The birth of a baby should be one of the most exciting, inspiring, and momentous events in a person’s life. However, the birthing process itself can be a traumatic and stressful experience for both mother and child, especially if the attending obstetrician is not delivering the expected standard of care. Medical care providers need to closely monitor a baby’s condition throughout the birthing process and take immediate action if the infant starts exhibiting signs of oxygen deprivation or fetal distress. Otherwise, the baby could suffer a devastating medical condition known as birth asphyxia.
Medical negligence is one of the leading causes of birth injuries in the United States. Most birth injuries, including cases of birth asphyxia and HIE, are considered preventable incidents by The Department of Health and Human Services. Babies who sustain birth injuries often require expensive medical treatments, special schooling options, ongoing professional care services, and more. For this reason, it’s critical that you retain qualified legal representation if a medical professional’s negligence is responsible for your child’s condition.
Contact the Cleveland birth asphyxia lawyers at The Mellino Law Firm LLC if your baby has passed away or sustained brain damage due to the negligent actions of a medical professional. Our mission as medical malpractice and birth injury attorneys is to help each client recover a settlement or verdict that provides for their child’s existing and future needs. Likewise, we want the outcome of their case to inspire institutional changes that protect other families from suffering a similar or worse fate. If you’re ready to take legal action, rely on a team that can meticulously investigate your case and consult with renowned medical experts to develop an aggressive litigation strategy that maximizes your claim and safeguards your baby’s quality of life.
WHAT IS BIRTH ASPHYXIA?
Birth asphyxia is responsible for approximately 900,000 fetal deaths each year, making it one of the leading causes of early neonatal mortality. A baby can suffer this condition if their brain is deprived of oxygen during or prior to the birthing process. This lack of oxygen encourages waste to build up in the child’s brain cells, inevitably resulting in temporary or permanent brain damage via necrosis. Unfortunately, birth asphyxia is a common complication associated with prolonged or obstructed labor.
Other common causes of birth asphyxia include:
- Underdeveloped lungs
- Prolapsed or pinched umbilical cord
- Early placenta abruption
- Fetal anemia
- Infection in the mother or baby
- Meconium Aspiration Syndrome
- Airway blockages or defects
Birth asphyxia can lead to the development of long-term medical conditions, including: cerebral palsy, HIE, seizure disorders, and detrimental learning disabilities. For this reason, parents need to carefully observe their newborn’s condition once the delivery is complete and check for the common signs and symptoms associated with birth asphyxia.
Symptoms of birth asphyxia include, but are not limited to:
- Skin discoloration
- No breathing or weak breathing
- Poor muscle tone
- Low heart rate
- Blood-clotting abnormalities
A doctor needs to evaluate a newborn for these symptoms and provide immediate treatments upon diagnosis.
ESTABLISHING MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE
Many hospitals and health care facilities in the United States are for-profit businesses that prioritize financial performance over the needs of their patients. To generate income and please their investors, hospital administrators frequently encourage overworked and fatigued doctors to quickly cycle through as many patients as possible. This common practice often leads to dangerous medical errors and “never events” that are the consequence of miscommunication, fatigue-driven confusion, and general negligence.
Interestingly, hospitals often try to dodge liability by blaming birth injuries on the mother’s economic status or her pre-existing medical conditions. But scientific data, medical records, and former lawsuits have proven that most birth injuries are caused by a complicated farrago of misdiagnoses, communication errors, delays in care, and a failure to abide by established safety protocols.
A medical professional can – and should – be held responsible for the following actions:
- Overlooking or ignoring signs of fetal distress.
- Failing to monitor the baby for signs of oxygen deprivation.
- Utilizing improper resuscitation techniques.
- Misusing labor-inducing drugs.
- Failing to diagnose potential pregnancy complications.
- Administering the wrong drugs or an incorrect amount of anesthesia.
- Using faulty medical equipment.
- Misusing forceps or a vacuum device.
- Failing to order a timely C-section when the baby’s life is in danger.
Medical malpractice claims can be incredibly challenging to litigate because the burden of proof is on the plaintiff. To secure a favorable case result, your legal team needs to prove 4 critical facts: a doctor-patient relationship existed, the doctor (or medical staffer) acted negligently and breached the medical standard of care, your baby suffered birth asphyxia due to this act of negligence, and the birth asphyxia caused your baby physical and/or cognitive harm.
During your appointment, we can listen to your story, review your baby’s medical records, and assess your legal options. Once we understand your legal and financial objectives, we can start investigating your case and consulting with medical experts to develop an effective litigation strategy that aims to maximize your claim. Our firm is comprised of skilled negotiators who are armed with specialized medical knowledge, extensive trial skills, and a comprehensive understanding of this complex legal process. If you require legal representation, call us today!
SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION
Per the statute of limitations in Ohio, a plaintiff has one year from the date of the birth to file a medical malpractice claim. Of course, there are exceptions to this policy, so it’s important to discuss your case with a qualified legal representative before taking legal action. Contact the birth asphyxia lawyers at The Mellino Law Firm LLC if you have questions about your legal rights or want to file a medical malpractice claim. Our legal team has over 30 years of experience and a proven track record of positive case results, including a $28.7 million verdict for a birth injury case.