Birth injury attorney Laura Brown busts the biggest misconceptions about medical malpractice during labor and delivery
During labor and delivery, there are countless situations that can arise that result in a birth injury. Perhaps your baby experienced a lack of oxygen due to the umbilical cord being around their neck, or maybe the baby suffers a broken collarbone because they are too large to pass through the birth canal.
Fortunately, giving birth has become much safer in recent decades thanks to advanced medical technology. However, birth injuries still occur on a regular basis and it can be difficult for parents to process what happened. Making matters even more complicated, sometimes you might not know the extent of the injury for a few months or a few years after birth.
In the many years that birth injury attorney Laura Brown has been representing clients in this highly complex area of law, she has found that there are many harmful myths and misconceptions about birth injuries that persist.
Continue reading to gain a better understanding of what causes birth injuries, how they’re treated, and what you might be able to expect as your child gets older.
Myth #1: Birth injuries can be caused by genetics
FACT: Many people mistakenly think that genetics can result in birth injuries. Genetics can result in birth defects, but not injuries. An injury typically occurs because of a medical incident that takes place before, during or just after delivery. Just about anyone working in the delivery room who has contact with you or your baby can make a mistake that leads to a birth injury.
There are times when someone might do something (or fail to act) in a way that causes an injury as well, which is when you could talk to an attorney about your options for filing a negligence or malpractice claim against the responsible party.
For example, during a difficult birth where the baby seems to be stuck and doesn’t easily move through the birth canal, forceps or a vacuum could be used. If the doctor doesn’t use these instruments properly, it could result in an injury. Not performing a C-section when it’s needed or not seeing that the baby is in distress could lead to a birth injury as well.
Myth #2: Cerebral palsy is always an indicator of a birth injury
FACT: Although cerebral palsy (CP) can be caused by malpractice, such as lack of oxygen or an injury to the brain, genetics may also play a role. For example, if your baby experiences a lack of oxygen due to getting stuck in the birth canal, then cerebral palsy could result. Just because your baby got stuck doesn’t automatically mean that the doctor was negligent.
It’s important to look at the factors and circumstances in each case to determine whether the cause of cerebral palsy was preventable or not. An experienced birth injury attorney can evaluate your case and help identify if medical negligence played a role.
Myth #3: Some birth injuries are not preventable
FACT: Another common birth injury myth is that a doctor couldn’t have done anything to prevent the injury from taking place. There are some truths to this as well as some misconceptions that should be addressed. For example, if a doctor sees that your baby is in distress, then they could perform a C-section or take other steps to decrease the risk of an injury.
Your delivery doctor and their medical team should monitor you and your baby at all times while you’re in the hospital in order to identify if and when a health emergency arises. Sometimes, there’s nothing that your doctor can do to prevent an injury if it arises suddenly with little to no time to prepare. But even if paying attention to you and your baby might not have fully prevented a birth injury, perhaps it could have reduced the severity of the injury.
Myth #4: A lawsuit won’t change the outcome of my injured child, so what’s the point?
FACT: Yes, it’s true that filing a lawsuit won’t change what happened during your child’s delivery, and it won’t change the struggles that your child might have to face in life.
However, filing a lawsuit could mean you gain access to vital financial assistance which you can use to pay for medical bills and long-term treatment that your child might need to heal and thrive in the years and decades to come. For many families we represent, this compensation makes all the difference in the world.
Myth #5: I have all the time in the world to file a birth injury claim
FACT: It’s important to understand that some states have a legal deadline to pursue a birth injury malpractice claim—known as the “statute of limitations.” If your child reaches a certain age and you haven’t filed a suit by this deadline, then you might be unable to pursue damages except in very rare circumstances.
In most (but not all) states, the birth injury statute of limitations is 2 years to file a claim.
Myth #6: Proving medical malpractice is impossible
FACT: Although you might not think it’s possible to prove that a medical professional did something during the delivery of your baby to cause an injury, you might be surprised at what we can do. In fact, there are ways that other doctors can prove that negligence occurred during delivery by looking at the medical records, details of monitoring devices, and speaking with other professionals who cared for you and your baby.
It’s important to let an experienced attorney or another doctor have access to your records if you feel strongly that a birth injury took place.
Myth #7: Minor birth injury cases aren’t worth pursuing
FACT: Even a minor injury could result in lifelong issues for your child. Your doctor might try to brush off the injury so that they aren’t liable for what happened. As your child gets older, you may start to notice abnormalities in how they interact with others, how they are able to care for themselves, or how they learn in school.
No injury is too minor for filing a lawsuit, especially if you feel that someone else was at fault for your baby’s injuries. Although the suit could result in a lower settlement amount because of a minor issue, it could still help with medical bills and any therapy that might be needed.
When to consult a birth injury attorney
There are many myths and misconceptions out there about birth injuries and medical malpractice. Many of these mistruths benefit negligent medical professionals and their malpractice insurance companies because parents don’t fully understand their legal rights.
At Brown Trial Firm, we bust these common myths by providing facts and answering questions about birth injury lawsuits. Attorney Laura Brown has served families nationwide for many years and has dedicated her career to tackling the most complex birth trauma cases. Find out how she can help you.
Schedule your free consultation today.
- Cerebral Palsy
- Caput Succedaneum and Cephalohematoma
- Neonatal Intracranial Hemorrhage (Childbirth Brain Bleeds)
- Hydrocephalus (Extra Fluid in the Brain Cavity)
- Cervical Dystonia
- Hemiplegia (Brain or Spinal Cord Injury)
- Hemorrhagic Stroke
- Neonatal Stroke
- Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL) Brain Injury
- Infant Seizures
- Spastic Diplegia (Spasticity in the Legs)
- Top Risks for Birth Injuries
- G-Tubes for Newborns
- Medical Errors
- Cesarean Section & Birth Injury
- Negligence in Brain Cooling Treatment
- Craniosacral Therapy
- Fetal Intolerance to Labor
- Jaundice (Kernicterus)
- Breech Position
- Placental Complications
- Placental Problems
- Umbilical Cord Problems
- Uterine Rupture
- Cervical Incompetence (Insufficiency)
- Blighted Ovum
- Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) - Intestinal Inflammation
- Cephalopelvic Disproportion
- Meconium Aspiration Syndrome
- Amniotic Fluid Embolism
- Birth Injury from Premature Delivery
- Developmental Delays
- Abnormal Cord Insertion
- Infections at Birth
- Chorioamnionitis Bacterial Infection
- Premature birth
- Oxygen Deprivation
- Obesity Related Birth Injuries
- Intrauterine Growth Restriction
- Blood Clots During Pregnancy
- Ectopic Pregnancy Misdiagnosis
- Myths & Facts About Birth Injuries
- Bacterial Vaginosis
- Gestational Diabetes
- Maternal Mortality Risk