Kansas City Birth Injury Attorneys
The birth of a child is a momentous occasion, but birth injuries mar such joyous situations and usher in fear and anxiety. Parents of injured infants have the right to sue for labor, delivery or prescription errors that produce devastating consequences. Speak to a birth injury attorney from our law firm if you suspect your child was injured at birth or exposed to unnecessary dangers. We handle birth injury cases involving:
Birth Injury Medical Malpractice
Medical error made by a doctor, nurse or any other healthcare provider can result in birth injuries. Birth injuries can also be the result of poor medical care being administered after the delivery which include errors made performing a circumcision, or failing to adequately and correctly treat an infection. The most common errors involving birth injuries that may support a malpractice claim include:
Failure by the doctor or nurses to properly prepare for complications of birth with a larger baby, causing maternal injuries or injuries to the baby.
Failing to properly respond to bleeding at birth either from the mother or baby
The improper use of a vacuum extractor during delivery
- The improper use of forceps during delivery
- Failure to recognize or respond to a compressed umbilical cord or umbilical cord entrapment
Failing to respond appropriately to fetal distress (including irregularities in the fetal heartbeat, twisted or compressed umbilical cord)
Delaying to order a cesarean section (c-section) when it is medically necessary to avoid injury or death
- Improper administration of Pitocin, a synthesized hormone that is sometimes used during child birth to induce (speed up) labor and delivery.
At White, Graham, Buckley & Carr, L.L.C. our medical malpractice lawyers know that the injury of your baby not only causes physical injury and deep emotional distress, but also can increase the financial burden on the baby's family. Our experienced birth injury attorneys have seen many families over burdened with the costs associated with the injury such as: costs of physical therapy, special needs schooling and any other general care that is needed for their child. When a birth injury occurs and is caused by the medical negligence of a physician, nurse or any other medical care provider, the family may be entitled to receive financial compensation for these associated costs through a medical malpractice birth injury lawsuit. With over 100 years of combined experience litigating medical malpractice cases, our birth injury attorneys will be able to determine whether or not your physician took proper care at the time of delivery, and the amount of financial compensation that may be owed to you and your family for the losses. Your family deserve justice and compensation, contact our office to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced birth injury attorneys. 816-931-9080 | White, Graham, Buckley & Carr, L.L.C.
Exceptional results. Personal service. Experienced birth injury lawyers.
Located close to the Independence Center and the new Independence Event Center, White, Graham, Buckley & Carr, L.L.C. works with clients throughout Eastern Jackson County, the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, Missouri and Kansas. We operate on a contingency fee basis, make home or hospital visits for clients unable to travel to our office, and have evening and weekend hours available on an appointment-only basis. Contact our office to schedule a free initial consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer from our firm. 816-931-9080 | White, Graham, Buckley & Carr, L.L.C.
- Common Injuries That Can Occur At Birth -
Injuries that occur at birth can range from moderate to very severe, such as light bruising to severe nerve or permanent brain damage. Our experienced medical malpractice attorneys can help you in the process of evaluating your injury case for the possibility of a malpractice lawsuit. Common birth related injuries include:
- Bone fractures - Some of the most common birth injury related bone fractures are Collarbone ( Clavicle), Skull fractures, arm and wrist fractures, leg, ankle and foot fractures, back and hip fractures. Generally, birth injury happens during complicated births or a breeched delivery occurs. A breeched delivery is when a baby is positioned with their buttocks becoming delivered first instead of the babies head. Numerous other conditions besides a baby's position in the birth canal can cause a mother have difficulties during delivery. When a baby is born prematurely they are much more fragile than a full term baby and prone to get injured more easily. Larger babies with a weight closer to 9 lbs or more, can cause delivery complications when in the birth canal by getting stuck. When circumstances of a premature birth arise labor and delivery physicians often use special medical instruments, such as delivery forceps or a medical device known as a vacuum extractor, that is used to aid in removing the infant from the mother's uterus (birth canal). When doctors and nurses misuse these delivery instruments it can cause fractures in the babies skull. When physicians and nurses use to much force to remove the babies, their arms and legs can easily break. When the baby's head becomes stuck behind the pelvic bone of the mother there is a fairly high occurrence of bone fractures.
- Brachial Palsy Injuries - (Erb's Palsy and Klumpke's Palsy) - This birth injury happens when the brachial plexus (group of nerves in the baby that controls movement of the hands and arms) is damaged during delivery. "Shoulder dystocia" is generally the injury that is most often the cause of a Brachial palsy injury. Shoulder dystocia is when labor and delivery difficulties arise from the baby's shoulders impairing a clear passage of the baby through the mothers' birth canal. In severe cases of Brachial Palsy, permanent nerve damage can occur, and often physical therapy and in the more severe cases surgery may be necessary.
- Brachial Plexus - This is a group of peripheral nerves that start in the rear of the neck and extends down through shoulder and armpit. This nerve group is formed by the connection of sections of the fifth through eighth cervical vertebrae nerves and the first thoracic spinal nerve fibers. When damage occurs during delivery to these peripheral nerves that form of the brachial plexus, the injury is classified according to the specific nerve roots that were damaged. There are two common conditions due to a brachial plexus injury, Erb's palsy and Klumpke's Palsy.
- Brain Injury - Complications that arise during labor and delivery can cause a lack of oxygen to the baby by the twisting or compression of the umbilical cord or because of blood loss. A prolonged lack of oxygen to the baby during delivery can result in severe brain damage, and may cause the baby to suffer from seizure disorders, cerebral palsy, or a number of other mental impairments.
- Bruising and Forceps Marks - Occasionally after birth a new born will have some light bruising on the face or head that is caused from exiting the birth canal, and from rubbing against the the mother's pelvic bone and other birth canal tissues. The use of a vacuum extraction device can also at times result bruises to the babies head, and can also result in a laceration to the scalp. Unfortunately in some deliveries were forceps are used, they can cause depressed skull fractures to the baby, which may then require surgery to correct.
- Caput Succedaneum - This is an injury that is often caused by a vacuum extraction in which the baby's scalp becomes severely swollen. The swollen scalp normally subsides within a few days of the injury. When the injury is severe brain swelling can occur that sometimes causes mental disabilities in the baby as well as can cause a permanently impacted or deformed skull, nerve damage and paralysis.
- Cephalohematoma - This is when there is bleeding in between a bone and its fibrous covering. When this injury occurs during childbirth, this injury is generally seen on the head of the baby. A cephalohematoma injury will usually heal within two weeks to three months after birth. If a cephalohematoma injury is particularly large or severe, the baby can become jaundiced as the red blood cells begin to break down.
- Cerebral palsy - Cerebral palsy is a series of medical conditions that affect your child's brain and nervous systems at birth and is often the caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain or from an injury to the babies head during delivery. The effects of the injuries (which include tremors, trouble with walking or difficulty speaking) have a wide range, from very mild to crippling and the effects of the injuries can last the rest of the babies life.
- Developmental disabilities - Developmental disabilities in a baby are generally caused by Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy which also referred to as birth asphyxia. Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) or birth asphyxia is a lack of oxygen in the child's blood (hypoxemia / hypoxia) and/or a restricted blood supply (ischemia) to the babies brain tissue. When the child's oxygen supply to the brain becomes restricted for a period of time, the child's brain cells will begin to die. Even as little as a five minute lack of oxygen to the child's brain can cause a permanent and severe brain injury. This is one of the main reasons why it is vital that the labor and delivery team that is delivering the baby are very experienced in handling the difficult circumstances that do occur during delivery, and know how to quickly and appropriately manage any birth complications.
- Disfigurement - Birth injuries that cause Disfigurement can occur if an doctor, nurse or other medical provider administers inadequate or incorrect medical care during labor and delivery of the child. The incorrect use of forceps or a vacuum extractor in a complicated delivery, can cause injury to the baby temporarily or can cause the baby to be permanently disfigured.
- Erb's palsy - This is a birth injury condition that is caused by the unnatural twisting, compressing or stretching of a babies arms or shoulders. In severe cases of Erb's palsy it can cause total paralysis in the injured arm.
- Facial Paralysis - Injury to the baby's facial nerves during labor and delivery can occur when there is severe pressure on the baby's face or when excessive use of forceps occurs during delivery. If a babies facial nerve is bruised, the paralysis will clear up within a few weeks in cases of minor bruising. When severe facial nerve damage occurs, permanent facial paralysis may occur and surgical repair of the damaged facial nerves may be a necessity.
- Fractured Bones - During labor and delivery the most common bone fracture that can occur is to the clavicle (collar bone), this birth injury usually occurs during difficult childbirths or during a breeched delivery. In some cases, the babies injury will recover quickly once the clavicle bone is immobilized and in more severe cases the baby can become disfigured.
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy - Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is a birth injury which also referred to as birth asphyxia. Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) or birth asphyxia is a lack of oxygen in the child's blood (hypoxemia / hypoxia) and/or a restricted blood supply (ischemia) to the babies brain tissue. When the child's oxygen supply to the brain becomes restricted for a period of time, the child's brain cells will begin to die. Even as little as a five minute lack of oxygen to the child's brain can cause a permanent and severe brain injury. This is one of the main reasons why it is vital that the labor and delivery team that is delivering the baby are very experienced in handling the difficult circumstances that do occur during delivery, and know how to quickly and appropriately manage any birth complications.
- Intra cranial Hemorrhage - During labor and delivery when there is bleeding within the babies skull it is called an intra cranial hemorrhage. There are a few forms of an intra cranial hemorrhage, an epidural hematoma and subdural hematoma, when both of these occur during delivery it is a serious medical emergency. An Intra cranial Hemorrhage can cause increased intra cranial pressure in the babies skull. The increase in pressure may compress the brain and cause permanent brain damage or even death.
- Induced Labor Injuries (pitocin injury) - Pitocin is a dangerous pharmaceutical drug (a synthetic form of the bodies natural hormone oxytocin) used to begin labor and delivery during the childbirth process. When Pitocin is over used, or when it is used an incorrect extensive amount of time or in some cases both, the result can lower the uterine blood flow and may decrease the child's oxygen flow causing permanent brain damage or many other birth-related injuries such as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and cerebral palsy.
- Klumpke's Palsy - Klumpke's palsy, which is also known as Dejerine-Klumpke palsy, is a birth injury of the lower brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is an bundle of nerve fibers that run from the spine of the baby through the neck, the armpit and into the arm of the child. these nerves control the movements of the arms, hands and shoulders. Klumpke's palsy is a birth injury that specifically refers to damage that involves the muscle fibers of the hand and forearm. This birth injury often causes partial or severe paralysis of the hands, fingers, forearm and wrist. In some cases of klumpke's palsy additional injuries may occur which include the eyelids drooping and pupil dilation in one or both eyes.
- Meconium aspiration - Meconium aspiration syndrome occurs when a baby breathes in meconium (also called the baby's first stool) and amniotic fluid into the lungs. Once inhaled, meconium can block the baby's airways, making it difficult for the baby to breathe and may cause permanent brain damage.
- Meningitis - This life threatening infection can occur during labor and delivery when the birth is delayed or prolonged after the mothers' water has broken. A meningitis infection can also occur when a baby breathes in meconium during labor and delivery. Meconium can be inhaled when in cases where the baby is in some sort of distress and this often referred to as asmeconium aspiration syndrome.
- Perinatal asphyxia - This birth injury is a neurological condition that is caused when a newborn baby has its oxygen supply deprived long enough to cause brain damage. If a baby fails to receive an adequate supply of oxygen after birth, perinatal asphyxia will occur. Perinatal is referred to as the time period during labor or close to the time of delivery. Perinatal asphyxia is also sometimes called intrapartum asphyxia or birth asphyxia. If the babies lack of oxygen is not quickly corrected a severe injury can occur such as, permanent organ or brain damage.
- Seizures - Neonatal seizures can occur within the first few days after birth. The rate of occurrence is 20 to 35 cases per 10,000 births. Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) or birth asphyxia is the most common cause of neonatal seizures. This birth injury is a condition where a newborn baby has been deprived a supply of oxygen at or around the time of labor and delivery. Some medical emergencies that can be caused by in HIE are seizures, umbilical cord compression, complications with the placenta or uterus such as a ruptured uterus or placenta previa, fetal distress and injury to the baby's brain during delivery.
- Spinal Cord Injuries - Spinal cord injuries at birth can be caused by excessive traction on the babies trunk during a breeched delivery, rotational stress that is applied to the spinal axis, traction on the cord via the brachial plexus in shoulder dystocia, and hyperextension of the babies head in breeched delivery or transverse presentation.
- Subarachnoid Hemorrhage - This birth injury occurs when there is bleeding in the skull between the brain and the arachnoid tissues that cover the brain. This area of the brain is called the subarachnoid space. A Subarachnoid hemorrhage can occur from a variety of causes which include bleeding disorders, a brain aneurysm, head injury, and from the use of blood thinners. Head trauma is the most common cause of a subarachnoid hemorrhage during labor and delivery. The symptoms of a subarachnoid hemorrhage include nausea, numbness, seizure, altered mentation, sensitivity to bright light, shoulder and neck pain, and visual disturbances.
- Subconjunctival Hemorrhage - This condition causes a bright red band around one or both of a baby's eyes. This typically does not cause permanent damage to the eyes, and usually clears up completely within a week to ten days after birth.
- Birth Injury Frequently Asked Questions -
- What Is a Birth Injury?
- What is medical malpractice claim?
- How often do birth defects occur?
- What is cerebral palsy, as a birth defect or injury?
- Are there any differences between a birth defect and a birth injury?
- Will a medical malpractice lawsuit always be successful if a baby is injured through a birth injury (or birth defect)?
- How often do birth injuries occur?
- In a medical malpractice lawsuit for birth injury (or defect), what determines if a physicians medical care was within the standards of good medical practice care?
- What are "teratogens" causing birth defects, and do they cause birth defects?
- How often do birth defects occur?
- What kinds of circumstances constitute a lawsuit for birth injuries (or defects)?
- Who will benefit financially after a lawsuit for a birth injury or birth defect is successful?
- What is cerebral palsy, as a birth defect or injury?
- What Are some of the most common causes of Birth Injuries?
What Is a Birth Injury?
Injuries to a baby that are caused from complications during labor and delivery is a "birth injury". Injuries during labor and delivery can also happen to the mother.
What is medical malpractice claim?
Medical malpractice is negligent acts committed by a health care professionals and health care provider; such as a a physician, nurse, anesthesiologist, technician, hospital, radiologist, dentist, or hospital worker. This occurs when a medical professionals performance of duties fails to meet the standard of practice of those in the same medical field with similar training and experience and it results in an injury or harm to their patient or patients. Each medical profession sets the standard of malpractice by its own custom and medical practice.
What kinds of circumstances constitute a lawsuit for birth injuries (or defects)?Birth injury lawsuits arise from when a physician or medical professional fails to appropriately recognize or respond to complications or conditions while the mother is pregnant, during labor and delivery, or when the mother takes a prescription medication during her pregnancy that results in harm to the baby.
Will a medical malpractice lawsuit always be successful if a baby is injured through a birth injury (or birth defect)?
No, not always. Some birth defects and birth injuries are simply unavoidable. The main factor when determining if malpractice is involved is whether or not medical professionals and/or a pharmaceutical company has failed to provide the mother and the baby appropriate health care or proper medication advice and dosage during pregnancy and/or labor and delivery.
How often do birth injuries occur?
Birth injuries have been estimated that 5 out of every 1000 babies born in the U.S. are injured during labor and delivery.
In a medical malpractice lawsuit for birth injury (or defect), what determines if a physicians medical care was within the standards of good medical practice care?
A jury will consider the testimony made by medical professionals which are usually other physicians, who will testify on the stand whether or not they believe that your doctor's care followed the standard medical practice or failed to meet the standard of care. A medical specialist, like an obstetrician, is held to a higher standard of care than would be expected of a non-specialist when testifying in court.
Are there any differences between a birth defect and a birth injury?
Injuries that occur at birth (a birth injury) are typically the result of something going wrong during labor and delivery, while birth defects on the other hand are generally caused by harm to the baby that took place before labor and delivery, due to something that took place through out the pregnancy or before the mother became pregnant.
What are "teratogens" causing birth defects, and do they cause birth defects?
A teratogen is a chemical that can cause birth defects in babies. Quite a few prescription medications have been found to be teratogens. Many of medications were initially designed and created to aid in a woman's pregnancy. These medications include Delalutin, a drug that is administered to women that are pregnant to help in the prevention of a miscarriage, and Bendectin, a drug that is given to women who are pregnant to help with nausea.
What is cerebral palsy, as a birth defect or injury?
Numerous disorders that affect the brain function and body movement of a baby is called Cerebral palsy such as; an injury to the brain of a baby in the womb, an injury during labor and delivery, or some time after birth of the baby. Cerebral palsy can also be the result of a lack of oxygen to a baby's brain during labor and delivery.
Who will benefit financially after a lawsuit for a birth injury or birth defect is successful?
If a child suffers an injury due to a birth defect (or injury) that was clearly avoidable, compensation that is awarded in a successful medical malpractice lawsuit will generally go to the baby, possibly in the form of a trust fund. Parents of the baby can receive financial compensation for damages from emotional distress in some cases.
How often do birth defects occur?
It is estimated that 7% of babies are born with a minor or severe birth defect or irregularity.
What Are some of the most common causes of Birth Injuries?
During a difficult delivery is the most common situation that birth injuries occur. The difficult delivery is caused by a number of factors such as:
The size of the baby . When a baby is large and weighs more than eight or nine lbs (four kilograms), an injury to the baby becomes much more likely to occur. Babies born prematurely (born before 37 weeks) are more likely to suffer from a birth injury.
Cephalopelvic Disproportion - This term means that the shape and size of the pelvis of the mother is not adequate for the baby to be birthed from a vaginal delivery.
Difficult labor or childbirth - ("Dystocia"), this term means a prolonged labor and delivery.
The baby's position - a "breeched birth", where the babies legs or buttocks are coming out first, and this type of birth is more likely to result in a birth injury.
If a pregnant mother is experiencing complications during or prior to birth, physicians and nurses should be on high alert for any possible complications through out pregnancy and labor and delivery.
If your family has suffered from a birth injury call our office to schedule a free initial consultation with our medical malpractice lawyers at 816-931-9080 | White, Graham, Buckley & Carr, L.L.C.