Birth Injury Attorneys in Columbus, Ohio
Do I Need A Birth Injury Laywer?
Some birth injuries cannot be prevented, but others occur because of errors made by physicians, hospitals, or medical staff, which is referred to as medical malpractice. When something goes wrong, the results can be catastrophic. Physicians, hospitals, midwives and other care providers often claim that the injury was unpreventable, but a third-party investigation may be needed to find the truth. The Columbus birth injury lawyers at Clark, Perdue & List Co, LPA can help.
A newborn baby should be a time for celebration and excitement for the family, but sometimes, babies can suffer unexpected physical injuries during birth. If your family has suffered a birth injury in Ohio, your mind is probably racing with a thousand questions.
- How serious is my child’s birth injury?
- What does the future hold for our family?
- How are we going to afford all of these treatments?
In this article, we will cover some of the types of birth injuries and their causes. If you are unsure whether you have a claim, please give us a call. Our caring, expert attorneys can help you make sense of your situation, with no cost to you.
If you are dealing with a possible birth injury claim, we know how stressful it can be. By calling our firm, you will receive:
- Free consultation over the phone
- Easy consultation, with no obligations
- Expert advice and case review from an experienced birth injury attorney
Do you suspect a birth injury? Don't know where to turn?
Common Types of Birth Injury Claims
Birth injuries can be classified into two primary categories – anoxic and mechanical. Anoxic injuries are the result of oxygen deprivation. Mechanical injuries are the result of physical force on the infant’s body, such as the use of forceps or vacuum extractor or pulling on a limb during delivery.
Oxygen deprivation can cause brain injuries, including cerebral palsy, brain damage, developmental delay, and blindness. An experienced birth injury lawyer will be able to determine whether preventable anoxic injuries occurred.
In Ohio, birth injury claims must be made within certain time limits. These time limits are called the statute of limitations. Since brain damage symptoms may not be noticeable in infants, the state of Ohio allows an extended statute of limitations.
Generally, claims for medical negligence in Ohio must be made within one year, with some exceptions. However, because injuries to newborn babies may not be immediately noticeable, particularly brain damage symptoms, the time period for infants begins to run out on the child’s 18th birthday.
Anoxic injuries have various causes, such as:
- Trauma to the infant in utero
- Shoulder dystocia
- Overmedication to the mother
- Umbilical cord prolapse or entrapment
- Preeclampsia and eclampsia
- Problems with placenta
These problems can have serious consequences, such as
Brain damage at birth can cause lifelong complications or severe disability. Brain damage can occur from hypoxia (partial oxygen deprivation) or anoxia (complete lack of oxygen). Hypoxia can cause developmental delays, while anoxia can cause very severe disabilities or death. Brain damage can also be caused by mechanical injuries, such as misuse of forceps or extraction vacuums.
Cerebral Palsy is often caused by oxygen deprivation. Symptoms include the inability to control muscles, inability to walk or talk, and delayed mental development. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) estimates the lifetime costs for this condition can be $1 million or more.
Autism or Mental Disability
Autism is characterized by symptoms such as intense focus on one item, unresponsiveness, lack of understanding social cues, repetitive movements, or self-abusive behavior like head-banging. Autism can also require lifelong treatment and care, which can quickly become expensive. This could include special education, caretakers, psychotherapy, and more.
The CDC estimates that the average lifetime costs associated with mental disability exceed $1 million.
Epilepsy is characterized by seemingly random seizures. It also has lifelong implications, treatments, and costs (both financially and to quality of life).
Other anoxic injuries may include:
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Behavioral disorders
- Hearing loss
- Vision loss
Want to speak with an expert? We are here to answer your call.
Mechanical Birth Injuries
Mechanical birth injuries, also known as birth trauma, are caused by physical force to the infant and are often the result of negligence. Mechanical injuries include skin irritation or abrasion, damaged muscles or broken bones, and severe permanent brain or nerve damage. Medical professionals are specially trained to handle infants and to address emergencies adequately so that these injuries do not occur. An investigation may be needed to determine and prove negligence.
Some common types of mechanical birth injuries include:
Brachial plexus palsy
The brachial plexus is a set of nerves that control muscles in the arms. They extend from the spinal cord, under the collarbone, and into the armpit. These nerves branch out individually throughout the arm and are responsible for muscle movement in the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand. When all or part of these nerves become damaged, signals cannot reach the brain from the arm – which results in muscle failure. This is known as brachial plexus palsy.
This condition is usually caused by misuse of forceps during childbirth. Using forceps on sensitive parts of the body, or with too much pressure, can quickly cause permanent damage in a fragile newborn. Sometimes, nerve damage occurs only in the shoulder or elbow – which is known as Erb’s Palsy. Klumpke’s Palsy is a similar nerve condition that only affects the hand. When the condition results in total muscle failure of the entire arm, this is known as Total Plexus Palsy.
Other symptoms include:
- Abnormal positioning of hands, wrist, or arm, like hand curling.
- Numbness in arms
- Muscle weakness in arm or shoulder
- Extremely tight elbow joint / Inability to bend the elbow
- Limp arms or wrists
Brachial plexus palsy can be treatable. In minor injuries, the nerves are able to grow back. In severe injuries, the nerves may be permanently affected for your child’s lifetime.
Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries during childbirth can result in lifelong complications and costs. These injuries are caused by excessive traction or rotation, improper use of vacuum extraction and forceps, or complications from shoulder dystocia.
Spinal cord injuries have varying degrees of severity, usually defined as “complete” or “incomplete.” The spinal cord connects all of the nerves in the body and sends signals to the brain. That means when a “complete” spinal cord injury occurs, the child will have no movement or feeling below the injury site. With “incomplete” injuries, there is some degree of movement and sensation.
For example, if a child has a complete spinal cord injury in the neck, the respiratory function will be compromised. Spinal cord injuries in the neck often occur when the infant’s shoulders become stuck behind the mother’s pelvis (known as shoulder dystocia). Medical negligence can occur during maneuvers to rotate or extract the baby.
Symptoms of spinal injuries include:
- Inability to move (paralysis)
- Reduced feeling in chest, arms, or legs
- Reduced or uncontrollable bowel function
- Difficulty regulating heart, sweating, or body temperature
- Breathing problems
Spinal cord injuries can also result in other conditions, such as Horner’s syndrome. Horner’s syndrome affects pupil size, eyelid function, and lack of ability to sweat in the face.
Other Mechanical injuries include:
- Uterine Rupture
Missed or Delayed Diagnosis
Another form of medical malpractice is missed or delayed diagnosis of a condition. Infant metabolic disorder is a serious condition that is sometimes missed at birth. A newborn left without treatment can develop lifelong disabilities.
Infant metabolic disorder is a genetic condition that makes it hard for a baby to get nutrients from food, which can result in developmental delays, seizures, or coma. The condition can be detected hours after birth via a blood test. If your child had a delayed diagnosis of infant metabolic disorder, you may have a claim.
The financial compensation in a birth injury case is referred to as damages. Because birth injury cases can have lifelong implications and costs, damages can add up to millions of dollars. This is to ensure all possible treatments are covered, as well as any impact on quality of life. Do not settle for less! Our aggressive legal team is passionate for ensuring justice to the fullest extent of the law, especially for the victims and families of traumatic birth injury.
Birth Injury Statistics
- Birth Injuries have been steadily rising since the year 2000
- 7 birth injuries per 1,000 newborns
- There are 3 bith injuries in the U.S. every hour
- 1 in 9,714 Americans were born with a birth injury
- 157,700 potentially avoidable injuries to mothers and newborns occurred during childbirth in 2006
This article was authored by D. Andrew List, Esq.
Attorney at Clark, Perdue, & List
Since 1991, Mr. List has represented seriously injured clients in cases involving medical malpractice, dangerous pharmaceuticals, nursing home neglect, birth injury, and products liability.
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