving swelling or pooling of blood between the skull and scalp, often caused by the pressure exerted during labor and delivery.
- Spinal cord injuries. Severe trauma during delivery can result in spinal cord injuries, which may lead to paralysis or impaired motor function.
- Jaundice. This is a common condition in newborns, characterized by a yellowing of the skin and eyes due to an excess of bilirubin, a substance produced when red blood cells break down. While usually harmless, severe or untreated jaundice can lead to a type of brain damage called kernicterus, causing lifelong developmental issues and disabilities.
Don’t wait to get the financial help your child needs.
Laura Brown has helped families recover millions of dollars for past and future medical care. Here’s just one of her many successful cases:
Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury
Our client’s infant was diagnosed with cerebral palsy due to misuse of Pitocin, delayed cesarean section delivery, and failure of medical professionals to respond to fetal distress.
We secured a successful recovery for our client and our fee was paid out of the gross settlement amount, meaning the client was able to secure our legal assistance without any out-of-pocket expense.
What is considered a traumatic delivery?
A “traumatic delivery” refers to a childbirth experience that involves significant physical stress or injury to the mother or baby. It can include various circumstances, such as prolonged or difficult labor, the use of forceps or vacuum extraction, excessive traction, or complications during a cesarean section.
Prompt medical attention and appropriate interventions are essential for managing and minimizing the impact of a traumatic delivery and preventing birth injuries.
How can babies get brain damage during delivery?
Brain damage is one of the most common forms of birth injury. A baby can suffer from brain damage in the womb, during labor or after delivery if they don’t get sufficient oxygen.
Even a few short moments of a lack of oxygen can lead to permanent injuries and conditions like cerebral palsy. Babies can also suffer brain damage from maternal infections, preeclampsia, jaundice and kernicterus, or physical damage to the head.
Can an infant recover from brain damage?
If a baby suffers from mild brain damage, their prognosis for recovery is usually good. This doesn’t mean it immediately resolves, however. In some cases, it can take years of therapy and treatment before the child fully recovers.
Unfortunately, moderate to severe brain damage is likely to last for the rest of a child’s lifetime. Such children often need constant care. Often, babies with severe brain damage have cognitive disabilities or conditions such as cerebral palsy or epilepsy.
Is brain damage due to birth injury common in labor?
While brain damage during delivery doesn’t happen often, injuries to the head and brain are among the most common birth injuries. In fact, according to a recent study published in The Journal of Pediatrics, scalp injuries account for as many as 80% of all birth traumas.
Thankfully, modern medical and technological advancements have reduced the risks, but head injuries and brain damage still occur far too often when proper medical care isn’t provided.
Are you considering a birth injury lawsuit but still unsure of your options?
Laura Brown specializes in Arizona birth injury cases and can help you understand your legal rights.
Consultations are free, and you don’t pay anything unless she wins.
What are the long-term effects of a birth injury?
The long-term effects of a birth injury can vary depending on the specific type and severity of the injury. Some common long-term effects of cerebral palsy and other brain injuries include the following:
- Physical impairments. Birth injuries can lead to physical disabilities or impairments, such as muscle weakness, coordination difficulties or motor function limitations.
- Cognitive and developmental delays. Some birth injuries can result in cognitive impairments, learning disabilities, or developmental delays, affecting the child’s intellectual abilities and overall development.
- Sensory impairments. Certain birth injuries can cause sensory impairments, including vision or hearing loss, which can impact the child’s ability to perceive and interact with their environment.
- Emotional and behavioral challenges. Children who’ve experienced birth injuries may be at a higher risk of developing emotional and behavioral challenges, such as anxiety, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and difficulties with social interactions.
- Educational and vocational limitations. Depending on the extent of the birth injury and its impact on the child’s abilities, there may be limitations in educational attainment, employment opportunities, and overall independence.
Long-term effects can vary, and early intervention, medical care, therapy and support services play a crucial role in managing and minimizing the impact of birth injuries on the child’s long-term outcomes. Unfortunately, that care is often costly, but a lawyer can help families recover compensation through a birth injury lawsuit to pay for these and many other financial expenses related to birth injuries.
How many years after a birth injury can I make a claim?
The statute of limitations for filing a birth injury claim in Arizona is only 2 years from the date of your child’s injury or from when the injury became apparent.
This means that if your child’s injury was not diagnosed until after their second birthday, you may still be able to file a claim.
Because the time you have to file a lawsuit is limited, it’s essential to meet with an attorney to discuss the details of your case as soon as possible so your child doesn’t miss out on the opportunity to receive much-needed compensation.
When we discovered our daughter had cerebral palsy, we felt lost and overwhelmed. Pursuing a birth injury lawsuit seemed daunting, but it was the best decision we ever made. The legal process not only provided us with financial support for our daughter’s medical care, but it also gave us peace of mind knowing that justice was served. We can now focus on her future and recovery without worrying if we can afford it.
Get the compensation your child needs with help from Arizona birth injury attorney Laura Brown
While no successful lawsuit will ever be able to fully compensate your child for the suffering they’ve endured because of a birth injury, it can be an important first step to justice and a financially secure future that will allow them to get the care they need to live their life to the fullest.
Birth injury attorney Laura Brown is ready to answer your questions and advocate on your child’s behalf to help give them a brighter future, just as she’s done for so many other children with birth injuries in Arizona.
Her consultations are free, and you never pay a fee unless she wins your case, so reach out to Brown Trial Firm today to get started.
Gupta, R., & Cabacungan, E. T. (2021). Neonatal Birth Trauma– Analysis of Yearly Trends, Risk Factors, and Outcomes. The Journal of Pediatrics. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2021.06.080
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019b). Stats of the states – infant mortality. Cdc.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/infant_mortality_rates/infant_mortality.htm
Percentage of births by race/ethnicity: Arizona, 2018-2020 Average. (n.d.). March of Dimes | PeriStats. https://www.marchofdimes.org/peristats/data?reg=99&top=2&stop=10&lev=1&slev=4&obj=3&sreg=04&cre