Medical malpractice law in Pennsylvania protects families who have been the victims of birth injuries. If your child suffered an injury at birth because a medical professional was negligent during the birthing process, call our birth injury lawyers in Newtown at 215-642-2335.
Types of Birth Injuries
A birth injury is an injury sustained by a newborn baby during the birthing process. There are multiple types of birth injuries, some of which are much more serious than others:
- Injuries to the nerves in the shoulder, known as brachial plexus injuries (like Erb’s palsy);
- Lack of oxygen (which might contribute to cerebral palsy);
- Facial paralysis;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Bleeding beneath cranial bones; and
- Breakage of blood vessels in the eye.
The injuries above range in type and cause, as well as severity. For example, a fracture usually heals relatively quickly, whereas cerebral palsy can affect an infant for the remainder of his or her life.
Risk Factors for Birth Injuries
Some babies are more prone to birth injuries than others for a number of reasons. Babies born to a diabetic mother or babies who are particularly large may be at greater risk for a birth injury. Babies born prematurely or after delayed labor may be at increased risk as well. Breech babies may also be at risk of a birth injury.
But medical professionals should address these complications and risks properly to minimize risk to mother and baby. While not all cases of birth injuries are related to medical negligence, failure to address complications or properly prepare for the birth could be acts of negligence that leave a medical professional liable for damages.
Causes of Birth Injuries
While the risks listed above can contribute to the risk of a birth injury, in order to hold a medical professional liable, a malpractice claim must present evidence that the professional was negligent in some way. It must then connect negligence to the birth injury.
Sometimes, a physician fails to take actions necessary to address an emergency birthing complication; other times, a physician may use forceps or a vacuum extractor with too much force. This may be negligence and the doctor may be liable if it causes injury.
But using some degree of force to deliver a child who becomes stuck in the birthing canal, for example, may not be negligence. It may be within a reasonable standard of care to deliver the baby so he or she does not become oxygen deprived from being stuck for a prolonged period.
Medical Malpractice Laws in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, medical professionals must exercise a reasonable standard of care when treating a patient. If a physician fails to act within the guidelines of reasonable behavior, and if that failure leads to an injury, then the physician may be liable for any resultant damages. You must present evidence like medical testimony that establishes that the physician violated the standard of care. Your evidence also must connect negligence to the injury.
Pennsylvania gives you two years from the date that your child’s birth injury to file a suit for damages you suffered. Your child may have until two years after he or she turns 18 to file a claim for damages. Discuss this with a lawyer to avoid missing the window to file your claim.
Contact Our Birth Injury Attorneys in Newtown
The attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC, can review your case and your eligibility to file a malpractice claim after a birth injury. If you believe a medical professional acted negligently and the negligence caused your child’s birth injury, our birth injury lawyers in Newtown are ready to help.