Pittsburgh Birth Injury Lawyer
Were You Or Your Child Injured During The Birth Process?
Bringing home a new baby should be a joyous occasion for the whole family. However, when the health of the baby or mother is affected during the pregnancy or birthing process, that joy quickly turns to fear. Although some of these injuries result from unusual circumstances, negligent doctors can also be the cause sometimes. Newborn babies need extreme care and are very fragile, so when an injury occurs in the early stages of life, it can often be life changing and cause secere developmental impairments or physical disabilities. If you or your baby were injured during the birth process in western Pennsylvania, contact a Pittsburgh injury attorney at Ronald J. Bua & Associates to see how we can help you establish your case.
How Common are Birth Injuries in the U.S.?
Birth injuries fall under medical negligence and can happen either from complications during the birthing or pregnancy process. Birth injury statistics in United States include:
- Approximately 7 out of every 1,000 children are born with a birth injury in the U.S.
- About 28,000 children are born with birth injuries each year
- These numbers break down to 2,300 babies per month, 538 per week, 76 per day and 3 children each hour born with some form of birth injury
The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) has the following data regarding birth injuries:
- Each year, more than 157,000 avoidable injuries occur in delivery rooms throughout the U.S.
- Births with the highest injury rates (160 per 1,000) involved vaginal births where instruments like forceps and vacuums were used
- Risk of injury to the mother during a vaginal birth where no instrument was used fell from 51.7 injuries to 36.2 injuries per 1,000 births over a six year period
Causes of Birth Injuries in Western Pennsylvania
Birth injuries of this nature are a form of medical malpractice. Doctors delivering newborns must use their training and knowledge to appropriately address every birth and deliver the baby safely. Birth injuries caused by doctor negligence typically involve the failure to assess a particular condition or circumstance, or inappropriate prenatal care. Common surgical mistakes that lead to birth injuries include:
- Failure to perform a cesarean section when appropriate
- Failure to recognize or address fetal distress
- Incorrect use of surgical tools, such as forceps
- Lack of oxygen to the baby
- Poor or insufficient follow-up care after the baby’s delivery
- Medication errors, either incorrect type of medication or incorrect dosage
- Excessive force
Common Types of Birth Injuries in Pittsburgh
Common injuries and medical issues a child may face because of a negligent doctor include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Brachial plexus
- Forcep injuries
- Vacuum extraction injuries
- Skull fractures
- Brain injuries
- Infant hydrocephalus
- Hyperbilirubinemia and kernicterus
- Brain damage
Elements of a Pittsburgh Birth Injury Lawsuit
If your family has endured a birth injury, the damage and injuries can be extremely difficult to handle. If your baby (or the baby’s mother, in some situations) was harmed, you’ll need to prove that the doctor was negligent in his or her care and handling of the pregnancy and/or the delivery. A Pittsburgh birth injury lawyer can help you establish a case by determining:
- Duty. You must establish that the doctor had a legal duty of care to you and your child. Typically, this means you must prove that a legitimate patient-doctor relationship existed. A duty of care in this regard means that your doctor must provide the same type of treatment as any other equally skilled and reasonable doctor would in the same situation.
- Breach. You must then show that the doctor breached this duty of care in some way. This could be failing to address a preexisting condition that had bearing on the pregnancy, improper technique during delivery, improper administration of medication, or other forms of incompetence.
- Damages. Finally, you must show the court that the doctor’s negligence directly caused your baby’s injuries. Doing so will often hinge on expert witnesses. Your attorney will call in expert witnesses in the medical field to explain to the court how the doctor’s actions caused the injury in question as well as the long-term effects of the injury.
Birth injuries are emotionally taxing – newborn babies are helpless and don’t understand what is happening. A birth injury can potentially affect them for their entire lives. For example, if the doctor uses improper technique or is too forceful removing the baby from the birth canal, it can damage the baby’s spine and nerves, leading to conditions such as cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, brain damage and even infant death. You may be able to file a wrongful death suit against a negligent doctor if your baby suffered a fatal injury. Speaking with a wrongful death attorney can help determine if a wrongful death or medical malpractice case is best for you.
Securing Compensation for a Pittsburgh Birth Injury
If your baby suffered a permanent injury due to a doctor’s negligence, money won’t fix it – but it can help your family adjust and move forward. Some birth injuries may lead to subsequent medical procedures or accommodations for permanent disabilities. You can sue to cover those expenses as well. Parents witnessing their newborn baby being injured is an incredibly traumatic and painful experience, and your birth injury attorney will help you establish your pain and suffering in court.
It’s vital to connect with a skilled, knowledgeable Pittsburgh birth injury attorney to handle your birth injury case. Ronald J. Bua & Associates has represented personal injury clients in the Pittsburgh area for more than 30 years, so contact our team if you want us to put our legal experience to use for you and your family. We’ll devote the necessary time and attention to your case to secure just compensation and hold the responsible parties accountable.