Injuries to a newborn child due to negligence can be the basis of a legal claim for recovery against a doctor or a hospital. But types of injuries fall under the description of a “birth injury” for legal purposes.
Birth injuries certainly include injuries that take place during childbirth, but may also include injuries that take place during pregnancy. We will address injury types in a chronological approach, beginning with those that can occur during pregnancy.
Perhaps the most common pre-birth injury that can happen as a result of negligence on the part of a healthcare provider comes from prescription drugs administered during pregnancy.
Sometimes a drug may come to market for a beneficial purpose, but later is found to have negative side effects. As long as it can be proven that the injury to the baby was not caused by some other factor, and that the prescribed drug could have and did contribute to the injury, then a cause of action may exist.
Aside from the doctor who prescribed the drug, and possibly his or her employer, the company that made the drug may also be a possible defendant in an action arising from such a pre-birth injury.
Injuries that happen during delivery are a second type of birth injury. These can involve improper procedures that can cause traumatic injuries and attendant consequences like Erb's palsy, or can result from oxygen deprivation to the baby’s brain, which in turn can lead to conditions such as cerebral palsy.
Proving an injury occurred during childbirth can be a complex matter, as the healthcare provider may claim that he or she did nothing wrong and that the injury was unavoidable. The provider may assert that the care delivered did not deviate from the appropriate standard of care applicable to health care professionals. Each birth injury claim is unique and fact-specific.
Birth injury claims are complex matters that cannot be comprehensively covered in a single article. As with any possible legal matter, specific questions are something that a legal professional may be best qualified to answer for you. This post is not a template for making a birth injury claim or as a form of legal advice, but it may help people affected by a birth injury better understand their options and rights.