Seeing your baby seriously injured by another’s negligence is the worst-case scenario for any parent. When the incident happens at birth and at the hands of a medical professional, the shock and incapacitation that parents feel are intensified further. Whether you, as the mother, or your child were injured during delivery, a Scarborough birth injury lawyer can help you file a medical malpractice claim against the doctor responsible. Birth injuries may affect your child for life, and the compensation that you recover can go a long way in covering the extra costs that were forced upon you by a negligent doctor’s actions
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One of the most serious birth injuries is cerebral palsy, a disorder that affects the strength and stability of the victim’s muscles. People with cerebral palsy have difficulty or inability to control their movements and are often confined to wheelchairs or assistive braces. Researchers are uncertain as to the mechanism that causes cerebral palsy; cerebral palsy may be caused by a maternal infection before or shortly after delivery, or it may be caused by a brain injury caused during birth or shortly after if the baby is pulled too forcefully, dropped, or starved for oxygen, according to the Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy. Forceps and vacuum pressure during delivery are known to cause cerebral palsy as well. Once the brain injury occurs, an infection moves in, causing cerebral palsy.
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Cephalohematoma is simply a bruise on the baby’s head or face caused by the use of forceps or excessive pressure on the vaginal wall. While cephalohematoma usually heals on its own in weeks or months, it increases the risk of jaundice, meningitis, anemia, and hypotension.
Perinatal asphyxia is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the blood supply is low on oxygen. It can cause seizures, difficulty breathing, shock, coma, and death.
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Brachial plexus is damage to the nerves that descend from the upper spine to the hands, arms, neck, and shoulder, resulting in temporary or permanent nerve damage and disability.
Caused when there is too much pressure placed on the baby’s face, facial paralysis can affect an infant in various ways. Some paralysis may be localized and moderate in nature, while a more severe case may keep the baby from being able to close his or her eye.
Caput succedaneum is generally not a serious injury and heals on its own. It is characterized by an injury on the scalp that appears to be bruising.
A difficult delivery may place too much pressure on the baby’s shoulders, resulting in a fractured collarbone. While most fractured collarbones or clavicles heal on their own, some fractures may require surgery.
Many Graduating Doctors Do Not Have Adequate Vacuuming or Forceps Skills
Performing “c-sections,” or cesarean sections, has become exceedingly prevalent in Canada. Cesareans have become so popular in recent decades that whenever there is a chance of a difficult birth, many Canadian doctors simply opt for the cesarean without taking chances on their own assisted vaginal birth skills. Assisted vaginal births used to be, by far, the most common way of giving birth to mothers who were unable to deliver the baby themselves through their own power. Assistive techniques include vacuum suction, forceps, and other devices. Forceps injuries are common when these metal tongs are used; conditions such as cephalohematoma or, bruising, and minor lacerations are common and are generally no need for concern. However, forceps can and do cause much more serious damage. Improper use of delivery forceps can cause:
- Skull fracture
- Bleeding inside the skull
- Laceration of facial nerves
- Damage to the baby’s eyes
- Brain damage
- Cerebral palsy
- Injury to the mother, such as tears
A recent study of doctors upon graduation found that the teaching of traditional assisted vaginal delivery techniques may be lacking in Canada, and could potentially be a cause of forceps and vacuum injury prevalence. The study found that, while 97% of obstetrics/gynecology residents planned to use vacuum techniques and 93% planned to use forceps, the following was also true:
- 48% said they did not feel skillfully prepared
- 48% had concerns about maternal and/or neonatal complications
- 44% worried about the medical-legal implications
- 28% had a concern about maintaining their skills, according to Giving Birth in Canada
What Damages Can I Sue for?
The following types of compensation can be pursued by the mother and/or the baby in medical malpractice claims:
- Out of pocket medical expenses
- Future out of pocket medical expenses, including future surgeries, medication, treatment, assistive medical devices, and more
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of joy of life
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages and earning capacity
How Is Lost Earning Capacity Calculated for a Baby?
In serious personal injury cases or wrongful death lawsuits, the largest portion of compensation tends to be lost earning capacity. Lost earning capacity differs from lost wages or lost earnings. Lost wages refers to the specific wages, salary, sales, or commission that the injured party would have earned had they not been in the hospital or recovering at home. Lost wages may be calculated for a week or two, or months. Lost earning capacity or earning ability is much larger than lost wages, as it includes the entire potential earning for the victim’s life. As such, the lost earning capacity of a 30-year-old CEO earning $2 million per year who suffered a debilitating injury would be worth much more than the lost earning capacity of a 72-year-old Walmart cashier who suffers the same exact injuries. When it comes to calculating the expected lost earning capacity of an infant, it quickly becomes more difficult to quantify. No one can accurately predict what an infant would have grown up to be had they not suffered a debilitating birth injury. This is one of the many reasons why an experienced medical malpractice lawyer is necessary. By using experts in the field and various other factors, a medical malpractice lawyer can help quantify these losses.
Call a Scarborough Birth Injury Lawyer at Preszler Law Firm Today
To seek civil justice, you need an experienced Scarborough birth injury lawyer at your side when you file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the negligent party. To call Preszler Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with a Scarborough birth injury lawyer, call 1-800-JUSTICE.