Childbirth, however beautiful, can be a chaotic and sometimes even traumatic experience. There is any number of issues that may arise that no one would expect, no matter how advanced the technology leading up to and during the birth. Sometimes these issues are the fault of the medical staff involved in the birth of your baby.
If you believe your family has suffered a traumatic birthing experience as a result of a negligent medical professional or hospital, you can file a claim for compensation.
Who does birth trauma impact?
Birth trauma isn’t just something that the mother needs to deal with. Most people believe that babies will not remember what happens during their birth (and for the most part, consciously, we don’t), but these traumas can carry with us psychologically to some degree for most of our lives.
Babies are incredibly observant of their surroundings and absorb most of the information they perceive around them. Better Health notes that “trauma can seriously disrupt important aspects of child development that occur before the age of three years,” in areas such as their sense of safety, managing emotions, physical skills and more.
In addition to the baby and mother, the entire family is impacted. Traumatic events are hard for everyone in the family no matter how they show it, and finding legal action to cover additional costs due to negligence can come as a slight sigh of relief to those who are struggling to cope.
Spotting birthing medical negligence
To file a claim in this difficult landscape you should know what signs of negligence can look like. Here are some common injuries as a result of medical negligence:
- Hemorrhages: This occurs typically as the mother is giving birth and can happen when there is an improper application of pressure during labour.
- Spinal cord injuries: As one of the most serious birth damages, a spinal cord injury can occur when a doctor uses forceps and is too forceful while delivering the baby.
- Cerebral palsy: When medical professionals are monitoring a labouring woman, they must note signs of fetal distress and provide adequate birth techniques to avoid damage to the baby’s brain. Any mistakes during this time can result in motor skill issues, weak muscles and muscle spasms.
- Fractured collarbones: A fractured collarbone can happen for any number of reasons, but it is also highly preventable. ailing to notice signs of this occurring can cause both mother and baby unnecessary pain.
- Facial paralysis: If forceps or vacuum extraction is used improperly at the time of birth, it could hurt a facial nerve in the baby and cause facial paralysis.
- Caput Succedaneum: Using outside pressure from forceps or even the doctor’s hand during delivery to the baby’s head could rupture blood vessels beneath the scalp.
- Brachial plexus: If a baby’s head is stretched to one side during delivery, this could pinch the brachial plexus nerves in the spinal cord and cause permanent damage.
- Cephalohematoma: Cephalohematoma is a rupture of blood vessels due to pressure on the head using forceps during birth and can cause early-life anemia, meningitis or jaundice.
- Perinatal asphyxia: The result of perinatal asphyxia is seizures or coma and can occur when babies receive insufficient oxygen at any point in the birthing process.
While you can file a claim for the injuries your baby has incurred, parents can also file for having to endure the traumatic event of watching their baby suffer. Trauma birth can take several different forms for anyone in the family. If the medical professional caring for you during the birthing process is negligent and your baby suffers any of the above injuries, you may be eligible for compensation.
How to prepare for legal action
Medical negligence that causes a personal injury means that a medical professional performed a task incorrectly that any other specialist of a comparable skill level would not have done in the same situation.
Every clinician has a medical duty of care to their patient that promises to never cause unnecessary harm, whether intentional or not. When that agreement is breached, legal action can be pursued.
The first step to making a birth injury claim is proving the hospital or professional was at fault. Proving medical negligence includes four points that you must cover in your case:
- That the doctor had a clear duty of care.
- That the duty of care was breached.
- That the breach caused harm.
- That the harm requires compensation.
These types of claims are complex and difficult to prove and should not be pursued on your own. When you speak with a law professional at Gerard Malouf & Partners, you can rest assured that we can help guide you through the process.
You should feel empowered to file a claim if:
- You cannot return to work due to your injuries or caring for your child’s injuries.
- Your medical treatment was below the expected level of care and skill that is reasonable from a labour and delivery professional.
- Your injury and suffering could have been avoided if you’d received proper care.
Even as you move through the grief of suffering an injury in what would otherwise be a monumental point in your life, your medical malpractice lawyers can help you seek legal action.
Differences among states
When you file a negligence claim, you should first seek the help of a birth injury law professional. Together, you and your lawyer will collect medical records associated with the birth from the day of delivery, all the way back to preconception care. This can help map out where the mistake could have occurred along the way and pinpoint which professionals or teams are at fault.
In most cases, you have up to three years after birth to file a claim or after the date of discoverability. You have up to 12 years after the medical negligence occurred when you may discover a complication. In Tasmania, however, you have up to 6 years to discover an injury.
Why Gerard Malouf & Partners can support your family
Hospitals and medical professionals work in high-risk fields. They are faced with the chance of mistakes every day that could result in the death or serious injury of their patient at any moment. For this reason, medical professionals or hospitals have special types of insurance and laws that protect them against lawsuits. Without such protection, grieving families all over the world would file claims against the medical profession and the costs of treatment would skyrocket even higher.
However, if you do have a viable malpractice claim at hand, Gerard Malouf & Partners is prepared with years of experience and a detailed plan of action to help you win birth trauma compensation. No one should have to suffer a traumatic birthing experience alone.
Gerard Malouf & Partners offer a no-obligation consultation where we can go over your birth injury claim and map out a plan for your case. To get started, make an enquiry today.