Accomplished Memphis Birth Injury Attorneys Putting Families First
Fighting for justice for families in Memphis, Jackson and throughout the state
For every 1,000 births in the United States, between six and eight injuries occur during labor and delivery. Most have a favorable outcome and either resolve on their own or require very little medical intervention. However, some babies suffer tragic birth injuries that will have an impact on the rest of the child’s life.
At the law firm of Bailey & Greer, PLLC, we have compassion for families who are dealing with the pain and confusion of a birth injury to their newborn. We have experience investigating birth injury cases and winning compensation on behalf of our clients. We even have an in-house registered nurse to assist with investigating birth injury claims. With offices in Memphis and Jackson, we are equipped and able to represent families throughout West Tennessee.
- What is a birth injury?
- What are the causes of birth injuries?
- Is my baby at risk for a birth injury?
- What are the most common types of birth injuries?
- What are the symptoms of birth injuries?
- How can a Memphis birth injury attorney help?
- How long will my Memphis birth injury case take?
- What is the value of my birth injury claim?
- Is your birth injury law firm near me?
What is a birth injury?
A birth injury occurs when a baby suffers a physical injury as a result of the birthing process, typically during the journey through the birth canal. According to Merck Manual, many newborns suffer minor injuries during birth, and most injuries resolve without treatment.
However, sometimes birth injuries cause serious physical trauma. Merck notes that most birth injuries affect the head and brain, but can also affect the bones, nerves, and soft tissues. Others may not be immediately visible, as symptoms can take weeks, months, or even years to present.
What are the causes of birth injuries?
While there are many factors that can cause birth injuries, human error is often the main cause. Medical personnel might do the following:
- Use improper or excessive force to deliver the baby
- Use forceps and/or a vacuum extractor improperly
- Fail to order a Cesarean section when it is appropriate and/or needed
- Fail to notice signs of fetal distress
- Fail to notice problems with compression of the umbilical cord
- Make mistakes in medications, including those used in epidurals
There are also a number of questions that a parent should ask to determine if a medical professional’s negligence may have resulted in a traumatic birth injury.
- Did you have an infection that the doctor did not diagnose properly or chose not to treat? Many times, an infection can be transmitted to a baby during pregnancy or the delivery process. If your baby suffered from an infection shortly after birth, this may have been the result of a maternal infection that could have been treated before it was transmitted to your baby.
- Was your labor far longer than you anticipated? Although there are many women who experience a lengthy delivery process, if yours went on for a particularly long period of time then there may have been harm suffered by your baby as the result of physical trauma.
- Did your doctor order an emergency cesarean section? There are many reasons to schedule a cesarean section, but if one is performed on an emergent basis, there may have been a problem that should have been diagnosed earlier than it was. If fetal distress led to the emergency procedure, could the doctor have diagnosed the problem earlier? With birth injuries, a delay of mere minutes can have serious consequences.
- Did an abnormal presentation, such as breech, or shoulder dystocia, where the baby becomes lodged in the birth canal, delay or prevent a vaginal birth? All of these complications can cause birth injuries if the medical professionals fail to react quickly.
- Did something happen in the delivery room that indicated there was a problem? Although the delivery room is a time when you are focused on delivering your baby and spending those first few minutes with your new baby, this is a time when things may go wrong. Was your baby hooked up to any monitors? Did the nurses or doctors take your baby away for treatment? Were the medical professionals paying enough attention to you and your new baby to realize that there may be a problem? All of these situations may indicate that something went terribly wrong in the delivery room.
- Did your baby have a normal Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration (APGAR) score, cry on his/her own, and otherwise exhibit good health at the time of delivery? There are many indicators that a newborn is in distress. It is critical that medical professionals respond to these signs immediately, taking appropriate actions to avoid permanent harm. Any type of delay can lead to hypoxia, internal bleeding, or other medical emergencies that can lead to severe, long-term harm from a birth injury.
These are just the initial inquiries that a parent should undertake if she or he has a child who suffers from the long-term devastating harm resulting from a birth injury.
If you have any questions about what caused your child’s birth injury, don’t rely solely on the medical personnel involved in the birth itself. The information you get may be incorrect or misleading. It is more likely that your pediatrician will be able to give you the correct diagnosis and information. If an act of negligence is suspected, Bailey & Greer in Memphis may be able to help you.
Is my baby at risk for a birth injury?
The risk of birth injury to a child can increase when complications arise during the delivery process. If the doctor performing the delivery aggressively employs a delivery method beyond what is proper and appropriate, the chances of trauma to the infant during the delivery process increase.
Some of the serious risk factors that can elevate the prospects of birth injury include:
- Breech delivery
- Negligent use of vacuum extraction or forceps
- Extended labor
- Cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD)
- Premature birth
- Other complications such as uterine rupture, umbilical cord damage, or placenta detachment
Sometimes doctors must use forceps or other delivery methods as a result of certain pre-existing factors. These factors can increase the chance of birth injury:
- Multiple births. Includes twins, triplets, and other multiple births. These babies are sometimes born with low birth weight or prematurely, increasing the possibility of birth trauma.
- Babies with low birth weight. Babies born weighing 5-1/2 pounds or less, particularly those weighing under 3 pounds. These babies are at higher risk for birth injuries, including cerebral palsy.
- Large babies. Babies weighing over 9 pounds at birth have an increased risk of birth trauma and resulting injuries.
- ART infertility treatments. Children conceived by these treatment methods face a higher risk of birth injuries, from multiple births to preterm delivery.
If you are a parent of a child who has sustained a birth injury as a result of the negligence of medical professionals, you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to secure compensation for the medical expenses and other losses involved. Some birth injuries require lifelong care with costs that reach into the millions of dollars.
What are the most common types of birth injuries?
Sometimes medical professionals make mistakes, and babies suffer serious injuries during the birthing process. It is important to note that many birth injuries may have been avoided if only someone had taken a different action. There are many possible types of birth injuries, including the following:
- Cerebral palsy: A group of brain and nervous system disorders that can cause problems with movement, learning, vision, and hearing.
- Shoulder dystocia: When the fetal head has passed into the birth canal and the shoulder(s) become lodged or stuck on the mother’s pelvis.
- Brachial plexus injury: Occurs when the network of nerves in the fetus’s neck is damaged during a difficult childbirth.
- Erb’s palsy: A result of brachial plexus injury that affects the child’s strength, growth, and mobility of the arm, hand, and wrist.
- Head and brain injuries: Can range from minor bruising and swelling to bleeding in the brain (intracranial hemorrhage).
- Skull fracture: Bone fractures can happen to any bone in the fetal body, but most common are collarbone and skull fractures.
- Oxygen deprivation: Also known as perinatal asphyxia, this occurs when the umbilical cord gets twisted, cutting off the fetal oxygen supply.
Sometimes these injuries are caused by labor and delivery negligence. Issues such as failure to properly monitor the fetus during labor, which would cause the doctor to miss signs of oxygen deprivation and other problems (including harm to the mother), can be considered medical negligence.
Post-partum negligence, where the injury occurs after the birth, can include the failure to monitor the mother after delivery to watch for signs of infection, bleeding, or other complications.
What are the symptoms of a birth injury?
While some birth injuries are easy to diagnose immediately following birth, others may take some time and observation to detect. Parents who suspect a birth injury should look for the following symptoms:
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How can a Memphis birth injury attorney help?
In the days following the discovery that your newborn’s injuries might have been the result of medical negligence, you may have many questions, and you may feel hesitant about the idea of suing your doctor. You may consult with one of our attorneys and receive accurate legal guidance about your case and possible next steps. This consultation will give you the information you require to make an informed choice about whether or not you want to take legal action.
When your lawyer begins work on your case, they must gather and assess medical records in order to determine whether it is likely that negligent actions injured your child during birth. In assessing medical records, your attorney may consult with medical specialists who can help them to determine the likelihood that the injuries that your child has suffered were caused at birth. If your attorney is able to conclude that your child’s injury is likely the result of negligence, they can file your claim for damages.
How long will my Memphis birth injury claim take?
If your child was injured at birth, you may already be feeling the weight of your responsibilities as parents of a child with special needs. Your relationships, your career, and your finances may be stretched thin, and you are more than likely wondering when and how you will get some sort of a break from the constant stress. If you are thinking of pursuing a lawsuit against one or more medical professionals whom you believe to have caused harm to your child, it is only natural to wonder how long your birth injury case will take.
Many birth injury cases take between 18 months and two years from start to finish. Birth injury lawsuits can be rather complicated, so it is also possible that your case could go on for more than two years. Because two years is a long time to hang on when your personal and financial resources are stretched thin, it is important that you speak with an attorney about filing a claim as soon as you begin to suspect that your child has suffered a birth injury.
Once your claim has been filed, a few things might happen concurrently over an extended period of time. Your attorney will be gathering information about your case through the discovery process, and they may also receive one or more settlement offers from the opposing party or parties. The discovery process is the means by which attorneys prepare their cases for trial, even if it is possible that the parties may settle beforehand. During discovery, both written requests for information, called interrogatories, and verbal examination of witnesses, called depositions, are conducted by attorneys on both sides of the case.
Many times, as the discovery process moves forward, plaintiffs receive settlement offers from the defendants against whom they have filed suit. When this happens, the plaintiffs are able to choose whether to accept or reject the settlement offer. An experienced Memphis birth injury attorney can help you to assess settlement offers, so that you can avoid accepting offers which will not adequately compensate you for the injuries that your child has suffered, and for the care that they will need in the future. If the defendants do not produce a settlement offer that you can accept, your attorney will pursue the recovery that you deserve at trial.
What is the value of my birth injury claim?
Many birth injuries, such as developmental and neurological disorders, require a lifetime of medical care which can cost a fortune. Your child may lose cognitive, physical, and emotional functions. They may suffer constant pain.
Experienced birth injury lawyers work aggressively to determine how the hospital, birth physicians, and other health providers committed medical malpractice. In addition, we work with your doctors to fully understand the medical needs your child will have, and all the ways his/her life is changed due to medical error. In birth injury cases such as cerebral palsy, there may be additional hidden expenses such as home care and assistive medical devices.
If your child’s birth injury was the result of medical negligence, you can recover damages for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income
- Pain and suffering
As always, it is in your best interest to consult with a Memphis birth injury attorney to find out if there are any other damages to which you may be entitled.
Is your birth injury law firm near me?
Bailey & Greer, PLLC is located in Memphis, but we also serve Jackson and all of West Tennessee. If, due to your child’s injuries, you are unable to come to our offices, we can work with you to set up a hospital or virtual consultation. We want to help.
Contact our West Tennessee birth injury attorneys today
If you discover that your child’s birth injury was preventable, your best bet is to contact a lawyer. Bailey & Greer, PLLC, is ready to answer your questions. We understand the pain, anxiety, and financial hardship that a birth injury can cause.
Our Memphis and Jackson birth injury lawyers offer compassion and care as we handle your case. Do not hesitate to call us at 901-475-7434 or fill out our contact form to request a free consultation. We work tirelessly to represent you, your family, and your child.