The day your child is born is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life, but an act of medical malpractice during labor and/or delivery can change everything. If your baby is handled wrong, an incorrect instrument is used, or the instrument is used improperly, the damage could be catastrophic. Newborn bodies are extremely fragile and must be handled with the utmost care. If a doctor, nurse, or care provider acts negligently, it can lead to a lifetime of pain, disability, or necessary medical treatments for your child.
Examples of labor and delivery negligence that can cause spinal trauma
Baby’s spines are naturally curved and flexible. This makes it easier for the baby to be delivered, but it also means the spinal cord is less protected than it would be in an adult. As a result, actions that might lead to minor injuries for older patients could lead to devastating birth injuries in a newborn.
Acts of medical negligence leading to newborn spinal trauma can include:
- Improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors
- Negligent administration of Pitocin or other labor-inducing drugs
- Failure to perform a C-section
- Failure to address a breech birth position
- Failure to diagnose an infection
While not common, neonatal spinal cord injuries usually occur during a traumatic delivery, from the doctor, obstetrician, or midwife mishandling the baby’s head or neck during the delivery, whether from using their hands or a tool such as forceps or vacuum. Babies with a spinal cord injury usually present symptoms of weakness or paralysis.
The risks of lumbar punctures
A relatively common procedure for newborn infants is a lumbar puncture (LP). This is often done to make sure that the child is not in danger of meningitis, a deadly infection that can be common in infants depending on their age, clinical setting, and so forth. Not only can they lead to infections such as LP-induced meningitis, osteomyelitis, and epidural abscesses, but they can also harm your child if they are performed incorrectly.
- Spinal hematoma: A spinal hematoma can occur when an LP is done, and the patient has bleeding diathesis –a condition that causes a person to bruise or bleed easily. A spinal hematoma can cause compression of the spinal cord.
- Epidermoid spinal tumor: This is an injury that can develop when your child is still an infant or when they’re grown into an adult. Symptoms of the tumor include gait disturbance, pain, and neurologic dysfunction.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is an act of professional negligence that causes a patient harm. In order to bring a lawsuit, you must establish that a patient/doctor relationship existed, the doctor failed in his or her duty of care to you, you suffered an injury due to this breach, and you sustained damages as a result. The damages you can typically seek include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning income
- Pain and suffering
When the victim is a newborn, however, the case becomes more complex – especially when the injuries are as catastrophic as spinal trauma. Insurance companies are known for trying to pay the least amount of compensation possible, so you want an experienced birth injury lawyer on your side. Harris Lowry Manton LLP has obtained tens of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of medical malpractice clients, including those whose babies suffered harm during labor and delivery.
The delivery of your child is a momentous occasion that should be celebrated. Unfortunately, medical malpractice by the labor and delivery medical staff can darken these moments when the life and health of your child is put at risk. You and your child should not have to suffer needlessly due to the mistakes of someone who was supposed to be taking care of both of you.
If your child has suffered a spinal injury during labor or delivery, we want to help. Contact the Georgia birth injury attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP today: 404-998-8847 in Atlanta, 912-417-3774 in Savannah, or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.
One of the nation’s top trial attorneys, Jeff Harris is an award-winning litigator who handles high-profile, complex cases across a wide variety of practice areas. He excels at securing justice for clients who have been seriously injured or killed, holding responsible parties accountable for their actions as well as their negligence.
Read more about Jeffrey R. Harris here.