Among the nations of the world, the United States has a relatively low infant mortality rate. This is because there is an intense focus on family health and prenatal care, and with the advent of modern technology and genetic testing, both pregnancy and the potential dangers associated with such can be detected during its early stages. Although this increase in prenatal care and testing is generally beneficial to expecting parents, the level of physician intervention in pregnancy can also lead to serious maternal and birth injuries.
There is a difference between unpreventable genetic disorders that manifest at birth and birth defects caused by external factors, such as medications and physician errors. There is also a difference between birth injuries that occur during pregnancy and those that occur during the actual delivery process. The most common injuries and defects that occur during pregnancy include fetal alcohol syndrome and brain development injuries due to infection or lack of oxygen. Of those injuries that occur in utero, the following are the most common causes:
However, some of the most severe birth injuries actually occur during the birth process when the child is otherwise healthy. The most common birth injuries are caused by:
Because children develop at different rates and every child has a different genetic makeup, how a particular drug or injury will manifest in your child cannot always be accurately pinpointed, nor can many injuries be fully diagnosed until the child is a few years old.
Unfortunately, injuries to the mother during the pregnancy and the birth process can endanger both mother and child. Again, these are broken into two categories, injuries that occur during pregnancy and injuries that occur during delivery. Among the most common illnesses and injuries that occur during pregnancy and can cause severe illness or even death if not diagnosed and treated include:
However, a rarer defect that should be immediately diagnosed and treated is known as Rh incompatibility, which is most commonly understood as whether your blood type is positive or negative. If you as the mother have O+ blood and the child has O- blood, if the child’s blood infects the mother’s during the delivery process, the mother’s body will treat the “positive” blood as a disease and form antibodies against the blood. In a second or third pregnancy, those antibodies will “attack” a child in utero with a positive blood type, which may be fatal to the child. There is treatment for Rh incompatibility, but if your doctor does not ask the right questions and provide you with the right treatment, this can be a serious case of medical malpractice.
Although many common maternal delivery injuries can stem from undiagnosed illnesses during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia, diabetes, and infection, physician negligence during delivery can have serious consequences for both mom and baby. These include failure to prevent and control major hemorrhaging resulting in the need for an emergency hysterectomy, failure to perform a timely C-section, and injuries to the mother caused by a child in a “breech” position. Often, these injuries may result in a lack of future fertility or even coma. Especially with undiagnosed diabetes and preeclampsia, which can cause severe damage to your organs due to high blood pressure. Although prenatal diabetes can often be controlled with diet and medication, the only cure for preeclampsia is delivery, no matter what the stage of pregnancy. If this is not diagnosed and treated, it can be fatal to both mother and child.
Because many birth defects result from lack of oxygen to the brain during delivery, brain damage in a newborn child can have lifetime physical, cognitive, and social ramifications. Learning disabilities and the need for special medication and care that may persist throughout a child’s lifetime make it difficult to predict how to financially prepare for your child’s future. It is especially difficult to predict your child’s needs early in life, as each injury will affect a child differently and may resolve or worsen throughout childhood. Accordingly, if your child has been injured due to physician error either during the birth process or your pregnancy, you should not settle with the physician’s insurance company until you fully understand how the injury will affect your child’s development and the needs he will have over his lifetime.
Whether you recently delivered a child and were told he or she is suffering from a birth injury, are pregnant and realize your physician gave you medication that may cause a birth defect, or have an older child and believe he may be suffering from birth-related cognitive dysfunction, it is essential to contact a Florida medical malpractice attorney. There are certain medications that are known to cause defects and it is important to have a lawyer on your side who understands the nature of birth defects and physician negligence. It is even more important to ensure you call an attorney who has the experts you need to determine the financial cost of your child’s injury and what she will need to live a full, healthy life. The Dolman Law Group can help fight for your rights as a parent. They are your premier personal injury and birth defect lawyers in the greater Tampa Bay area. Call them today at 727-451-6900 for a free, no-risk consultation.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765