NEW YORK BIRTH INJURY ATTORNEYS
Protecting the rights of individuals and families affected by birth injuries in New York
While the process of giving birth can be physically taxing on both mother and infant alike, advances in modern medicine have made the process much less risky than in was in the past. Unfortunately, the same techniques designed to assist in the birthing process also have the potential to cause serious injury when they are administered incorrectly. In addition, when medical professionals fail to diagnose issues in newborns, there can be lifelong consequences. While some medical complications are unavoidable, those caused by negligence or incompetence are inexcusable and victims should be compensated for their harms and losses.
Because medical negligence is sometimes hard to spot, anyone who has been affected by a birth injury should be sure to discuss their case with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible after the injury is recognized. The New York birth injury lawyers at the Law Office of Dimitrios Kourouklis, Ph.D., are dedicated to helping birth injury victims recover, and have the skill and experience necessary to bring your case to the best resolution possible.
Fetal Heart Tracing Is Very Important During The Delivery Of A Baby
Monitoring the heartbeat of a baby during delivery is an exact science and gives an indication to doctors and nurses of how the baby is faring. Accelerations and decelerations in a baby's heartbeat are normal during the delivery process but there are signs that a medical practitioner must be aware of to see to the safe delivery of your child. Prolonged decelerations mean that the baby is suffering from a lack of oxygen.
Failure to respond quickly to such decelerations can cause your baby to suffer a birth injury. Hypoxia or asphyxia, cerebral palsy, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and mental retardation can be the result of neglecting to trace the heartbeat of a baby during birth. Your child may need long term medical care after such birth injuries and may be deprived a full and healthy life.
Causes of Birth Injury
Birth injuries can be caused by a number of medical errors. Importantly, not every error in judgment gives rise to a medical malpractice lawsuit. In order to successfully bring a claim, a plaintiff must be able to establish that physician’s or medical professional’s conduct fell below the applicable standard of care, which in New York State is the level of care, skill and treatment which is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar healthcare providers under similar circumstances. Some examples of the kinds of medical errors that could lead to birth injuries include:
Not recognizing an infection during the gestation period
Administering defective drugs or improper doses
Botching a surgery or procedure
Failing to properly monitor the fetal heart rate during pregnancy
Failing to follow proper delivery procedures
Failing to recognize a major issue with newborn, such as problems with umbilical or jaundice
Improper use of delivery tools, such as vacuum extractor or forceps
Failing to recognize the need for a cesarean section.
Botching a cesarean section.
Delayed cesarean section
Establishing medical negligence can be a legally complicated issue, so it is extremely important that victims talk to an experienced attorney as soon as possible after an injury occurs.
Types of Birth Injury
Many birth injuries are caused by hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen to a newborn’s brain. This can have a variety of causes, and is capable of causing serious complications including cognitive issues, cerebral palsy, organ damage, and issues with motor control. In addition to injuries caused by a lack of oxygen to a newborn’s brain, the following are also birth injuries that commonly occur due to the negligence of medical professionals:
Brachial plexus injury
Conditions Caused By Birth Injury
When an obstetrics team is negligent or careless in performing a delivery or c-section, birth injuries can lead to life long conditions and syndromes that can greatly affect the quality of life for the child and parent, as well as, significantly increase the cost of raising a child. Some of the most damaging birth injuries related to obstetrician negligence are Cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy. Other birth injuries that may occur include bone fractures, facial paralysis, spinal cord injuries, subconjunctival hemorrhage, shoulder dystocia and perinatal asphyxia.
Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that usually appears during a person's infancy or detected during early childhood years. This condition affects a person's muscles and nerves, but doesn't stem from disorders in the muscles and nerves. Rather, it is caused by a brain injury or abnormality. Cerebral palsy is a permanent life-long condition that will affect both child and parent for the rest of their lives.
Cerebral palsy cases are the most common motor disorder in infants, occurring in 1.5 to 4 babies out of every 1,000; 17 million people worldwide live with this condition. This condition, unfortunately, is often preventable.
Types Of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy covers many disorders which have certain conditions in common. These include damage to the brain and problems with the nervous system at birth, which then affects both muscular movement and posture. When a child is born with cerebral palsy, the condition remains and is not treatable. Where damage to the brain occurred will determine what kind of cerebral palsy a person has. The three main categories of cerebral palsy are:
Athetoid Cerebral Palsy - Characterized by involuntary or uncontrolled movements affecting speech, coordinated movement and the ability to reach or grasp. The child experiences difficulties in maintaining their posture while sitting or walking.
Spastic Cerebral Palsy - Manifests with tight muscles causing stiff and jerky movement. It can make holding or letting go of objects difficult and is the most common kind of cerebral palsy.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy - Poor coordination of movements, poor muscle tone along with problems in depth perception and balance.
It is the lack of blood flow and oxygen to the infant during delivery which then results in damage to the newborn's brain. In many instances, this condition could have been prevented if the symptoms had been diagnosed quickly or proper corrective actions, such as brain cooling, had been taken in time. A knowledgeable California birth injury lawyer strives to find out if the cause of your baby's cerebral palsy was medical malpractice and to assist in obtaining just compensation if this was the case.
Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
Brain and nervous system injuries caused at birth can bring about the disorder known as cerebral palsy. When there is not enough oxygen or blood flow to the newborn, labor and delivery problems can follow and if not properly and quickly diagnosed and corrected, can lead to birth injuries.
Many times, a doctor has to see that a baby is having a rough time in labor and make decisions in order to protect the health of the child and mother. A mother may be given Pitocin or other medications designed to induce labor which can cause problems in the delivery. There can be pressure within the hospital to not perform a Caesarean section due to the cost factor, even though this may have been the safest way to deliver the baby.
The final result can be a newborn afflicted with cerebral palsy and although the symptoms of this disorder may manifest quickly, they frequently do not do so until the infant is 2 years old. We would like you to talk to a dedicated California birth injury attorney from our firm if your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The condition could have been caused by the negligent actions of a health care provider, making them legally liable for their actions.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cerebral Palsy
Symptoms that your child may have one of the types of cerebral palsy can include:
A disturbed sense of balance and depth perception
Involuntary and uncontrolled movements
Stiff or difficult movements
Struggles with fine or gross motor skills
Poor muscle tone
Currently, there is no cure for cerebral palsy and it will affect your child throughout their life. They will need care and attention well above the norm for a child and we are here to help you resolve the financial difficulties which can arise. Medical malpractice deserves equitable compensation. This may mean that you can be compensated for the medical care of your child, future wages that the child would have earned and the suffering and emotional distress that he or she has gone through.
In addition to natural causes relating to the development of the brain, cerebral palsy may be caused by:
Perinatal brain cell death, which occurs during the birthing process as the brain is starved of oxygen or blood vessels rupture; or,
Postnatal non-functional or inappropriate connections (synapses) between brain cells, which occurs due to trauma, infections, and/or asphyxia that damage the brain.
These causes of cerebral palsy are examples of medical mistakes and negligence. When these unfortunate events occur, the physician, medical staff, and/or hospital may be liable for damages.
Labor and delivery problems can sometimes cause the medical condition called Erb's Palsy in a newborn baby. This condition is a paralysis of the arm as a result of an injury to the arm's main group of nerves in the brachial plexus during the delivery process. While rare, it can require mild to severe medical intervention, including surgery and physical therapy. In many cases, the growth of the arm may become stunted and it will be much weaker than the other one.
Erb's palsy can be caused by the baby's shoulder becoming stuck under part of the mother's pelvic bone (shoulder dystocia), by excessive pulling on the shoulders during delivery or by pressure on the baby's shoulders during a breech birth. Medical malpractice can cause Erb's palsy through negligence or improper procedure during labor.
It is heartbreaking when your infant has successfully come to term and has been healthy throughout your pregnancy and this type of birth injury occurs. Your baby may face further medical treatments, which if unsuccessful, can cause great hardship throughout their life. If medical malpractice played a part in your baby's injury, seeking justice and compensation is the right thing to do. Our team of attorneys is dedicated to righting the wrongs done to victims of medical malpractice.
Negligence involving Forceps and Vacuum Extractors
In some scenarios, assistance is needed to help with the delivery of an infant. In these cases, the obstetrician may use a vacuum device or forceps to help extract the child. The use of these devices can increase the chances of an infant sustaining an injury during birth, especially if there is carelessness or negligence involved.
Forceps and vacuum extractors particularly increase the risk of:
Fetal stroke or seizures
Legal Compensation for Birth Injury
When your child is injured due to a preventable birth injury, you are entitled to legal compensation. This is not a matter of just collecting money due to an unfortunate circumstance. It’s a matter of both holding the healthcare facility and doctors accountable for the negligence or inaction, and about the need to relieve stress from your family due to financial strains. Birth injuries will create increased costs for the healthcare, as well as, future costs of raising a child with a birth defect.
The law clearly allows for compensation for a reason; use it as it was intended, to help rebuild your life. An experienced birth injury attorney can help you with your case. We will help you to understand where the negligence occurred, what can be done about it, gather the evidence to build a strong case, and hold those responsible accountable.
Contact a New York Birth Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation
While no amount of financial compensation can change the fact that a birth injury occurred, it can certainly help you and your family deal with your medical expenses and get some peace of mind. Our New York birth injury lawyers are dedicated to helping people affected by medical negligence recover for their losses. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call the Law Office of Dimitrios Kourouklis today at (929) 400-7608. If you would prefer to reach us via email, you can email us at or fill out our online contact form.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are solely intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice nor does it form an attorney-client relationship. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.