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August 31 - Newsblog #1
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner and Wife Sue over Police Shooting
September 7 - Newsblog #2
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner’s Possession of Handgun Legal Under 2nd Amendment
September 14 - Newsblog #3
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: if a Government or Government Agency is at Fault, You Can Sue
September 21 - Newsblog #4
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Lawsuit Against Police Department Invokes the Civil Rights Act
September 28 - Newsblog #5
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: a Clear Line from the Action – or Inaction – to the Injury
October 12 - Newsblog #6
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Insensitivity Turns Traffic Stop into a Travesty
October 19 - Newsblog #7
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Who Abuse Power Must Be Held Accountable, Law Professor States
October 26 - Newsblog #8
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Holding Overly Aggressive Police Accountable
November 2 - Newsblog #9
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Brown Vs. Impd Case About Much More Than Punishment or Money
November 9 - Newsblog #10
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Improper Medical Diagnosis and Care Resulted in Loss of an Eye
November 16 - Newsblog #11
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Medical Malpractice Claims Have a Front End and a Back End
November 30 - Newsblog #12
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Truths About Medical Malpractice
December 7 - Newsblog #13
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Yes, You Can Sue City Hall
December 14 - Newsblog #14
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Slip and Fall Changes Two Lives Forever
December 28 - Newsblog #15
In the News: Ramey & Hailey Year in Review
January 4 - Newsblog #16
In the News: Teen’s Sexual Abuse Case Calls Attention to the Problem
January 11 - Newsblog #17
In the News: Parents of Survivor Sue Parents of Shooter
January 18 - Newsblog #18
In the News: Erin Brockovich Teams Up with Indiana Moms
January 25 - Newsblog #19
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Case Settled in Favor of Catastrophic Slip and Fall Injury Victim
January 31 - Newsblog #20
In the News: Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Rehab Facility
February 8 - Newsblog #21
In the News: Nurse Arrested in Sexual Abuse Case
February 15 - Newsblog #22
In the News: Running the Clock on Indiana Medical Malpractice
February 22 - Newsblog #23
In the News: to Repeal or Not to Repeal – Indiana Legislators Rule “not”
March 1 - Newsblog #24
In the News: Helping Physicians Keep Helping
March 8 - Newsblog #25
In the News: Parents of Brain-damaged Infant Sue Hospital
March 15 - Newsblog #26
In the News: Owner of Gun Wins Decision
March 22 - Newsblog #27
In the News: Indiana House Passes Long Term Care Protections Bill
April 5 - Newsblog #28
In the News: Slip-and-fall Victim Wins Right to Sue Dollar Tree
April 12 - Newsblog #29
In the News: Inspection Report Shows Vets Harmed at 52 Nursing Homes
April 19 - Newsblog #30
In the News: Sandwich Diversion Causes Fatal Two-semitrailer Crash
April 26 - Newsblog #31
In the News: Does Premises Liability Cover Goose Attacks?
May 10 - Newsblog #32
Two-week-old N.y. Verdict Offers Takeaways for Slip and Fall Victims
May 17 - Newsblog #33
In the News: Barrel Blast Triggers Wrongful Death Lawsuit
May 24 - Newsblog #34
In the News: when a Product Manufacturer is Not at Fault
May 31 - Newsblog #35
In the News – College Doc’s Sexual Abuse of Students Coming to Light
June 7 - Newsblog #36
In the News – One Week, Four Motorcycle Accidents
June 14 - Newsblog #37
List of Troubled Nursing Homes Released

Medical Malpractice Newsletter

Newborns Injured During Birth Due to Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice usually involves negligence on the part of a health care professional. As professionals, health care providers, e.g., doctors, surgeons, and nurses, are held to a standard of care for the services they provide. This standard typically consists of what a comparable, reasonable professional would do under the same or similar circumstances. When the care falls below the standard, the professional may be liable for any resulting injury and damages.

Not all birth injuries are the result of malpractice. However, for those that are, they are treated like any other medical malpractice case. As such, if the health care professional handling the pregnancy and/or birth fails to act in accordance with the applicable standard of care, liability may be imposed for damages.

Pre-Natal Care

While developments in medical technology provide increasingly sophisticated ways to monitor the progress of a pregnancy, they also impose a duty upon health care professionals to detect any problems so indicated.

Many birth injuries relate to the fetus’s failure to receive a sufficient amount of oxygen. By monitoring the fetus, this problem can be detected. Common causes include the separation of the placenta from the wall of the uterus, or the shifting of the baby’s position, which affects the umbilical cord. Proper monitoring can also reveal whether the mother has a kidney or a urinary tract infection which could impact the baby’s health. An elevated heart rate for the fetus can also be detected, which may indicate the necessity of immediate delivery by cesarean section.

Particular problems are associated with giving birth to a large baby, including an increased chance that the baby’s shoulder will get stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone. Although a number of maneuvers can be used to free the baby, precaution must be taken to avoid stretching the baby’s neck in the process. Other risks include injuring or severing the nerves attached to the baby’s spine, especially those nerves connected to the arms and hands. The result can be brachial plexus palsy; a condition characterized by partial or complete, temporary or permanent, paralysis of the affected area.

If the baby is too large, cesarean delivery may be advisable. An obstetrician or other professional who fails to detect problems related to its size may be liable for the resulting injury to the baby. Indications of this problem include the following:

  • Gestational diabetes of the mother (diabetes that develops during pregnancy)
  • Excessive weight gain by the mother
  • An obese mother
  • The mother has previously delivered a large infant
  • Excessive increase in the measurement from the top of the pubis to the top of the uterus, called the “McDonald measurement” and normally monitored during pregnancy
  • Delivery that takes too long

The Birthing Process

During the actual birth, there remains a danger that the baby will be injured through the negligent use of medical instruments (e.g., the “forceps”). Sophisticated equipment, attached to the mother or the fetus, is commonly used to monitor the baby during birth. The baby’s heart rate, for example, can indicate the onset of “fetal distress” and other problems. An elevated heart rate at particular times during delivery may indicate that the baby is not receiving enough oxygen.

If the baby does not receive sufficient oxygen over a prolonged period, the result can be brain damage. This can cause cerebral palsy, “cerebral” referring to the brain and “palsy” to muscle weakness or lack of control. Any impairment depends upon which part of the brain is affected, but the effects can include: retardation; seizures; impairment of speech, hearing or eyesight; muscle spasms and lack of mobility. The end result may be so severe that the baby will never be able to function normally or care for itself as it grows older.

Consequences of Birth Injuries

Birth injuries can range from mild to severe. A birth injury can affect any part of the newborn’s delicate body, but injuries to the newborn’s brain or neurological system are the most grave. Complications during the birthing process can lead to long-term disorders or permanent mental retardation. If a newborn exhibits any signs of a birth injury, an expert should be contacted immediately to investigate whether medical malpractice took place.

Doctors and hospitals have been held liable for their failure to properly monitor births, and/or take appropriate action in response to the monitoring, whether the failure took place before, during, or immediately after the birth. Both doctors and hospitals may be liable for the acts of nurses. As a result, both the parents and the child may recover compensable damages.

Parents may recover for their pain and suffering, in addition to their medical costs.
An action may also be brought on behalf of the baby itself. Damages can include future medical costs, lost earning capacity and pain and suffering.

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