Seattle Birth Injury Attorney
You might have realized something was wrong during birth or in the hours or days after. Your first priority is getting medical care for yourself or your baby son or daughter. The next step is to consult a knowledgeable and experienced Seattle birth injury lawyer.
If you suspect your child’s injury or your own is the result of the negligence of your medical provider, call us at Menzer Law, right away. Matt Menzer has decades of experience handling cases involving negligent medical care during pregnancy and birth. He has the knowledge and insight you need to decide whether you should pursue a medical malpractice claim.
Birth Injuries Versus Birth Defects
Before considering legal action against a doctor, midwife or hospital, it’s important to distinguish between birth defects, also called congenital disorders or disabilities, and birth injuries. A congenital disorder is a condition that comes about during your child’s early development. It might be because of genetics or the environment. Birth injuries happen when something goes wrong during the pregnancy or birth.
In some cases, your child’s birth injury is the fault of a negligent medical provider. The best way to learn whether your child was the victim of medical malpractice is to work with an experienced lawyer. If we find evidence of negligence, we can represent your family in a lawsuit against the at-fault provider and possibly their employer as well.
Common Birth Injuries
When doctors and nurses aren’t careful, they can cause broken bones. Common bone fractures during birth include the collarbone and thigh bone.
A brachial plexus is a group of nerves running through the neck, shoulders, arms and hands. If this group of nerves is damaged, your child can experience pain and loss of sensation and movement in the affected arm. It might be temporary or permanent, depending on the extent of the injury, which is called Erb’s palsy.
Another area where an infant can sustain nerve damage is on the face. If the nerves in a child’s face are injured, usually during a forceps delivery, they can suffer temporary or permanent paralysis on one side of their face. This is called facial palsy.
Your child can suffer an injury if their oxygen is too low or entirely cut off for too long during the birth. Asphyxia is the term for when a person’s oxygen is blocked, and hypoxia is the injury that occurs when the body does not get enough oxygen.
If your child goes without oxygen for several minutes, they can suffer hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which is a permanent brain injury. HIE can lead to several conditions, including developmental delays, cognitive impairment, motor impairment, cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
Forceps And Vacuum Extraction Injuries
Some births are more difficult than others, and doctors will use forceps or vacuum extraction to help the infant pass through the birth canal. This is often used when the baby is in distress. But if a doctor uses these instruments improperly or carelessly, they can hurt the mother and child.
A pool of blood can collect under the baby’s skin in the periosteum (a membrane that covers the outer surface of bones) of the skull bone. This condition is associated with a risk of jaundice and anemia, though it’s not usually dangerous. In extreme cases, an infant needs a blood transfusion.
The underlying cause of cerebral palsy (CP) is still somewhat of a mystery to doctors and scientists. It’s often associated with oxygen deprivation during birth, but premature birth and other complications also are risk factors.
CP is a group of neurological disorders. These disorders impact a person’s muscle tone, balance, posture and overall movement. Individuals with CP can experience difficulties with speech, hearing and vision as well as cognitive deficiencies. The effects of CP vary significantly, with some people experiencing mild symptoms and others requiring assistance or care throughout their lives.
Spinal Cord Injuries
An infant can sustain a spinal cord injury (SCI) during birth that causes a loss of sensation and movement below the injury site. A total or partial SCI can cause paraplegia or tetraplegia (quadriplegia). SCIs also are associated with a lack of bladder and bowel control, breathing difficulties, blood circulation issues and blood clots, muscle spasms, increased risk of stroke and more.
Mothers Also Experience Birth Injuries
Birth injuries claims typically focus on infants. But mothers also can sustain serious harm when doctors and nurses are careless.
Doctors often recommend a cesarean section (C-section) when it’s the safest option for the mother and child. But a C-section is a serious surgery that requires extreme care. A surgical error during a C-section can be life-threatening.
Physicians don’t cause preeclampsia through their carelessness. But lack of attention and care can lead to this life-threatening condition going unnoticed. Preeclampsia includes high blood pressure and potential organ damage. It’s only possible to treat when doctors and nurses notice the signs.
When the placenta is fully or partly covering the cervix, the condition is called placenta previa. It can cause significant bleeding, and, in some cases, it is life-threatening. It’s important for doctors to diagnose and closely monitor this condition during pregnancy.
If a woman experiences a uterine rupture during pregnancy or birth, it’s essential a doctor diagnoses and treats the condition right away. The condition requires a C-section and uterus repair or a hysterectomy.
The Washington Medical Malpractice Claim Process
If you or your child suffered an injury during pregnancy or birth, we recommend that you talk with an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice law. Whether you have a claim depends on whether a health care provider failed to uphold their professional standard of care or get your informed consent. There has to be expert evidence that they were negligent for you to pursue compensation.
Attorney Menzer will carefully review your medical records. He’ll then seek out the expert opinions of the appropriate doctors and other types of medical providers.
Let Us Help You Right Away
Attorney Menzer and his team have decades of collective experience. They aren’t afraid to go up against hospitals and insurers with large legal teams. They are well-aware of the ways medical providers and their insurers try to get out of medical malpractice claims or pay out as little as possible.
When you or your child have been hurt by a health care provider’s negligence, you have the right to hold that provider and their employer responsible. You have the right to demand justice and compensation. Contact us today through the online form or call 206.903.1818 to set up a free consultation.
We accept medical malpractice cases on a contingency basis. You don’t have to worry about upfront fees. We only get paid our fees after we win.