Birth Injury Lawyer in West Plains, MO

Missouri Medical Malpractice Claims

Child birth is not an easy process; however, there are qualified professionals whose job it is to make the birthing procedures safe and as easy as possible. It is when these procedures are not properly carried out – when the medical professional involved in the process fall short in some significant way – that birth injuries are most likely to occur.

Whether these injuries are the result of a prenatal lack of care or ones that were sustained during the actual birthing process, the fact of the matter is that they occurred due to the wrongful acts of a negligent or otherwise reckless medical professional. If your child has sustained an injury from a doctor or hospital staff, then you should seek a personal injury attorney from our firm, Henry & Williams, P.C., so you can get your rightful compensation. With over 60 years of experience and membership in the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forums®, we have a history of success.

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The Difference Between Injury and Defect

An important distinction exists between birth injuries and birth defects. In infancy, particularly immediately following the birth, it can difficult – even impossible – to accurately discern the cause of a baby's abnormalities. Nursing room staff will immediately inspect the baby for good health, but identifying anything beyond glaring issues of health is more than should be expected. Therefore, the matter will need to be reviewed hours, days, possibly even weeks after the birth in order to determine if it is one involving injury or defect.

To clarify, a birth defect is reminiscent of a child's inherent / genetic / biological physical or cognitive impairments. Birth defects are unavoidable, as they were not caused by any error or misstep from a medical professional or the parents involved. Rather, these are matters of nature that cannot attribute blame to anyone else. Birth injuries, on the other hand, are the physical and or cognitive impairments of a child that result directly from a medical professional's lack of performance / medical error. Birth injuries are the result of causal factors that happened during the pregnancy or during the actual birth of the newborn.

Common Types of Birth Injuries

While there are many types of birth injuries, there seem to be two that are particularly common among newborns in the U.S. Usually resulting from complications that occurred during the actual delivery process, cerebral palsy and Erb's palsy afflict a number of newborns every year.

Cerebral Palsy
When a baby's body movements and brain functioning are adversely affected, the disorder will very likely be classified as cerebral palsy. This is a broad term that has been assigned to many different birth deficiencies, some resulting from the delivery process and others symptomatic of problems that existed in the womb. Common situations that can cause cerebral palsy in a newborn child are: lack of oxygen to a baby's brain during the delivery process, prolonged bleeding in the baby's brain after delivery (usually from head trauma), failure to deliver a baby through caesarian section when necessary, very premature birth and use of harmful prescription drugs during pregnancy. Children who suffer from cerebral palsy may show signs immediately, however, some may take more time to manifest. These symptoms include delays in development, i.e. slow to begin talking, crawling, rolling over or even smiling, abnormal muscle tone, floppiness of limbs, poor coordination, vision problems, hearing problems, unusual posture and involuntary movements.

Erb's Palsy
Sometimes referred to as brachial palsy because the newborn experiences injury to their brachial plexus, this is a problem that afflicts approximately 2 out of every 1,000 newborns. Most often, this condition occurs during the delivery process, a result of too much applied pressure to a baby's neck, head or shoulders. Typically, Erb's palsy manifests in babies who are above average in weight. Most often, this is a result of a physician or obstetrician's failure to properly delivery a baby, especially in situations involving shoulder dystocia, failure to recognize that a caesarian section should be performed to accommodate for the baby's bigger size and application of excessive pressure on the baby's head / neck / shoulders. Common symptoms associated with the condition include arm limpness, paralysis, loss of sensations in the hands and fingers, and very limited movement (sometimes no movement at all) in the baby's hands and fingers. Permanent nerve damage is also possible.

Kernicterus
Jaundice is a common condition which newborn babies can suffer from. With the correct treatment, it can be easily handled, but there are rare cases where it can turn into something much more serious. A neurological disorder which can occur in infants who are suffering from a bad case of jaundice is kernicterus. When there are high levels of bilirubin in the system, a substance caused by the recycling of red blood cells, it can result in jaundice or kernicterus. This usually occurs when the baby is one week old or less and can result in permanent damage like loss of hearing or brain damage. Some symptoms to be on the lookout for include lethargy, seizures, high-pitched crying, and rigid muscles. This condition is so serious that it can result in permanent damage and death. For this reason, it is imperative that medical staff is careful to treat this cases correctly.

Determining Fault in Birth Injury Cases

Birth injuries are complicated matters; so complicated, in fact, that it is not always immediately clear who is to blame for the situation. Sometimes, responsibility may lie with more than one person. In many cases, it is the physician or obstetrician that is to blame for these situations; however, this is not always the case, as there are many other professionals involved in the birthing / delivery process of a newborn baby. From the months leading up to a woman's delivery – the actual time of her pregnancy – all the way to the hours of the actual delivery, there are many medical professionals involved in the process, any one of who could be responsible for an ultimate injury that occurs at birth. When looking into a medical malpractice case involving birth injury, the following should be considered:

  • Hospital negligence
  • Pharmaceutical company errors
  • Pharmacy mistakes
  • Physician / obstetrician negligence
  • Nursing errors

Do you need a Missouri birth injury attorney?

If your child was born with one or more birth injuries then you owe it to him / her to take legal action. Avoidable birth injuries are not ones that should be left unnoticed, as they are acts of professional negligence that could have been avoided altogether assuming the proper medical actions had been taken as there expected to be.

Recent legislation limits the amount that we will be awarded to children and their parents in cases of birth injuries. These distinctions are most often made based on the severity of the injury and how it was caused. There are an equal number, however, that are not limited in any way, including compensation awarded for pain, suffering medical expenses in the future and potential for future earning capacity.

Do not wait to contact a West Plains birth injury lawyer if your child was injured. We do not charge fees unless we recover for you!

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