Birth Injury Attorney In Pittsburgh, PA
Skilled Malpractice Lawyer Representing Those Injured By Medical Negligence Throughout Western Pennsylvania
At Matzus Law, we hope we never see you walk in our doors because of a birth injury to your child. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Doctors, nurses, and other prenatal and neonatal staff make preventable medical mistakes. When these errors are preventable and they cause birth injury and suffering to infants and their families, pursuing a birth injury lawsuit with a competent Pittsburgh medical malpractice lawyer is the only way to hold these individuals accountable and prevent other parents and children from suffering the same fate. Different types of injuries are included under the umbrella term of birth injuries. These are often complex, requiring careful investigations into prenatal care, labor and delivery conditions. For the families of these children, understanding that the birth injury and their child’s lifetime disability or death was preventable is emotionally overwhelming at best.
At Matzus Law we have access to a team of medical specialists who understand the unique factors birth injury cases involve. We take only a select number of malpractice cases so that we can focus entirely on obtaining justice for those clients in our care. For birth injuries caused by negligence, your family deserves birth injury attorneys you can trust. Our team is experienced and compassionate. We are ready to help you recover the full amount of financial compensation needed to care for your child now and over the rest of their life. Contact us today!
For answers to Frequently Asked Questions about birth injury claims, and other medical malpractice claims in PA, check out the Matzus Law medical malpractice FAQ page.
Types of Birth Injuries
Unavoidable birth injuries from complications are relatively rare today because of advancements in medical care. It follows, then, those birth injuries that do occur warrant a closer examination. Medical advancements mean we have the technology to monitor fetal positioning and the condition of the fetus while still inside the womb, test for certain conditions, and reduce the risk of maternal and fetal trauma at birth. When a baby is injured, it is possible that the injury was caused by a doctor or nurse’s failure to follow a reasonable medical standard of care. Birth injuries likely to be caused by negligence include:
- Cerebral Palsy – Cerebral palsy includes several brain disorders causing issues affecting movement and muscle development. The condition is the result of insufficient oxygen to the brain and may be caused by medical error. Cerebral palsy affects babies in a number of ways, but typically changes the course of a child’s life forever.
- Erb’s palsy – This condition and other brachial plexus disorders are classified by injury to the brachial plexus – the nerves that control movement in the arms. If an infant is trapped in the birth canal and your health care provider incorrectly addresses the condition, the resulting trauma may cause permanent damage.
- Neonatal infection – Hospital contracted infections like Group B strep, pneumonia, sepsis, and meningitis can have devastating consequences for a newborn who has not developed the resilience to infection adults have. An infection becomes malpractice when physicians fail to recognize and treat it in a reasonable amount of time or if the immediate environment has not been carefully sanitized.
- Birth Trauma – Physical trauma is a real concern during birth. Cephalohematoma (the accumulation of blood in the skull), broken bones, and hemorrhaging may all indicate some error in fetal manipulation during the birthing process.
- HIE (Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy) – Another condition caused by asphyxia at birth, HIE can lead to numerous problems, including cognitive disorders, coma, and death. An infant may lose oxygen to the brain if the umbilical cord wraps and tightens around the neck (nuchal cord or umbilical cord prolapse) or if he or she does not make it out of the birth canal due to complications.
- Gestational diabetes – Many women diagnosed with gestational diabetes deliver babies who have no lingering side effects. Unmanaged or undiagnosed maternal diabetes, on the other hand, may contribute to a high birth weight, premature births, and hypoglycemia. In cases where a baby is affected because of a preventable medical error in diagnosing gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia or eclampsia, the act may be considered malpractice.
Malpractice That Causes Birth Injury
All of the different types of birth injuries may or may not be caused by malpractice, which is why a careful examination is required if there is any concern. Physicians, nurses, and other healthcare staff members are responsible for acting by a professional standard of care. Whether they operate machinery or physically deliver babies, birth injury malpractice can have devastating consequences for an infant and their parents. Parents have a right to take legal action and hold the responsible parties accountable. Often, parents need additional financial security to help pay for the lifetime medical care necessary after such preventable medical mistakes.
- In birth injury cases, these acts of malpractice or preventable medical mistakes include failure to:
- Recognize signs of fetal distress or otherwise properly interpret the electronic fetal monitoring strips.
- Perform a C-section if the mother or baby’s health is in jeopardy
- Recognize risk factors and warning signs in the mother and fetus, as well as failure to provide adequate treatment.
- Use a high degree of care when manipulating an infant in the birth canal or during a Cesarean section delivery.
- Monitor an infant’s oxygen levels before and after birth.
- Keep a health care environment adequately sanitized, leading to the contraction of a serious illness.
- Make timely decisions regarding the health of a mother and infant.
- Recommend specialist care if a physician’s expertise is not adequate for a situation.
This list of potential acts of birth injury malpractice is not exhaustive. If at any point, you feel like your health care provider has not extended a reasonable level of care and proficiency during pregnancy and birth and if you or your child suffered serious harm because of it, you may want to contact an experienced Pittsburgh birth injury lawyer.
Effects of Birth Injuries on the Lives of Victims
The emotional and financial toll of discovering and handling the ramifications of a birth injury can be devastating, and the injuries can change a child’s life in unforeseeable ways. Financially, birth injury victims may have to rely on outside help their entire lives. Parents have to adjust to the specialized needs that their child’s condition presents. Current and future medical costs including travel to treatment, the treatment itself, medication, equipment, therapy, other day-to-day costs of care, and other necessary expenditures add up quickly. Emotionally, parents and family members may experience anger, depression, fear, and worry about what will happen to their child if and when the parents become unable to provide care. A serious birth injury is truly life-changing for the entire family.
How to Prevent Birth Injuries
Parents can proactively reduce the likelihood of injury in a few practical ways. During pregnancy, choose your health care provider carefully. Look at recommendations, tour the hospital’s labor and delivery department, and develop a strong relationship with your obstetrician. Ask as many questions as necessary, and preregister at the hospital early in the 3rd trimester. Having everything ready to go ahead of time will ensure you are taken care of the moment you arrive at the hospital. When you do go to the hospital, talk openly with everyone coming into and out of the room. Making sure they all know your name and any health risks will ensure you have proper care every step of the way. Some malpractice cases occur because of miscommunication between staff members. Have a family member write down the names of the medical staff who take care of you. If you have any concerns during the labor process, know the chain of command at the health care facility. Ask to speak to an administrator, your physician, or a nurse supervisor if you feel like a staff member is not providing adequate care. Since a mother may be more focused on pain management, she may want to ask the father or another individual to ask questions and pay attention to the process on her behalf. An attentive partner or family member should act as a liaison between a laboring mother and her medical staff. Although many births result in healthy babies, being prepared for the unexpected can help families take action if something does go wrong.
Pursuing a Malpractice Claim for Birth Injury
A lawsuit against those responsible, including doctors, nurses and hospitals can help families of victims in many ways. It ensures those who are responsible are brought to justice and provides a sense of closure, serves as a source of financial recovery for current and future treatment costs, and may prevent future patients from suffering the same fate. When you contact our team at Matzus Law, we will have an in-depth discussion with you to determine if your situation warrants legal action. We are here to make the legal process as easy as possible so that you can concentrate on your child’s needs and help your family start healing. Our staff is always available for questions, comments, or concerns throughout the course of a case, and we will make sure you understand exactly what is happening at every step of the way. After an extensive investigation into your case, we can provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions regarding your case. Every case is different, and we use highly skilled medical experts to ensure we discover how and when your health care provider failed you. You do not have to live with the consequences of a preventable health care mistake. Allow us to take your case in Pennsylvania, and we will work hard to achieve the optimal outcome for your financial, physical, and emotional health.
Work with Our Birth Injury Attorney
Not every attorney is willing or able to commit the kind of time that may be necessary to investigate and prove your case and obtain a successful outcome.If you are interested in learning more about our approach to birth injury law in Pennsylvania or to get a free consultation, contact our Pittsburgh office today.