While any medical injury is painful to bear, birth injuries seem to be the most tragic of them all – emotionally, physically, psychologically, and financially. Birth injury, unlike birth defects, describe damage caused during the process of labor or delivery. In some cases, these injuries are caused by a doctor’s mishandling of a high-risk situation, such as large birth weight, breech birth, umbilical cord entrapment, maternal infections, and more.

When medical professionals are negligent during the prenatal or delivery process, they may be held liable for malpractice and they may be required to pay monetary damages to the child and his or her family. After a birth injury causes a serious injury, disability, or disfigurement, families often do not have the financial resources to cover the cost of continuing medical care. Even if they did, our Florida birth injury attorneys believe that justice needs to be brought to these situations for the sake of closure and preventing similar situations from happening in the future.

Determining the true cause of a birth injury requires careful investigation of the facts and medical records and consultation with medical experts. The attorneys at Clark Fountain have years of experience in evaluating birth injury cases and obtaining compensation for our clients. At our firm, we seek to be the voice for those whose opposition is fierce.

About Birth Injuries

Birth injuries are any damages sustained by a baby during the birthing process. Many of these injuries happen as the medical staff is delivering the baby through the birthing canal. Many babies experience birth injuries that resolve themselves within a short time, but some babies suffer injuries that result in lifelong implications.

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Common Types of Birth Injuries and Their Causes

  • Brain Damage: Causes include oxygen deprivation, traumatic delivery, complications like untreated jaundice, improper use of birth-assisting tools, or failure to respond to fetal distress.
  • Cerebral Palsy: Commonly linked to brain damage before, during, or shortly after birth. Causes include infections, inadequate oxygen supply, birth trauma, or premature delivery.
  • Depressed Skull Fractures and Other Bone Fractures: Can occur from excessive force during delivery, difficult labor, or the improper use of instruments like forceps or vacuum extractors.
  • Erb’s Palsy: Often a result of shoulder dystocia during a difficult birth. Excessive pulling on the shoulders during a head-first delivery or pressure on raised arms during a breech delivery are common causes.
  • Fractured Skull: Due to the misuse of forceps or vacuum extractors during delivery, or from the infant’s head hitting the pelvic bone during a difficult labor.
  • Hypoxia: Lack of oxygen, can result from complications like umbilical cord problems, prolonged labor, or issues with the placenta or uterus.
  • Meconium Aspiration: Occurs when a newborn inhales a mixture of meconium and amniotic fluid around the time of delivery. Stress during labor or past the due date can cause the baby to pass meconium.
  • Nerve Damage: Can result from trauma during birth, such as excessive force, or from complications like a breech delivery.
  • Oxygen Deprivation: Similar to hypoxia, can be caused by issues with the umbilical cord, high or low blood pressure in the mother, or anemia in the baby.
  • Shoulder Dystocia: Occurs when the baby’s shoulders get stuck inside the mother’s pelvis during delivery. Risk factors include maternal diabetes, obesity, and prolonged labor.
  • Stillbirth/Death: Causes include genetic or chromosomal abnormalities, placental issues, poor fetal growth, infections, and complications during labor.
  • Untreated Jaundice: Can lead to kernicterus, a type of brain damage. Often caused by the baby’s liver not being mature enough to get rid of bilirubin in the bloodstream.

These injuries can be caused by a variety of factors. Improper or inappropriate force applied during birth, for example, can result in permanent shoulder nerve damage like in Erb’s Palsy. Improper monitoring of fetal distress can lead to loss of oxygen or brain function. Even improper use of forceps can lead to skull formations or brain hemorrhaging.

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Risk Factors for Birth Injuries

The more difficult the birth, the greater the risk of birth injuries. Some common factors that contribute to birth injuries include:

  • A baby whose birth weight is greater than 8 pounds, 13 ounces.
  • Babies born before 37 weeks are generally smaller, more fragile, and more prone to injury during the birth process than full-term babies.
  • The size and shape of the mother’s pelvis and birth canal. Some mothers can’t deliver a baby vaginally because their pelvises are too small or are the wrong shape.
  • A difficult labor and birth.
  • Prolonged labor. A long labor puts stress on the baby.
  • A baby who is not positioned headfirst.

But having one or more of these risk factors doesn’t mean that a baby will suffer a birth injury. With proper prenatal and delivery room care, most babies with risk factors don’t suffer any significant injuries during birth.

Medical Errors That Commonly Cause Birth Injuries

The other major factor that places newborns at risk of injury is the actions of the medical professionals involved in caring for them before and during the birth. Medical staff are expected to act according to an accepted standard of care, but sometimes they make mistakes, act incompetently or fail to notice things that they should have seen.

Some of the ways that medical professionals’ actions can lead to birth injuries include:

  • Poor communication among members of the medical team
  • Improperly administered medication
  • Failure of midwives or nurses to consult a doctor
  • Excessive use of force or improper use of forceps or a vacuum extractor
  • Failure to promptly notice and respond to fetal distress, including waiting too long to perform a caesarian section
  • Failure to properly diagnose complications
  • Failure to notice and treat umbilical cord entrapment
  • Failure to diagnose and properly treat bleeding
  • Failure to promptly intubate a newborn that needs oxygen.

Significant Case Results

$35 Million

$35 Million Verdict After 12-Year Battle for Brain-Damaged Baby

Call Clark Fountain for Help— 561-899-2100

Clark Fountain’s Birth Injury Attorneys have had the privilege of helping families seek damages from negligent hospitals under the most difficult circumstances. Nothing will stop our attorneys from seeking justice on your behalf. One of our more complex birth injury cases arose out of malpractice committed at a Broward County hospital possessing sovereign immunity because it is a government hospital. After more than a decade of relentless pursuit, our firm secured a $35 million verdict for our clients with a Broward County jury, which allowed them to take care of their child for the rest of their lives. After winning the appeal, however, our attorneys had to seek a “claims bill” through the Florida legislature, which the law says must budget for such a judgment against a state entity. Ultimately, the Governor approved the legislative bill for this family.

We obtain no fee unless you secure compensation for your claim—call our Florida birth injury attorneys for a free consultation to find out about your legal options.