Welcome to Arkansas’s trusted source for birth injury legal support. With expertise stretching from Little Rock to Fayetteville and beyond, Brown Trial Firm stands ready to support families who’ve experienced the unthinkable during one of life’s most joyous occasions.
Whether your child’s birth took place at the renowned UAMS Medical Center, Baptist Health Medical Center, or any other labor and delivery hospital in our beautiful state, experienced Arkansas birth injury attorney Laura Brown is here to help. Laura knows firsthand that even in the best facilities, medical errors and negligence can result in birth injuries, leaving families searching for answers.
I can’t help but worry about my daughter’s developmental delays. She’s not hitting her milestones like other kids her age, and I keep going back to those terrifying hours of prolonged labor. Did the doctors do something wrong? Could the complications during her delivery be the reason she’s struggling? I just want answers.
At Brown Trial Firm, we’re committed to helping you find the answers to your questions so you can begin the process of recovering the compensation your child needs to thrive. We understand the pain, worry and confusion that accompany a birth injury, and we’re determined to help you every step of the way. Together, we’ll explore your legal options and take the journey toward healing, recovery and justice for your child and family.
When you’re ready, reach out to our law firm for a free consultation.
If we decide to take your case, you won’t have to worry about any out-of-pocket costs or upfront fees.
Our firm never charges you a fee unless we win your case.
Notable infant birth and death statistics in Arkansas
According to data from the March of Dimes, Arkansas has experienced a falling fertility rate each year since 2015. In 2020, the state had 35,251 live births, which is a fertility rate of 60.7 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44.
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that Arkansas teens had the second-highest birth rate in the U.S. in 2021, with 26.5 births per 1,000 teens. This is nearly twice the national average of 13.9 births per 1,000 teens.
The state’s demographics for live births from 2018 to 2020 were, on average:
- White: 64%
- Black: 19.6%
- Hispanic: 11.1%
- Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.6%
- American Indian/Alaska Native: 0.6%
The CDC also reports that the infant mortality rate in Arkansas is 7.3 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, with 260 deaths reported in Arkansas in 2020 alone. The national infant mortality rate for that same year was only 5.4 deaths per 1,000 live births.
The top causes of infant death include birth defects, low birth weight, maternal health problems, and birth injuries.
My baby has a birth injury. Could it have been caused by medical negligence?
Not all birth injuries are preventable or caused by medical errors, but unfortunately, many are. If your baby is suffering from one of these common birth injuries, it could be the result of medical negligence:
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE is a type of brain dysfunction caused by a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain around the time of birth. It can result in permanent brain damage, developmental delays and other long-term disabilities.
- Cerebral palsy. Often resulting from a lack of oxygen to the brain during pregnancy or birth, cerebral palsy affects muscle tone and coordination, causing lifelong movement disorders and other health issues.
- Brachial plexus injuries. These injuries, like Erb’s palsy, involve damage to the nerves that control the arms and hands and can occur when there’s difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder, known as shoulder dystocia.
- Fractures. Commonly affecting the clavicle or collarbone, fractures can occur during a difficult delivery or when birth-assisting tools like forceps are used improperly.
- Spinal cord injuries. These can result from traumatic stretching or twisting during birth or the use of forceps and can lead to permanent damage or paralysis.
- Facial nerve injury. Often caused by the use of forceps or pressure on the baby’s face during birth, this injury can lead to temporary or permanent facial muscle weakness.
- Kernicterus. A severe form of jaundice, kernicterus occurs when bilirubin accumulates in the brain, potentially causing permanent brain damage.
- Caput succedaneum. Caput succedaneum refers to the swelling of a newborn’s scalp that appears as a soft lump on their head. It’s often caused by vacuum extraction or by the pressure exerted on the head during a vaginal delivery and typically resolves on its own within a few days.
- Cephalohematoma. A cephalohematoma is the collection of blood between a baby’s skull and the periosteum, the membrane covering the bones. It usually occurs due to the pressure exerted on the baby’s head during delivery, and though it generally does not cause lasting harm, it may take weeks or months to fully disappear.
- Intracranial hemorrhage. Intracranial hemorrhage involves bleeding within the brain and can be caused by a traumatic birth, especially when vacuum extractors are used. It can lead to long-term neurological complications and requires immediate medical attention.
If your child suffered one of these birth injuries or died in childbirth and you suspect a medical error is to blame, don’t hesitate to get the help you need.
What’s the most common newborn birth injury?
Birth injuries most frequently affect the head due to the nature of the birthing process and the vulnerability of the newborn’s head during delivery. In fact, one study published in The Journal of Pediatrics found that about 80% of all birth injuries involved the scalp.
Below are some of the reasons why head injuries are so common during childbirth:
- Positioning during birth. In a typical head-first delivery, the baby’s head is the first part of the body to pass through the birth canal. This leads to the head being exposed to pressure and potential trauma before the rest of the body.
- Soft and developing skull. A newborn’s skull is softer and more malleable to allow for growth and to facilitate passage through the birth canal. While this is essential for development and delivery, it also makes the head more susceptible to injury.
- Use of birth-assisting tools. Tools like forceps and vacuum extractors, when used to assist in delivery, are applied to the baby’s head. If used improperly, they can cause various types of head injuries, including fractures and brain bleeds.
- Size of the head relative to the birth canal. A newborn’s head is relatively large compared to the size of the mother’s birth canal. This can create challenges during delivery, leading to increased pressure and potential injury to the head.
The combination of these factors means that the head is often the most vulnerable part of a newborn during delivery, leading to a higher likelihood of injury in that region. This underscores the importance of skilled medical care and appropriate interventions during childbirth to minimize risks.
What is the greatest risk factor for birth injuries?
Birth injuries can be complex and multifactorial, with various risk factors that can involve the mother, baby, and healthcare providers. Here’s a breakdown of some of the primary risk factors:
- Age, including very young or older mothers
- Pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes or hypertension
- Being pregnant with multiples
- Improper prenatal care
- Premature birth before 37 weeks
- Large baby or high birth weight
- Breech position
- Congenital abnormalities
- Lack of experience or training
- Improper use of tools
- Failure to monitor the baby’s heart rate or other vital signs during labor
- Delayed decision to perform a cesarean section (C-Section)
- Lack of proper communication among the medical team
Laura Brown has recovered millions of dollars for children with birth injuries. Here’s just one of her many successful settlements:
Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury
Our client’s infant was diagnosed with cerebral palsy caused by misuse of Pitocin, delayed Cesarean section delivery, improper use of a vacuum extractor, and improper maneuvers during a shoulder dystocia. 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.
Recognizing and managing these risk factors requires a coordinated approach among the healthcare team, including careful monitoring, timely intervention, and personalized care based on the unique characteristics and needs of the mother and baby. When medical professionals fall short of these responsibilities, legal recourse might be a necessary step to ensure accountability and provide support for the affected families.
What are birth injuries due to negligence?
While some birth injuries are unavoidable and occur due to natural complications, others may result from negligence on the part of healthcare providers when they don’t provide an appropriate level of care.
The term “duty of care” refers to the legal obligation of healthcare providers to act with the same level of skill, care and diligence that a reasonably competent professional in the same field would exercise under similar circumstances. This duty extends throughout pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum care.
Negligence occurs when a healthcare provider fails to meet the standard of care expected in their profession, and this failure leads to harm or injury. Examples of negligence may include improper use of birth-assisting tools, failure to monitor vital signs, delayed responses to distress, or communication errors among the medical team. When these failures are the direct cause of a birth injury, they may be classified as negligence.
From the moment our son was born, we knew something was wrong. The joy of welcoming our precious baby into the world quickly turned into despair. We later discovered that the doctor ignored clear signs of distress and delayed a necessary C-section, a decision that changed our lives forever. I’m so glad we sought compensation through a birth injury lawsuit so our son could get the medical care he needs.
How can a birth injury lawsuit help my child?
A birth injury lawsuit can be a significant step for families who have experienced trauma and hardship due to a birth injury caused by medical negligence or malpractice.
Here are some of the ways that pursuing a lawsuit might help your child and your family:
- Compensation for medical expenses. Birth injuries often require extensive medical care, therapies and ongoing treatments. A successful lawsuit can provide compensation to cover these costs, both immediate and long-term.
- Funding for specialized care. If your child needs specialized care, therapy or equipment, a lawsuit can help secure the funds to provide those essential services, contributing to a better quality of life.
- Future financial security. A birth injury might have lifelong implications, affecting your child’s ability to work or live independently in the future. Compensation from a lawsuit can be set aside to provide financial security and support for your child’s long-term needs.
- Emotional closure. Pursuing a lawsuit can help provide a sense of justice and closure. Holding those responsible accountable can be an essential part of healing and moving forward for many families.
- Awareness and promoting change. Your lawsuit might draw attention to negligence or unsafe practices, potentially leading to changes that improve safety and care for others in the future.
- Related family needs. The impact of a birth injury isn’t limited to the child; it affects the entire family. Compensation may also cover counseling, support services, and even lost wages for parents who need to provide full-time care.
While a lawsuit can’t undo the injury, it can be a vital tool in securing the resources and support needed to provide the best possible care and quality of life for your child and your family.
Increase your chance of success by hiring an experienced Arkansas birth injury attorney
A birth injury lawsuit is a complex legal process, and the decision to pursue one should be made with careful consideration and professional guidance. Experienced Arkansas birth injury attorney Laura Brown can assess your specific situation, explain your legal rights and options, and advocate on your child’s behalf.
If you believe your child’s birth injury was due to medical negligence, don’t hesitate to reach out to Brown Trial Firm today for a free consultation. Your child’s future is worth fighting for, and we’re here to help.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Stats of the State – Teen Birth Rates. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/teen-births/teenbirths.htm
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
Fertility rate: Arkansas, 2010-2020. (n.d.). March of Dimes | PeriStats. https://www.marchofdimes.org/peristats/data?reg=99&top=2&stop=1&lev=1&slev=4&obj=1&sreg=05
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
Osterman, M., Hamilton, B., Martin, J., Driscoll, A., & Valenzuela, C. (2023). Births: Final Data for 2021. National Vital Statistics Reports, 72(1). https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr72/nvsr72-01.pdf
Products – Data Briefs – Number 427 – December 2021. (2021, December 21). Www.cdc.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db427.htm#section_5