Obstetrical Malpractice Lawyers
Obstetrical malpractice occurs when your OB/GYN deviates from the standard of care expected for other physicians under the same or similar conditions. If your obstetrician didn’t follow these standards, and your child was injured during labor and delivery, he or she may be liable for obstetrical malpractice.
Cerebral Palsy often occurs during childbirth when your infant does not receive enough oxygen during delivery resulting in a brain injury. The name cerebral palsy refers to loss of muscle control, but in addition to these physical limitations your child may also suffer from mental retardation.
If your baby was stuck in the birth canal and the umbilical cord was compressed your infant may have been injured by a lack of oxygen to the brain. If a cesarean section or C-section was delayed it could have resulted in brain damage causing cerebral palsy in your child.
The issue of fetal distress is an extremely important issue because if your labor and delivery medical personnel failed to detect your infant’s distress early enough and did not take emergency measures, your child may have suffered a severe birth injury. Such an outcome may have been prevented if your obstetrician had noticed the fetal distress and remedied it in a timely manner by either fixing the underlying problem or delivering your baby promptly (usually by emergency C-section).
Erb’s Palsy occurs when your baby experienced a very difficult or extremely long delivery and your infant’s brachial plexus region (area found in the neck and shoulders which encompasses the nerves that go from the spinal cord into the arms) was injured. This birth injury happens when your infant experiences shoulder dystocia (your baby’s shoulder becoming trapped behind your pubic bone). Then your baby cannot move down the birth canal.
Obstetrical malpractice may have occurred if your physician didn’t execute the proper prenatal examinations and tests to recognize your child’s risk for dystocia. Medical malpractice could also have happened if your doctor failed to maneuver your baby properly before continuing a vaginal delivery. Proper use of the 16 or so maneuvers to free your baby from being trapped can prevent the nerve injury that causes Erb’s palsy at birth.
Even the slightest traction on your infant’s head can cause damage to the brachial plexus area, resulting in the nerve injury known as Erb’s Palsy.
Your obstetrician should have evaluated you carefully during your pregnancy and also during labor and delivery to determine if your baby was at risk for developing shoulder dystocia. These risk factors consist of:
- a previous child with shoulder dystocia,
- gestational age of the fetus is over 41 weeks,
- gestational and/or maternal diabetes,
- prior delivery of a baby weighing over 4,000 grams,
- macrosomia (Estimated Fetal Weight or EFW over 4,000 grams),
- maternal obesity, and/or
- second stage labor which lasts over two (2) hours.
Your doctor could have taken certain measures to prevent birth injuries when your baby is at risk for shoulder dystocia. These include:
- performing a cesarean section (C-section) on you if you are nondiabetic and your baby had an EFW of over 4,500 grams,
- performing a C-section on you if you are diabetic and your baby had an EFW of over 4,000 grams, and
- following a structured plan for management of shoulder dystocia if it occurs during labor and delivery.
In obstetrical malpractice cases time is of the essence in collecting evidence for your case such as examining, evaluating, and obtaining the relevant details like medical records.
If your child has cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy and you believe it was caused by obstetrical malpractice, we can assess your case at no charge. To schedule a free consultation, please contact the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter today. We are located in Orlando, but serve all of Florida.