Cincinnati Childbirth Injuries Lawyer and Ohio Hospital negligence attorney reviews delivery malpractice injury cases for plaintiffs nationwide
Thousands of women in the United States each year suffer life-altering injuries or die during childbirth because hospitals and medical staff ignore safety practices and procedures. In the last 25 years, the number of maternal deaths in most developed nations has been flat or dropped. Yet in the U.S., the rate has risen.
Doctors and nurses have faced numerous medical malpractice lawsuits after childbirth injuries, when those responsible for medical care fail to uphold basic safety guidelines and injuries occur. Doctors have been targeted in maternal injury claims for failing to prevent infection, track blood loss or administer proper medications.
Joe Lyon is an experienced Cincinnati Delivery Malpractice Lawyer and Ohio Hospital Negligence Attorney reviewing Birth Injury Lawsuits on behalf of plaintiffs nationwide.
Delivery Malpractice Lawyer & Hospital Negligence
When birthing women lose too much blood, their organs shut down. Their high blood pressure may also go untreated, raising the risk of strokes. Women die of blood clots and untreated infections, and may face permanent injury if they survive.
Each year, about 700 mothers die in the U.S. There is no national tracking system for childbirth complications, but victims can file injury suits against negligent hospitals and physicians to help alert the public of the health crisis.
After studies and interviews with hospital management, it was found during a USA Today investigation that in some hospitals, fewer than half of maternity patients were promptly treated for dangerous blood pressure that put them at risk of stroke.
Many hospitals across the country also admitted that they were not taking safety steps such as quantifying women’s blood loss or high blood pressure. It seems it is not the highest priority for some to act on signs of serious complications during pregnancy and after delivery.
The American Hospital Association, a trade association representing nearly 5,000 hospitals and health networks, has held training sessions aimed at getting maternity hospitals to improve care. But birth injuries are still occurring at a very high rate.
Childbirth Injuries & Delivery Malpractice
Around 50,000 women each year suffer severe childbirth injuries, according to a study published last year in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Common injuries to birthing mothers include:
- C-section injuries
- Heart attack
- Kidney Failure
- Blood clotting disorders
- Blood Type Incompatibility
- Post-surgical infection
- Anesthesia Injuries
- Postpartum deaths
Failure to Perform C Section
A cesarean section is the surgical delivery of a baby through an incision made in the mother’s belly and uterus. A C-section may be necessary when the risk of vaginal birth is significant.
But some doctors fail to perform a C-section and risk serious birth injury to infants and birthing mothers. A C-Section is generally warranted in the following situations:
- The mother has had prior c-section
- The mother has an infection
- There is placental abruption or placenta previa
- A baby is deprived of oxygen
- There is evidence of fetal distress
- Late decelerations
- Prolonged bradycardia
- Prolonged tachycardia
If the C-section is delayed by a negligent medical staff, they may be named in medical malpractice lawsuits should a birth injury result. Injuries that may result include:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Brachial Plexus Injury
- Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
- Erb’s Palsy
Forceps Birth Injury
Obstetric forceps are often used to assist in a delivery. Using forceps, the doctor guides the baby through the birth canal. Unlike a vacuum, another common childbirth medical instrument, the use of forceps is delicate and requires a high level of skill and training.
Obstetricians in recent history have been using forceps regularly during childbirth. But there are cases when the medical device should not be used, and can harm the mother and infant. Delivery malpractice and birth injury cases arise when a delivering doctor makes a mistake with forceps, or utilize an improper tool during delivery.
Medical experts say the use of vacuums is now more common because they may be more forgiving and easier to use. When a baby shows signs of distress, a doctor must make a decision quickly. Some birth injury delivery malpractice cases involve mid-forceps deliveries. A mid-forceps delivery is technically more difficult, and the risk of birth injury rises. Doctors will decide whether or not to perform a C-section delivery.
Vacuum Extraction Birth Injury
When a delivery is not assisted with forceps, it is usually done with a vacuum extractor, which uses a small suction cup placed on the infant’s head in the birth canal. During the birthing mother’s contraction, the doctor pulls gently on the baby’s head with the vacuum suction, pulling the infant’s head out of the birth canal.
Vacuum extraction has a very high success rate when it is used properly, though vacuum errors are possible, and vacuum extraction birth injuries can be quite serious. Any delay in delivery can raise the risk of a lack of oxygen for a baby and potential brain damage. Many delivery malpractice lawsuits are filed because in the circumstances a vacuum extraction was not the wise medical choice.
For example, using the vacuum device during childbirth may be poor medical decision if there has already been an attempt to deliver with forceps. The Ohio standard of care also prohibits the use of vacuum extraction when the infant’s head is too high in the birth canal.
In summary, the purpose of vacuum extraction is to deliver a baby as fast as possible to avoid oxygen deprivation. A primary risk of vacuum delivery is a subgaleal hematoma, the swelling of clotted blood in the issues. This can occur when a vacuum is placed improperly on child’s head or the vacuum is used incorrectly.
Brachial Plexus Birth Injury
The brachial plexus is a nerve network which allows the transfer of signals from the spine to the extremities. Damage to these nerves during childbirth can result in severe brachial plexus birth injuries. In extreme birth injury cases, a plexus injury can lead to lifelong complications.
During difficult deliveries, a baby’s shoulders may become impacted, stressing the brachial plexus nerves. Brachial plexus injuries can occur during vaginal childbirth or Cesarean section.
Excessive traction malpractice can lead to birth injury when doctor fears there is an imminent risk of asphyxia injury. Brachial plexus injuries may include:
Brachial injuries sometimes heal over time, and some children will suffer with permanent injuries such as:
- Muscle atrophy
- Impaired bone growth
- Joint dysfunction
- Coordination problems
- Psychological issues
Umbilical Cord Prolapse
A prolapsed umbilical cord can occur when a baby’s umbilical cord drops through the open cervix into the vagina. During prolapse, the cord may be compressed by the fetus, limiting the blood and oxygen supply. If doctors do not recognize the problem quickly, there is a risk of long-term birth injury and brain damage for the infant.
Umbilical cord prolapses are rare, but are very dangerous. The mortality rate is quite high, and if the baby survives they have a high risk of developing cerebral palsy or other birth injuries. There are three different kinds of umbilical cord prolapse, including:
- Overt cord prolapse
- Occult prolapse
- Funic presentation
Shoulder Dystocia Birth Injury
Shoulder dystocia is a birth complication that occurs about once in every 30,000 deliveries. Shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injury occur during childbirth where one shoulder of the baby gets trapped behind the mother’s pelvis.
When this occurs, an experienced doctor will pull on the infant’s head with either forceps or using vacuum extraction. When obstetricians see that a baby’s shoulder is stuck on the pelvic bone, they have a limited amount of time to either order a C-section or to perform a maneuvers to free the shoulder. Excessive traction can lead to shoulder dystocia and other birth injury.
Cerebral Palsy Birth Malpractice
There can be several causes of cerebral palsy, though delivery malpractice and birth injury are among the leading causes. Delivery medical malpractice can result in brain damage during or right after a childbirth. Other cases of cerebral palsy are caused by genetic or developmental abnormalities.
Birth injury cerebral palsy cases usually involve a lack of oxygen or physical trauma during labor. Delayed C-Section or a failure to perform a C-section can be a primary cause of cerebral palsy. When an infant’s supply of oxygen is cut off during delivery, an immediate cesarean section may be necessary to prevent brain injury and cerebral palsy birth injuries.
When fetal distress signals are read incorrectly, delivery malpractice can result and medical malpractice lawsuits may follow. Many cerebral palsy malpractice cases involve C-section delay or a failure to perform a C-section.
Fetal Monitoring Negligence can also lead to serious birth injury. EFM devices track the baby’s fetal heart rate, and will show fetal distress and potential oxygen loss. If fetal monitors are ignored, nurses and doctors may be negligent.
Fetal Monitoring Malpractice
Birth injury malpractice lawsuits often involve doctor and nurses misinterpreting fetal monitoring strips. Electronic fetal monitoring is common practice, and measures a baby’s heart rate and mother’s contractions. The relationship between these two signals is critical.
If a fetal monitoring strip indicates that the baby is deprived of oxygen, doctors must deliver the child immediately by cesarean section delivery. Common signs of fetal distress may include:
- Prolonged decelerations
- Uterine hyperstimulation
Ohio Delivery Malpractice Lawyer
When the safety of the child is in doubt a C-section must be performed. Delayed C-section malpractice cases are more common than many people think. Doctors have a duty to act fast when there are signs of fetal distress, or the presentation and position and station of the fetus is unusual.
The Lyon Firm builds case-by-case evidence in birth injury claims through the use of obstetricians and other medical experts to present the highest quality case on the plaintiff’s behalf. Medical Negligence have been recovered medical costs and have assisted in compensation for a plaintiff’s healthy future.
If your family has been through a childbirth injury and suspect delivery malpractice, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, a Cincinnati childbirth injury lawyer, and he will help you answer these critical questions.