What is Birth Injury?
Medical malpractice can cause serious birth injuries (e.g. cerebral palsy and brain damage, shoulder dystocia) from trauma and deprivation of oxygen during labor. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has published a position paper that attempts to set forth criteria for brain injury caused by birth trauma. The report acknowledges that certain intrapartum (during labor) events can cause cerebral palsy.
Families facing a lifetime of care for a profoundly challenged infant need legal counsel on whether there is a case and, if so, how to successfully bring the suit and provide a life care plan for the future.
Fighting Delivery Room & Obstetric Malpractice Errors
Our firm has tried (and settled) a significant number of birth trauma and cerebral palsy cases that have resulted in million and multi-million dollar settlements — often with structured settlements and special needs trusts to ensure that Medicaid and Social Security benefits remain in place.
To evaluate birth trauma cases we have prepared a questionnaire for download: Birth Trauma Client Questionnaire to assist a Nashville birth injury attorney in evaluating your case.
Cerebral Palsy Information
Cerebral palsy is a permanent, non-progressive condition caused by damage to the cerebrum, the largest area of the brain, where movement is controlled. The most common symptoms of cerebral palsy include difficulty moving and controlling various muscles. This may result in problems walking, using the arms or hands, speaking, swallowing, breathing, hearing, seeing, and learning. Seizures may also occur in some cases. There are four types of cerebral palsy: spastic cerebral palsy (the most common, it involves stiff, contracted muscles in one to four limbs), ataxic cerebral palsy (creates problems with balance, depth perception, and fine motor skills), athetoid cerebral palsy (includes uncontrolled movements in arms, hands, legs, feet, face, mouth, or tongue), and mixed cerebral palsy (means two or more types are found in the same individual).
Causes of cerebral palsy may occur during pregnancy, during the birth process, or after a child is born. Lack of oxygen to the brain, trauma to the baby’s head, and certain infections are possible causes of cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is sometimes a result of a medical mistake or miscalculation. For example, the baby may move into an improper position that makes a caesarian-section necessary during the birthing process. If the doctor does not recognize or respond to the situation early enough, the baby’s oxygen supply may be inadequate and cerebral palsy may result. Unfortunately, medical errors are sometimes due to medical negligence or medical malpractice. If you are a victim of medical malpractice or medical negligence and need the assistance of a leading medical malpractice lawyer, contact us today
Representative Birth injury Case
Two years of litigation achieved a $7.5 million settlement in a birth injury lawsuit initiated by the grandparents of a child born with cerebral palsy. Advocate Health and Hospitals Corp. will pay $7.5 million to the grandparents of a 9-year-old girl who was disabled as the result of alleged medical malpractice during her August 2002 birth at Christ Medical Center.
As with many birth injury lawsuits, the allegations of medical malpractice centered around the delay of hospital staff and treating physicians had with respect to taking action upon learning of the potential dangers facing the baby. The delay in responding to signs of fetal distress was blamed for oxygen deprivation and ensuing complications including brain damage and cerebral palsy.
Now, 9-years-old, and with significant care-related needs, the funds from the settlement can be used to provide for the extensive skilled-care needs that this child will need for the remainder of her life. In addition to the care, some of the funds will likely be used to modify the child’s home to make it more accommodating for specialized physical needs such a wheelchair access.
Significant Settlements For Birth Injury Cases:
Settlements such as this are indeed eye-popping for their significance. But it is important to remember that the funds from the settlement of birth injury lawsuit are intended to provide for the needs of these children for the remainder of their lives. In the case of a child with cerebral palsy, many physicians will opine that these children will have a normal life expectancy — similar other children their age.
Additionally, in situations involving funds awarded to children in cerebral palsy or other types of birth injury cases, the funds are customarily put into a trust or other type of restrictive account. Only a parent or guardian can access the funds for the direct needs of the child.
Many times, a judge oversees the administration of the funds to further protect the child from improper acts of a third-party— and to assure that the funds last protect the needs of the child in the future. Usually, an annual accounting is ordered to be filed with the court where all expenditures and trust income is accounted for in order to detect any issues as quickly as feasible.
Further distinguishing funds set-aside for a child’s birth injury, is how the funds are to be invested. Unlike accounts used for investment and growth, accounts established for special needs children are intended to utilize extremely conservative— and inherently safer— types of investment vehicles to further assure the needs of the child can be provided for in the future regardless of the overall economic volatility.
Resources for More Information on Birth Injury
- Anesthesia malpractice
- Cancer Misdiagnosis
- Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis
- Nashville Personal Injury Lawyers: managing the unthinkable