Asheville Birth Injury Attorney
Approximately 4 million children are born in the United States each year. Most of those childbirths are occasions of great joy. But some end in grief when a baby is born with injuries that are severe, disabling – and sometimes fatal.
Parents of an injured newborn can face a lifetime of emotional, physical and financial pressure. Their burden is even greater when they learn their child’s injury should never have happened in the first place. If you are a medical malpractice victim, we can help.
An alarming number of birth injuries and deaths are caused by the mistake of a physician, nurse or other members of the delivery team — and that number is rising, according to statistics.
Common childbirth injuries include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Klumpke’s palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Brain damage due to oxygen deprivation
- Developmental delays
- Shoulder dystocia
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Heart and cardiac problems
- Broken collarbone or other fractures
- Wrongful death
Birth Injuries In Western North Carolina
Every three hours there is a childbirth injury or death in the United States. This averages out to 76 per day, 538 per week, and 2,333 per month.
Some of these tragedies are unavoidable. No one is to blame. But in many cases, the injury occurred because a doctor, nurse, anesthetist, pharmacist or other healthcare professional did not provide an acceptable standard of care.
And the problem is growing. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found a 75 percent increase in childbirth emergencies between 1998 and 2009. In that same period, severe complications for mothers rose more than 100 percent in the days following birth.
Childbirth injuries can occur in different ways — and at different times — before, during and after childbirth.
During pregnancy, the mother might be prescribed a drug that is harmful to the fetus. During labor, the doctor may fail to adequately monitor the baby or mother to pick up on signs of fetal distress. During delivery, the birthing team may be slow to react to signs of fetal distress.
Sometimes an obstetrical tool, such as forceps or a vacuum device, is used in such a way as to cause physical harm to the newborn. Other times, the baby’s head, neck or upper body is tugged or twisted too forcefully, resulting in nerve or skeletal damage.
These and other errors can happen in a split second, but the consequences to the infant can last a lifetime. Some of the most serious birth injuries include:
- Brain damage from oxygen deprivation. A reduction in the flow of oxygen to the brain is called ischemia. In severe cases, this can cause developmental delays, mental retardation, neuromuscular disorders or death.
- Cerebral palsy. Approximately 8,000 children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy each year. They typically have trouble with body movement, posture, talking and learning. Cerebral palsy can result from a lack of oxygen to the brain. This can occur during a difficult delivery, such as when a Caesarian section is not done quickly enough or when the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck.
- Brachial plexus injury. The brachial plexus is a series of nerves extending from the baby’s spinal cord to the neck and arms. These nerves control the movements of the shoulders, arms, fingers, and hands. They can be permanently damaged if too much force is applied to the baby’s fragile body in order to bring it through the birth canal.
- Erb’s palsy. This is a particular type of brachial plexus injury that occurs when the baby’s neck is stretched during delivery. A child with Erb’s palsy is unable to move his or her arm normally.
- Klumpke’s palsy. This is another type of brachial plexus injury that causes paralysis of the hand.
- Shoulder dystocia. Sometimes the baby’s shoulders get wedged behind the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery. This can cause damage to the baby’s head or shoulders.
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in Newborns (PPHN).Studies show that mothers who take Zoloft and other antidepressant medications are at risk of delivering a baby with PPHN — a life-threatening heart condition.
- Heart defects. Other studies link the use of Paxil to potentially fatal heart problems.
- Spina bifida and cleft palate. Pregnant mothers who are prescribed epilepsy and bipolar disorder drugs such as Depakote, Depacon and Stavzor containing valproate sodium have a higher risk of giving birth to a baby with spina bifida, cleft palate and other severe birth defects.
Other childbirth injuries that can result from a medical mistake include head and skull deformities; encephalopathy; clavicle fractures; bruising and scarring; and mental disabilities.
Get A Free Consultation With A Western North Carolina Childbirth Injury Attorney Today
Is your child one of the 28,000 who are born with a serious injury each year? Do you think it might be the result of a medical error? We can help you find out — and we can do something about it.
Through a birth injury lawsuit, you could be able to recover compensation from any party who was responsible for your loss. This could include doctors, nurses, hospitals, clinics, pharmacists and manufacturers of dangerous drugs.
The Elmore and Smith Law Firm, PC understands the needs of families of injured children in Asheville and Western North Carolina. Our experienced medical malpractice attorney has established relationships with medical experts who can review your medical records and evaluate whether your child suffered a preventable birth injury. We have been helping families in Asheville and Western North Carolina deal with the consequences of birth injuries and medical malpractice for more than three decades.
Contact us at (828) 367-7998 or toll-free at 828-367-7998 or fill out our online contact form for a free and confidential claim evaluation and consultation.