Atlanta Birth Injury Attorneys, GA
Protecting Georgia families when negligence leads to the harm of mother or child
The birth of an infant is a time for celebration as families welcome a new baby into the world. Unfortunately, for many families, the excitement quickly turns to tragedy when the labor and delivery process results in injury. The lawyers of Harris Lowry Manton LLP understand the physical, mental, and financial challenges that birth injuries place on families. That is why we diligently work to secure sufficient compensation. When a joyous occasion turns into a nightmare, look to our seasoned Atlanta birth injury lawyers to fight for your rights.
Types of birth injuries
Our knowledgeable Atlanta birth injury lawyers diligently advocate for the rights of victims. We have worked to compensate a variety of birth injuries, including:
- Erb’s palsy. This condition is also referred to as brachial plexus or shoulder dystocia. It occurs when a difficult delivery damages nerves in the shoulders and arms of the infant.
- Infant brain damage. Brain damage can result from a difficult delivery or unreasonably prolonged labor. Loss of oxygen or physical damage to the head can cause injury to the infant’s brain.
- Wrongful death. Labor and delivery mistakes, misdiagnoses, or physician errors can lead to the wrongful death of the mother and/or infant.
- Bone fractures. A difficult delivery or delivery technique errors can fracture various bones within the infant’s body.
- A loss of oxygen to the infant during the labor and delivery process can lead to hypoxia, which can negatively affect various organs within the body.
If your baby has been harmed by the negligence of a medical professional during delivery, trust us to handle the complexities of your family’s case.
What is Erb’s Palsy?
Erb’s palsy is a type of brachial plexus injury that causes paralysis to the nerves in the upper arm. It often occurs during a difficult birth, in which the child suffers shoulder dystocia, a condition where the child’s anterior shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone during birth. Erb’s palsy involves injury to the upper nerves. A more severe version of this condition – global brachial plexus palsy – affects both the upper and lower nerves.
Infants who sustain this injury are not able to move their upper arms or shoulders, but they may have the ability to move their fingers. The more severe forms of this injury can debilitate the entire trunk, preventing the spinal column from sending signals through the nerves to the limbs.
Causes of Erb’s Palsy
The conditions leading to Erb’s palsy usually include:
- Too much pulling on the infant. Doctors sometimes help the baby through the birth canal by pulling the infant. However, applying too much force may cause injury to the brachial plexus. This injury occurs more frequently when a large baby passes through a small canal.
- Difficult birth angle. When the baby travels through the birth canal at an unusual angle, such as with the head on one side as someone from the birthing team pulls the arm on the other, damage to the brachial plexus may result.
- Breech position birth. The birth of the baby born in the breech position may involve pulling the arms of the baby back over the head. If a medical professional pulls too hard, force can impose excessive stress on the brachial plexus, causing potential damage. The baby’s shoulder may be dislocated in extreme circumstances.
Risk factors for developing Erb’s Palsy
Any type of stretching or lateral traction of the infant’s head or neck during birth enhances the risk of brachial plexus damage. Shoulder dystocia multiplies the risk by a factor of three. Additional risk factors for the development of Erb’s palsy birth injury include:
- Large infant body
- Excessive birth weight of the infant
- More than one hour for the second stage of labor
- Vacuum or forceps extraction tool used to during birth
- Excessive or abnormal maternal weight
- Small maternal body
- Malformed pelvis
- Prior children diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy, shoulder dystocia, or other brachial injuries
The consequences of this birth injury can range from deficiencies in muscle control, motor skills, and sensation to lifelong paralysis. Medical practitioners who fail to recognize the early warning signs mentioned above and fail to order a C-section (or consider other options) may be held liable for subsequent injuries to the infant.
What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy, also referred to as CP, is an injury that can develop “during fetal development; before, during or shortly after birth; during infancy; or during early childhood,” per the organization United Cerebral Palsy (“UCP”). It affects the ability of the body to coordinate movements. With this disorder, a child will often have muscles that are either floppy and weak, or stiff and rigid. Other symptoms include the inability to walk steadily, involuntary body movements, irregular posture, or some combination.
The portion of the brain that manages motor functions of the body is the cerebrum – hence the term “cerebral.” People with CP experience a paralysis that prevents voluntary movement of certain parts of the body – hence the term “palsy.”
There is no known medical cure for this condition. The symptoms can be addressed and improved through proper treatment and therapy.
In the United States, according to UCP, approximately 764,000 people live with cerebral palsy, including 500,000 under the age of 18. As the most common form of childhood physical disability, CP occurs in approximately three births per 1000 in the U.S.
Often this disability is not diagnosed during the first few years of a child’s life. However, the evidence of inhibited muscle coordination and disorders in bodily movements can lead to the diagnosis and recognition of the condition.
Cerebral palsy is categorized in four ways: Spastic, Athetoid/Dyskinetic, Ataxic, and Mixed. Approximately 70% of all cases of CP are categorized as spastic.
CP’s effect on the body
The brain is the central processing system of the body. It controls vast array of motor functions that enable people to live independent and free. Some motor controls are voluntary, such as raising the hand or taking a step to walk. Others are involuntary or reflexive.
When the brain’s motor control centers are damaged, both voluntary and involuntary motor skills may be greatly inhibited. A child or adult with CP may face great challenges performing activities most of us take for granted such as talking, walking, and using the arms and hands for common daily tasks.
Unlike some conditions that affect the body, CP is a disorder that does not grow worse over time. It can be managed effectively with proper treatment and care.
Factors causing birth injuries leading to CP
Although multiple factors can contribute to the onset of this disability, too often, medical errors and negligence during the birthing process precipitate birth injuries leading to the condition.
A birth injury may occur during pregnancy, while the mother is in labor, or during delivery. Approximately one in five injuries that lead to cerebral palsy occurs around the time of birth. Many of these birth injuries are preventable. The various risk factors that increase the chances of a birth injury occurring, which may potentially also lead to CP, include:
- Blood clots
- Poor medical care
- Abnormalities with the placenta
- Reduced blood or oxygen flow to the baby’s brain
- High blood pressure of the mother
Causes of birth injuries
Birth injuries occur for a number of reasons. Medical errors may have begun during the pregnancy stage, with a physician’s failure to properly diagnose. Labor complications or poor delivery decisions may also have contributed to the resulting injuries. Some of the most common causes of birth injuries include:
- Improper use of forceps during the delivery
- Improper use of vacuum during the delivery
- Unreasonable delay in ordering a Cesarean Section
- Failure to properly monitor the mother’s health
- Failure to perform necessary tests
- Inadequate monitoring of the fetus
- Failure to recognize signs of distress
The skilled Georgia birth injury attorneys of HLM understand the challenges that families face when dealing with a birth injury. That is why we diligently work to ensure a level of compensation that adequately reflects your physical, mental, and financial damages.
Do not hesitate to get help from a Georgia birth injury lawyer
When the negligence or carelessness of a hospital or medical professional leads to a birth injury, you deserve justice. The experienced Atlanta birth injury attorneys of HLM diligently advocate for the rights of birth injury victims and their families. For help now, call our Atlanta office at 404-961-7650 or our Savannah office at 912-651-9967, or complete our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.
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