FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-04-05
There are few times parents are more vulnerable than during the birth of their children. Many emotions take over, ranging from excitement to fear, and during those moments parents must trust medical providers to ensure the safety of both the mother and child.
Unfortunately, this is a potentially dangerous time for both mother and child. Many things can go wrong, and if medical professionals are not vigilant birth injuries can result.
Causes of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries are not uncommon, even a “normal” delivery can result in trauma to an infant. Unfortunately, many injuries are not the result of natural causes. Improper use of medical devices such as forceps and vacuums to aid in delivery of the child through the vaginal canal can increase the risk of injury. Other factors that increase the risk of a birth injury include:
- Prolonged rupture of membrane
- Pregnancy lasting longer than 42 weeks
- Misread fetal heart monitor strips
- Infections during labor
Technological advances allow doctors to reduce these risks. Obstetricians can perform cesarean sections when these or other risk factors are present, and medical professionals can induce labor if the gestational period is prolonged.
Birth Injuries and Liability
Since medical professionals have a certain level of control over these factors, they can be liable for injuries. In situations where injuries can be avoided, doctors can be held liable. This is often the case when an obstetrician fails to recognize or respond to changes in labor that signal problems.
In addition to physicians, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies can be liable for birth injuries. Hospitals may be liable if reasonable practices were not followed in hiring adequate and well-trained nurses or doctors. Pharmaceutical companies may be liable if they recommend a medication for use either during pregnancy or delivery which causes an injury.
If you or a loved one is injured as a result of a doctor’s or hospital’s negligence, you have a right to recover damages. Contact an experienced birth injury attorney to ensure all your legal rights and remedies are protected.