Medical malpractice is always tragic- to be hurt by the very people we trust to heal us is an exceptional betrayal. However, birth injuries are some of the most tragic cases our lawyers see, because it's a young life being irreparably affected as a result of someone else's negligence and misconduct. In the United States, about seven out of 1,000 babies are injured during the course of childbirth.
Our birth injury lawyers believe passionately in helping the families of these young victims pursue compensation for the injuries suffered by newborn children. These injuries are long-lasting, severe, and most tragically, avoidable.
If you're a resident of Columbus, Decatur, or anywhere in the Atlanta, Georgia area and your child suffered an injury at birth, you should speak with our birth injury lawyers immediately. Please call Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance, PC today at 404-760-7400 for a free consultation.
Find Out More About Birth Injuries:
- Who can be Held Liable for Birth Injury
- Cerebral Palsy
- Erb’s Palsy
- Labor and Delivery Birth Injuries
- Neurological Injuries
- Oxygen Deprivation
- NICU Errors
- The Anatomy of a Birth Injury Case
- Resources in Atlanta
- How Our Attorneys Can Help
- Contact Us
Who can be Held Liable for a Birth Injury
Depending on the nature of the injury and the staff attending the birth, parties that may be held liable for birth injury include:
- Doctors and physicians
- Support Staff
In some cases, the company that owns or operates the hospital where injury occurred may be held liable as well. This all depends on the specifics of your case and is something that will be established while we are building your claim. We are prepared to hold every person who played a role in your child’s injury to full account. We will discuss this in greater detail during your free case review at one of our Atlanta area offices.
Cerebral Palsy Birth Injuries
What birth injuries cause cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is an umbrella for a collection of syndromes and symptoms in a baby or child stemming from hypoxic brain injury (lack of oxygen) during birth. A child suffering from cerebral palsy may have cognitive and/or physical abnormalities as a result of a lack of oxygen to the brain during childbirth.
Cerebral palsy is sometimes totally crippling, keeping a child unable to walk, talk or care for himself. Much milder forms of cerebral palsy may manifest themselves as a minor lack of muscular control and coordination. There is much hope for improvement in many cases, with proper therapy and intervention. Children with cerebral palsy affecting their gait have been known to improve so well over time that they eventually ran track in high school.
Early evaluation and intervention are important. Dedicated parents and knowledgeable health care professionals can do a lot to help a child with cerebral palsy cope or overcome it in many cases. Securing the financial resources necessary to pursue your child's greatest possible improvement is one objective of a birth injury claim when health care professionals were negligent during labor or delivery.
Erb's Palsy is among the most common birth injuries our lawyers see in the Atlanta area. This condition can leave your child with a lifetime of decreased mobility or in the most tragic of circumstances, paralysis.
Our birth injury lawyers understand the physical pain of Erb's Palsy, the emotional trauma of Erb's Palsy and the medical expenses that result from the treatment of this condition. We're committed to fighting for you and your child.
What birth injuries cause Erb's Palsy?
Erb's Palsy is a paralytic condition that results from an unsustainable stretching or straining of the brachial plexus. Your brachial plexus is a nerve cluster that runs from your lower neck through your shoulder and into your arm. It regulates much of the movement of the arm, which obviously makes it an exceptionally important part of your body.The brachial plexus can be damaged in a number of ways, including gunshots, trauma, falls or any action that causes unnatural stretching of your arm and shoulder. By far the most common cause of Erb's Palsy, however, is trauma at birth.
It's not unusual for a child to require some deft maneuvering to remove from the mother's birth canal- a lot can happen to make it difficult for a baby to be birthed in the usual head-first fashion. This work isn't easy, but it's sometimes necessary.
However, doctors must be careful when delivering a baby in this way, as too much straining or stretching can damage and even sever the brachial plexus. This can reduce your child's range of motion and even leave the arm paralyzed.
Obviously, this is a long-term, life-long condition, and your child will always bear the consequences. As such, you have a right to speak with our birth injury lawyers and pursue justice and compensation. We'll be happy to answer all of your questions and advise you on how best to move forward.
Labor and Delivery Birth Injuries
With the evolution of science and technology we have a number of tools that can help diagnose, prevent or assist doctors and nurses in monitoring a fetus. One of the tools that is used is called the electronic fetal monitoring system. When a woman is in labor, she is hooked up to a machine so that the medical professionals can monitor the fetal heart rate. The heart rate provides a gauge to identify patterns and helps to determine if the baby is in trouble. Frequently, birth injuries are related to failure to perform actions in a timely manner. Birth injuries can take on a number of different forms, including:
- Failure to diagnose
- Failure to treat
- Dangerous medications
- Cesarean section errors
- Oxygen deprivation
Neurological Birth Injuries
Roughly 28,000 birth injuries are reported every year in the United States. There are a number of birth injuries which are caused by poor care in labor and delivery. If any of the injuries result in deprivation of oxygen, the child may sustain a neurological injury. Often in these cases, the injuries are catastrophic because the brain will not grow to the same extent and that will affect the baby's functioning as he or she grows. Children who have experienced neurological injuries often do not meet the milestones of growth and coordination. Very severe neurological injuries can result in other conditions like paralysis, basic functioning problems and cognitive concerns.
What are some common neurological birth injuries?
Common neurological birth injuries include:
- Hypoxia/asphyxia: lack of oxygen to the brain
- Cerebral palsy: lack of oxygen to the brain that results in cognitive or motor skill problems
- Hydrocephalus: this condition is one where there is an accumulation of fluid on the brain, which can cause neurological problems
Oxygen Deprivation Leading to Birth Injuries
Birth injuries often involve hypoxia (brain injury due to lack of oxygen) leading to brain damage, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities or developmental delays. Parents may not realize that there is a problem until the child encounters difficulty learning to speak or progressing through the educational system.
What can cause a lack of oxygen to the baby during labor and delivery?
Common issues which may result in oxygen deprivation for the baby include:
- Hypoxia: If a baby has reduced oxygen, his or her heart rate will respond in certain ways. The response will show up on the electronic fetal monitoring system. The system alerts nurses and doctors to the baby's struggle. In some cases, by monitoring the baby carefully, medical professionals can prevent damage. However, in cases where monitoring did not occur properly, a child can sustain harm because of negligence.
- Placental abruptions: This occurs when the placenta separates from the uterus completely before the baby is born. This condition prohibits the fetus from receiving the proper nutrients and oxygen and can cause the mother to bleed.
- Umbilical cord problems: Oxygen deprivation can stem from umbilical cord problems as well. If the cord becomes wrapped around the baby's neck, or if there is too much pressure on the cord, there is a risk that not enough oxygen will reach the infant.
- Uterine rupture: A uterine rupture occurs when the wall of the uterus tears. Often it is at the site of a former C-section and can prevent the baby from receiving the proper oxygen and nutrients.
NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) Errors
Neonates are babies in their first 28 days of life. Often, if a baby is particularly fragile, or facing some challenges, he or she is placed in the neonatal intensive care unit. Any mistakes with these fragile babies can be life-threatening for them.
There are many ways an infant can be injured in a neonatal intensive care unit. Hospital staff is often overworked and mistakes happen. Unfortunately, these errors can be devastating to your infant's safety and well-being. We often see the following mistakes:
- Medication errors
- Failure to adequately monitor the baby
- Failure to diagnose or treat jaundice
- Poor ventilation
The Anatomy of a Birth Injury Case
When you suspect your child has sustained injury through medical negligence, swift action is crucial for the best results. Contacting our experienced Atlanta birth injury lawyers as soon as you suspect injury was the result of malpractice allows us to begin working on your case right away, helping to maximize our ability to collect evidence and build a strong case on your behalf.
The first step in a birth injury case will be the collection of information through a free and confidential consultation. Following this first meeting, we will get to work immediately to obtain all relevant medical records, enabling an in-house review by our attorneys and select medical professionals we work with. Following our in-office review, we often consult with experts in various fields to fully understand the causes of your child’s injury. This allows us to file your case with the most complete and compelling information possible.
Once the case has been filed, the discovery process will begin. This will comprise the longest portion of your birth injury case. During discovery, we will conduct interviews, obtain additional information, and hire experts to comb through every detail of your claim. We will also examine evidence being gathered by the defense during the discovery process, and prepare your case for trial.
Examining the defense is one area in which our birth injury attorneys clearly stand out. In the 1990s, Lance Lourie worked with a group that built defenses for birth injury cases. He now applies this knowledge to tearing those same defenses down, helping families struggling with the consequences of medical negligence get the full and fair compensation they deserve.
Following discovery, we may attempt to reach a settlement during mediation. We have a strong history of securing large settlements and verdicts for victims of medical malpractice. We will not accept any offer without your express desire that we do so. Nor will we accept any offer that is an insult to the severity of the injury your child has suffered.
If your case goes to trial, we will fight tirelessly, present compelling evidence, and call on reliable and trustworthy experts to do everything possible to secure a positive verdict. Very few medical malpractice cases end in trial, but at Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance, our attorneys prepare every case for this eventuality.
Babies Can't Wait
If your child has a birth injury, there are resources available in Atlanta. Babies Can’t Wait is a program developed by the Office of Child Health to provide special assistance, guidance, and support for children born with special needs. Operating under the Children and Youth with Special Healthcare Needs' (CYSHN), Babies Can’t Wait serves all of Georgia's 18 Health Districts and has assisted nearly 18,000 babies and their families by providing learning opportunities and other services for children who have been diagnosed with a medical condition that will result in developmental delay. Learn more about this program in our blog.
How Our Birth Injury Attorneys Can Help
All medical malpractice cases are complicated. Birth injury litigation is no exception, as it requires a firm understanding of the law and the complexities of neo-natal medicine. At Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance, our birth injury lawyers understand the importance of experience and professionalism in this litigation. We have a proven track record of honest dealing with both clients and potential clients.
In the early 1990s, Lance Lourie worked with a group that developed effective ways to defend against birth injury lawsuits. Watching how experts in placental pathology, genetic testing, neuroradiology, and infectious disease could be used to counter birth injury claims, Attorney Lourie developed an intimate and direct understanding of the tactics used to deny compensation to families struggling with the consequences of birth injury.
This knowledge of the inner-workings of birth injury defense gives us the unique ability to dissect those arguments, enabling us to be much more effective in our representation of children and their families. We are prepared to do everything needed to protect your family against defense attorneys and insurance adjusters while we fight for every penny you are due.
We will not exploit your grief over the injury your child has suffered to pressure you into unwise litigation. Instead, we will use our decades of experience to look out for your interests and the interests of your child.
Contact Our Birth Injury Lawyers Today
If your child suffered from a birth injury because of the negligence of a medical professional, it is important that you take the time to speak with a birth injury attorney. These cases require lawyers with a great deal of medical and legal knowledge. Our attorneys will work with you to address your claim and handle it with great compassion. Contact us by filling out the form on this page or by calling us at 404-760-7400. We represent clients throughout Georgia including Atlanta, Savannah, Columbus and Augusta.