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Having a baby is a magical experience as it brings new life into the world. However, not all experiences are joyful and not all outcomes are as they should be.  The question is:  “How do you know if there has been medical malpractice during childbirth?”

The journey from conception to birth is memorable for all parents.  But, not all pregnancies have a happy outcome as some women face complications during childbirth.  Sadly, a few even lose their baby due to complications.  In some cases, the little one may sustain injuries due to medical malpractice.

When a doctor or other attendant fails to fulfill their duty of care to their patient (both mother and child in the case of childbirth), they can be held liable for malpractice or negligence.

It is important to understand 2 things when things go wrong in a medical setting.  First, the implications of medical malpractice during childbirth.  Second, your rights as parents when a doctor’s negligence harms your child.

It is your right to seek compensation.  It will also ensure the practitioner is penalized for not providing the best possible care to you and/or your little one.  Everything boils down to being aware of the injuries and conditions that indicate a medical error.

Here are some indications of medical malpractice during childbirth, and when you should file a case .

1. Medical Malpractice Due To Delayed Delivery 

Your baby may sustain a birth injury when a doctor delays delivery beyond a reasonable period.

The risk for both baby and mother increases during prolonged labor as it may cause permanent injury.

If a labor runs too long, the doctor should look to take steps to protect both mother and child.  These include, induction using medication or performing an emergency cesarean section.

Failing to do so endangers the life of the patient and her child.  You should seek advice regarding a medical malpractice during childbirth if you believe the doctor failed to take timely action and caused harm to you or your little one.

delayed delivery and medical  malpractice

2.  Excessive Force Causing Medical Malpractice During Childbirth

Delivering a baby requires extreme care and caution, specifically when it comes to pulling the baby from the birth canal.  If a doctor or attendant uses too much force, it may lead to a severe medical condition called shoulder dystocia.

The medical staff needs to act quickly to prevent further complications such as damage to the brachial plexus.   This is a bundle of nerves which supplies the arm.  In severe cases, shoulder dystocia may lead to Erb’s palsy, a condition that causes weakness or paralysis in the child’s arms/hands.

Whilst not unusual, this is definitely a case for medical malpractice during childbirth.

3. Improper Use Of Forceps During Delivery

Obstetrical Forceps or baby forceps

Besides using too much force, improper use of delivery aids may also entail medical negligence during childbirth.

Some doctors use forceps to apply gentle pressure on the baby’s head to help it through the birth canal.

However, too much pressure on the newborn’s skull can cause permanent brain damage.

Nerve damage and extensive bruising are some other injuries that often occur, but may not be due to medical malpractice.

You must seek a medical malpractice attorney’s advice sooner than later in such cases.

Brain damage can cripple your little one for a lifetime, and you may need to provide expensive long-term care.

A medical malpractice claim for a childbirth injury can provide you with enough compensation to cover the treatment and care costs. 

4. Fetal Distress Can Be Medical Malpractice During Childbirth

Long and difficult labor may cause fetal distress, a condition where the baby is deprived of oxygen.  It may also happen due to other complications such as placental abruption and problems with the umbilical cord.

A doctor can spot the signs of fetal distress by following the vital signs of the baby during labor.  They must induce labor or perform a C-section immediately on noticing an anomaly.  Failing to do so is regarded as malpractice because it can cause long-term harm to the child.

5. Failure To Prevent Hypoxia

Another valid reason to file a medical malpractice claim during childbirth is the practitioner’s failure to prevent hypoxia. The condition occurs when a newborn’s brain gets an insufficient supply of oxygen before, during, or after delivery.

It can cause brain injury, which may progress into a permanent disorder if improperly treated. Your child may suffer from cognitive deficiencies, cerebral palsy, or hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy due to a grave medical error.

A lack of oxygen may also result from breech birth. The practitioner is responsible for checking the presentation and performing a cesarean delivery.

They can be held liable for medical malpractice if they continue with normal delivery, which leads to hypoxia due to breech birth.

hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy due to a grave medical error

Conclusion

Birth injuries can be mild ones, such as bruising and skin irritation or they may be alarming, like excessive bleeding in mother and child.

Brain and nerve damage can have long-term implications for the child.

Not all birth injuries may indicate medical malpractice, but parents must pay attention to the circumstances and severity of the complications.

Your child deserves justice for the injuries caused due to a practitioner’s breach of duty of care, so you must go the extra mile to ensure it. 

Read also: Health Insurance Benefits For Your Family

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