Birth Injuries

The birth of a child should be a celebratory moment filled with joy and promise. Alas, some families experience tremendous grief and suffering when their child is born due to medical malpractice practiced by the health care team involved. Birthing injuries induced by medical malpractice can create lasting damage to either the child or mother. In most cases, these injuries occur while the baby is in transit through the birth canal. If the child experienced medical complications during this process, it could yield serious injuries that could change the trajectory of the child’s life forever.

The majority of birth injuries are caused by the medical staff’s negligence, and therefore could have been avoided completely. Not only that, but most children or mothers who sustain a birth injury require extensive expensive medical treatment and may experience lingering emotional and/or physical pain. If you or your child has suffered from a birth injury due to the hospital’s negligence, then it’s within your best interest to contact PNW Trial Lawyers. You may be entitled to compensation in the form of a settlement or monetary award for your damages.

Birth Injury Bellingham Lawyer, WA | Medical Malpractice Firm

Most mothers and fathers never expect their child to sustain a serious life-changing injury during birth. Unfortunately, it does happen and in most cases the harm could have been prevented entirely with proper planning from the medical staff. That is why we highly encourage you to seek out legal representation as soon as possible if you or your child has experienced a birthing injury by hospital staff or another healthcare professional.

Contact PNW Trial Lawyers if you’re interested in filing a claim against the at-fault party. The experienced Washington medical malpractice lawyers at PNW Trial Lawyers can assess the situation and determine if your case could warrant a settlement/monetary award. Schedule your first consultation with PNW Trial Lawyers by calling our office at (360) 483-5201 or simply submitting an online contact form.

PNW Trial Lawyers has offices in Bellingham, and serves clients throughout the greater Whatcom County, Skagit County, and Snohomish County, Washington area.

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Common Birth Injuries Due to Malpractice

The effects of a birth injury can be incredibly devastating for both mother and child. These types of injuries can be allocated into two different categories: injuries due to lack of oxygen and trauma that occurs in the birth canal. Children who are deprived of oxygen during the childbirth process could lead to brain injuries including cerebral palsy. Trauma that occurs in the birth canal usually happen due to the child being too large or small to smoothly leave the canal.

Healthcare professionals must utilize certain techniques and medical devices to assist the child through the canal. The medical staff should be prepared to take on these types of obstacles and have a plan in place in case they occur. If a medical professional or a member of their team fails to follow these rules and birthing plans, then it could lead to a serious birth injury.

Listed below are some common types of birth injuries:

  • Facial paralysis
  • Brachial plexus injury
  • Caput succedaneum
  • Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy
  • Vaginal birth after Caesarean Section (VBAC) complication
  • Injury from improper use of forceps or vacuum suction
  • Cephalhematoma
  • Shoulder dystocia complications
  • Intracranial hemorrhage or subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Spinal cord and cranial nerve injuries
  • Spinal cord and cranial nerve injuries
  • Umbilical cord issues
  • Erb’s palsy or Brachial Plexus Injuries
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Broken bones or bruising

Birth injuries often are sustained by the child, but there are instances where the mother may experience harm due to the hospital’s staff negligence. Some of these injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Pregnancy induced hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Impaired sexual function
  • Amniotic fluid embolism
  • Massive hemorrhage
  • Incontinence of bladder or bowel
  • Sheehan’s Syndrome
  • Complications from anesthesia
  • Failure to diagnose and treat preeclampsia
  • Injuries due to an improperly performed episiotomy
  • Improper use of Pitocin

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Medical Malpractice That Could Induce a Birth Injury

According to the CDC, nearly half of all birth injuries that occur could have been avoided with proper planning. Health care professionals are trained on how to mitigate fetal and maternal risks and should follow through with these procedures to decrease the chances of injury. The medical team should conduct the proper tests, properly monitor both mother and baby, and utilize every method available if a problem occurs. In addition, surgeons and healthcare professionals involved in the birthing process should be vigilant for any risk factors. Failure to identify these factors could be related to negligence as the professional may have been unaware of their work or surroundings, which therefore lead to the risk going unnoticed.

Some common negligent actions by medical professionals that can cause a birth injury include the following:

  • Failure to Detect or Treat Maternal Infections
  • Delayed Cesarean Section Delivery
  • Failure to Regularly Monitor Fatal Heart Rate
  • Failure to Treat Umbilical Cord Problems or Placental Abruption
  • Failure to Detect or Respond to Signs of Fetal Distress
  • Improper Management of Shoulder Dystocia
  • Pitocin Dosing Errors
  • Excessive Force when using Forceps or Vacuum

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Filing a Birth Injury Claim in Washington State

Major birth injuries could have lasting emotional, physical, and financial effects on the child and/or mother. In some cases, these types of injuries can result in permanent disabilities and development issues in the child—obstacles they will have to face for the rest of their life. In addition, the mother may have sustained life-altering harm due to the medical team’s negligence or emotional pain due to their child’s severe injury.

The State of Washington recognizes how agonizing these injuries can be, and the cost it can have on an individual or family. For that reason, those injured from a birth injury or parents of a child with a birth injury is permitted to file a claim against the liable party. The injured plaintiff can then receive a monetary award or settlement if they are successful with their claim.

In order to be successful with their claim, the plaintiff will have to do the following:

  • Have proof the at-fault party owed a duty of care to them or their child. For example: having a doctor-patient relationship would mean the doctor owes the patient a certain duty of care.
  • Gather proof the at-fault party breached this duty of care by engaging in negligent behaviors or failing to act when they should have. A healthcare professional is considered to be negligent or breaching their duty of care if their actions do not reflect the actions of a reasonable prudent professional in the same field.
  • Gather proof and prove in court this breach in the defendant’s duty of care is the direct cause of the plaintiff or their child’s injury

If the plaintiff is successful, they’ll receive compensation determined by the court that will cover all their damages. That includes both economic damages such as lost wages and non-economical damages like pain and suffering. Plaintiffs only have a limited time to do this though as per RCW 4.16.350 plaintiffs only have three years from the date of their injury to file a claim.

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Additional Resources

Mommies of Miracles — Mommies of Miracles identifies itself as “the world’s largest virtual support group for mothers of children who have medical complexities, life-limiting conditions, or developmental disabilities.” Its mission is “to eliminate the isolation mothers of exceptional needs children experience on a daily basis by providing an extended network of resources, products & services, grief support, family matching, and hope.”

Cause & Risk Factors of Cerebral Palsy |CDC –One of the most common birth injuries that can lead to life-long damage is Cerebral Palsy. Access the CDC site to learn more about cerebral palsy site including possible causes such as birth injuries. Access the site to learn the differences between congenital CP and acquired CP, how to prevent cerebral palsy in future pregnancies, treatment options for those suffering, and more.

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Bellingham Birth Injury Claim Attorney | Whatcom County, WA

If you or your child has sustained a birth injury, then it’s within your best interest to contact PNW Trial Lawyers. Our personal injury lawyers understand how life-altering these types of injuries can be and will do everything in our power to assist in you or your child’s recovery. With years of experience, resources, an extensive network, and acquired skillset, our lawyers are more than prepared to take on your case.

Schedule your first consultation by calling our office at (360) 483-5201 or simply submit an online contact form. PNW Trial Lawyers has offices in Bellingham and accepts clients throughout the greater Whatcom County, Skagit County, and Snohomish County area.

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