Santa Barbara Birth Injury Lawyer
Help for Families Struggling with Birth Injuries
Birth injuries are traumatic and devastating incidents that not only affect a child, but his or her parents and relatives. These injuries occur during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and oftentimes are caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain, resulting in brain damage and leaving children disabled or on life support and requiring costly lifetime care and treatment.
The Santa Barbara injury attorneys at NordstrandBlack PC understand how devastating birth injuries are for a child and the emotional toll they take on parents and family members. When such accidents are caused by another party's negligence, the family of the child is entitled to seek compensation for injuries and related costs, both present and future.
Common Causes of Birth Injuries
Delivery is a complicated and delicate process that requires a great amount of care from medical professionals and hospital staff. Complications that arise during delivery can put an infant at risk for injury, but it is the responsibility of the delivery team to protect the infant from harm. Shoulder dystocia is one such complication wherein a child's head exits the birth canal, but a shoulder gets stuck on the mother's pelvic bone. This can result in injuries as labor becomes prolonged and doctors work to get the infant unstuck. Doctors and nurses are not only responsible for the safe delivery of the infant, but for monitoring the child and recognizing if there are any complications with the pregnancy or problems that may arise during birth.
Unfortunately, devastating birth injuries can occur during a routine delivery if negligence or oversight is exhibited by the staff. Negligence may be a failure to monitor the baby or a failure to perform a timely C-section, or improper administration of anesthesia, vacuum extraction, or forceps. Any of these instruments can greatly aid in delivery, but when used improperly can inflict severe injuries on an infant. If the hospital staff does not recognize that the baby is in distress or is being deprived of oxygen, they may not perform the proper emergency procedures and the infant may suffer greatly as a result.
When birth injuries result from medical malpractice of a health care provider (doctor, nurse, and/or hospital), our experienced law team can help families recover the money they need to care for their child for the child's life.
Serious Birth Injuries
- Brachial plexus injuries: The brachial plexus is a cluster of nerves behind the collarbone, one on each side connecting the spinal cord to the shoulders. These nerves allow a person to control the hand and arm. Injuries to one brachial plexus often occur during labor when an infant's neck is pulled or stretched, often by doctors attempting to get the baby out. A “stretch” injury to the nerve may heal on its own, but if the nerve is torn or traumatized, surgery may be required and complete recovery is unlikely.
- Erb's palsy: A brachial plexus injury that affects the nerves in the upper arm. The child will have loss of control and movement in the shoulder and upper arm, but often will be able to move the hand and fingers.
- Klumpke's palsy: A brachial plexus injury that affects the nerves in the lower arm. The child will retain some movement in the upper arm but lose control over the forearm, wrist, hand, and fingers.
- Cerebral palsy: Although cerebral palsy can be caused by a genetic malformation of the brain, it can also develop due to a maternal infection during pregnancy, or oxygen deprivation to the infant during childbirth. It is often misunderstood as a muscle-related injury due to the loss of muscle control, but cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the brain.
- Brain ischemia: When the baby’s brain is deprived of oxygen and reacts by draining blood away from the brain. Consequences from this type of injury can include long-term brain damage and other, related conditions.
- Brain bleed: Bleeding in the brain, sometimes as a result of an external injury or lack of oxygen. Much like ischemia, a brain bleed (cerebral hemorrhage) can cause other conditions, including long-term brain damage.
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy: Widespread brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain. It can include a range of different complications and cause other conditions, including cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, and epilepsy.
- Group B strep infection: Group B strep (GBS) infections are common in women - about 25% of mothers carry these infections without symptoms. During delivery, as the child passes through the birth canal, he or she can be exposed to GBS. It is up to the medical team to test the mother for GBS beforehand and protect the child from infection, usually through a C-section delivery.
- Meconium aspiration syndrome: During childbirth, an infant under stress may defecate within the uterus and then breathe in the feces, called meconium. This can asphyxiate a newborn if not treated quickly.
Pursing Legal Action for Your Santa Barbara Birth Injury Case
If your child has been injured during birth due to the negligence of another, you are entitled to take legal action. California has a statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases, requiring victims to file a claim sooner rather than later. When this time limit has passed, a victim or family may be prohibited from bringing the case to court. Even if you do not think you will be pursuing legal action, consulting with an experienced Santa Barbara injury attorney will help you discover if any action should be taken to preserve your claim.
NordstrandBlack PC offers aggressive representation to our clients in our pursuit of full and fair compensation for their injuries. Contact Santa Barbara birth injury attorney Renée J. Nordstrand today for a free initial consultation to learn about your rights and how we can help after a birth injury.
- Is Failure to Perform a C-Section Considered Malpractice?
- Birth Injury - Merck Manual
- Cerebral Palsy - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- What Are Some Common Complications During Labor and Delivery?