Birth Trauma Attorneys of Tennessee
Were you or your baby injured during labor or delivery? If so, you should know that you may be entitled to monetary damages as compensation for a medical provider's negligence.
Under Tennessee law, compensation for a number of losses may be available to you following the success of your birth injury lawsuit, including:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Additional healthcare costs (physical and occupational therapy, counseling, in-home care, special home/vehicle modifications)
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of life enjoyment
Types of Birth Injuries
Often, the severity of an injury at birth is not obvious until years after, when a young child begins to show developmental or physical abnormalities. However, some injuries are apparent immediately after birth. For instance, infants that exhibit signs of a birth injury may be pale or blue in color, have difficulty breathing, have an irregular heart rate, be sluggish or lethargic, have low APGAR scores after one minute or later, have seizures or favor one side of their body.
Injuries connected with labor and delivery can range from mild to severe. Some of the most common types of birth injuries include:
- Birth Asphyxia – occurs when there is a lack of oxygen to the baby's brain; typically caused by umbilical cord compression or strangling, uterine rupture, or when the placenta separates from the uterine wall (known as abruption). Injury from asphyxiation is preventable as long as a doctor or other medical professional takes swift and proper action.
- Traumatic birth injuries – occur when external forces like compression or contraction during labor causes an injury, most commonly in the baby's brain, spine, nerves or bones. Kinds of traumatic birth injury can include brain hemorrhaging, brachial palsy, and fractured or broken bones.
- Premature birth – can be caused by a weakened cervix (when pressure from the infant forces the mother's cervix open before the baby is ready to be born), untreated birth canal infection leading to permanent brain damage of the infant. Medical professionals are required to diagnose and prevent preterm birth, if possible.
- Bruising and forceps marks – occurs from contact with the mother's pelvic bones and tissue, or passing through the birth canal. If forceps are used during delivery, they may leave temporary marks or bruises, or in extreme cases cause depressed skull fractures.
- Caput Succedaneum – severe swelling of the baby's scalp, usually as a result of vacuum extraction. Typically goes away within a few days.
Additional injury to a baby can arise as a result of poor care after the birth as well, such as during circumcision or failure to treat an infection.
Not all birth trauma is necessarily the result of medical malpractice. Numerous injuries are caused by unavoidable effects of a difficult childbirth. However, medical errors can, and do, take place in hospitals all around the country, some of which may complicate or intensify these natural risks.
When a Difficult Birth Becomes Medical Negligence
A number of biological factors can disrupt the birthing process, such as the baby's size and position, the shape of the mother's pelvis, and "dystocia" or prolonged labor.
But doctors are only human, meaning they are also susceptible to human error. Negligence that substantiates a birth malpractice claim can include:
- Failing to anticipate complicated births such as a larger baby or in cases involving maternal health issues
- Failing to appropriately treat bleeding or infection
- Failing to recognize and respond to umbilical cord entrapment
- Failing to identify and treat fetal distress
- Failing to order a timely c-section when necessary
- Misuse of delivery instruments (forceps, vacuum extractors)
- Failing to diagnose or stop preterm birth
- Medication errors
Since birth trauma and birth-related negligence involves complex malpractice law, it is vital that you seek advice or representation from a knowledgeable lawyer who is experienced in medical malpractice litigation.
At Gilreath & Associates of Tennessee, our attorneys specializing in birth trauma will carefully review your baby's prenatal, birth and neonatal care records, consult with other medical professionals in related fields, and research your case to determine if the cause of injury could have been prevented.
Even if an injury happened years ago, we may still be able to help you pursue a claim. But your right to fair compensation diminishes the longer you wait, so take the first step today by scheduling your free consultation.
Gilreath & Associates - Expert Tennessee
Personal Injury Lawyers
Serving Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville and all areas throughout Tennessee