Birth Injury Attorney in Wilkes-Barre

When an infant is harmed by medical errors during childbirth, it can result in a permanent disability for a newborn and a lifetime of financial hardship for a family. Birth injuries are often the result of medical negligence on the part of a doctor or other healthcare provider. Parents rely on the expertise of a doctor and other medical personnel during pregnancy and the birth of a child. They may not always receive the quality care they were counting on. A negligent doctor or obstetrics nurse may have failed to provide the accepted level of care during childbirth. This carelessness may result in serious birth injuries that affect an infant for a lifetime. 

Serious Birth Injuries in Pennsylvania

Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy or HIE - A brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain. The oxygen deprivation generally relates to the perinatal period, just before and just after the delivery. HIE can be caused by various medical problems and complications during pregnancy. It can also affect infants during labor and delivery, as well as after delivery. 

Labor and delivery complications that may cause HIE include: 

  • Rupture of the placenta or uterus – In rare cases a mother’s uterus may tear during delivery causing massive bleeding. This may also be accompanied by a placental abruption, where the placenta separates from the uterus early, compromising oxygen flow to the baby. 
  • Umbilical cord accidents – This can include nuchal cord, when the cord is around the baby’s neck, or umbilical cork prolapse, when the cord exits the uterus before the baby. A twisted or knotted umbilical cord can also cut off a baby’s oxygen supply. 
  • Prolonged late stages of labor – A baby who is stuck in the birth canal for an extended period of time can be at risk for loss of oxygen. 
  • Very low maternal blood pressure
  • Abdominal fetal position

Cerebral Palsy – Caused by a lack of oxygen during childbirth, Cerebral Palsy can cause physical disability in development. It is the result of damage to the motor control centers of the brain. Cerebral Palsy can often be linked to lack of oxygen during childbirth and other birth complications. It can also be caused by fetal stroke or an infection developed during pregnancy. Cerebral Palsy may also be caused by head trauma after birth. Although it can be the result of many factors, medical negligence is frequently responsible for the injuries resulting in Cerebral Palsy. 

Erb’s Palsy/Shoulder Dystocia – Erb’s Palsy is caused by nerve damage to the brachial plexus, a network of nerves running from the spinal cord to the arms and shoulders. Brachial plexus injuries can occur when a physician pulls on a baby’s head while the shoulder is stuck in the birth canal. Erb’s Palsy can cause a major disability. 

The most common labor and delivery errors

  • Failure to detect fetal distress
    • The failure on the part of your obstetrician to detect fetal distress can lead to poor oxygenation during labor and delivery. This may lead to brain injuries such as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy or cerebral palsy.  
  • Delayed cesarean sections
    • Delaying a C-section can lead to many serious birth injuries related to lack of oxygen, which can lead to brain damage. 
  • Umbilical cord problems
  • A delay in the diagnosis of or misdiagnosis of childbirth complications
    • A delay in the diagnosis of a condition or complication could be devastating to the health of a baby. A delay in the diagnosis and treatment of an infection in a pregnant mother can be transmitted to the newborn causing serious illness. Misdiagnosis of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia or high blood pressure can both have a significant impact on the health of a newborn. Failure to diagnose birth complications, such as a breech baby, can also lead to many serious birthing problems. 
  • Improper use of birthing tools, such as forceps or vacuum extraction 
    • This can result in bone fractures and skull injuries to a newborn. 
  • Labor & delivery medication errors 
    • A healthcare worker may give an incorrect medication or incorrect dose, causing harm to your baby. Incorrect dosages can lead to many birth complications. 

Pennsylvania statute of limitation for birth injuries – You still have time!

In Pennsylvania, the standard time limit for filing a medical malpractice claim is two years from the date of your injury. However, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim for a child’s birth injury does not begin until the child reaches the age of 18. Once they reach the age of 18, the two-year time limit begins. As a result, you may be allowed to file a Pennsylvania birth injury lawsuit anytime before the child reaches the age of 20. 

Serious birth injuries in Pennsylvania require experienced legal representation

Birth injuries cases are complex and require attorney who are experienced in medical malpractice cases and also birth injury cases. Far too many birth injuries occur as the result of a careless or reckless doctor, nurse or hospital. Labor and delivery negligence can result in life-changing complications for a newborn. The birth injury lawyers at the Distasio Kowalski personal injury firm in Wilkes-Barre will help you hold the responsible party accountable for your infant’s pain and suffering. 

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Contact a Pennsylvania birth injury lawyer today for a FREE CONSULTATION Birth injuries that occur in Pennsylvania during labor and delivery are preventable in many cases. We offer a free, confidential initial consultation to discuss your birth injury case.