What Are The Most Common Causes of Birth-Related Injuries?

03 Jul 2018  |  Houston Law Firm

baby birth injury firm

We know that every expectant parent anticipates bringing home a healthy newborn child. Birth-related injuries, some of which are preventable, can cause shock and pain to the parents and family at large. When parents are told their newborn faces potentially lifelong disabilities, many questions arise.

If you carried your baby through a full-term pregnancy and have questions about why your baby had to be admitted to the neonatal ICU, after labor and delivery, and whether your baby may have suffered a birth-related complication, you deserve answers.

A baby’s brain can be permanently injured over several hours of lack of oxygen to the placenta during the labor process. Recurrent or persistent lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain while still in the womb can cause loss of nature’s normal protective mechanisms of a baby’s brain during labor. Some of the most common causes of newborn brain injury suffered before, during or after birth can sometimes be avoided if there had been closer monitoring by physicians and nurses.

There are many possible underlying causes of preventable birth injuries that are a result of improper or negligent medical care. Some of the most common causes are:

  • inappropriate or incorrect use of Pitocin
  • failure to recognize fetal distress
  • failure to identify non-reassuring fetal status during labor
  • failure to properly resuscitate a depressed baby
  • failure to perform a timely caesarean-section birth
  • inappropriate or incorrect use of vacuum or forceps instrumentation

Baby Birth Injury

When a full-term baby is admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit after birth, many parts of the mother’s and the baby’s medical record help to provide insight into whether a birth injury was

preventable and what may have caused your baby’s injury. For example, the fetal monitor strips provide insight into fetal-well being or distress during the process of labor and uterine pressure monitoring can help provide insight into the baby’s response to uterine contraction patterns.

Once a baby is delivered, much can be learned about whether a baby has been injured during labor and delivery and how well the baby can survive without resuscitative measures outside the womb. We utilize a variety of tools that can be found in the medical records to determine whether there was a lack of oxygen during labor and delivery or post-partum. Early neurological findings can range from manifestations of twitching, poor muscle tone (hypotonia), stiffness (hypertonia) and seizure activity. Early diagnostic imaging such as ultrasound and MRI can help provide significant insight into your baby’s prognosis which may affect future disabilities involving cognition, speech, learning, and coordination. This is also known as cerebral palsy.

Newborn birth injuries can be financially and emotionally devastating. We encourage you to let us put our years of expertise and prior successes to work. We understand the dilemmas you face about potentially filing a birth injury lawsuit. Consider, however, that a birth injury lawsuit is about protecting the future interests of your child who will face a wide array of medical problems which will require ongoing support to optimize your child’s health and quality of life.

At Perdue & Kidd we work on a contingency basis so that you will not have to pay any legal fees or expenses until settlement. We invest a personalized approach to every birth-related injury case we handle and are proud that our services have helped many children and their families who provide care to them.  When you meet with our medical malpractice team, you will have the benefit of years of legal and clinical expertise in these types of cases.

 

Perry Mason…Matlock…L.A. Law…Law & Order…Ally McBeal…Suits…Bosch. Lawyers in the courtroom and detectives on the hunt have long been stars of the screen. Trial by jury is one of the oldest forms of drama, and networks have never shied away from capitalizing on viewers’ yearning for the suspense of a dramatic interrogation or cross-examination. More recently, podcasts and streaming platforms have continued this trend.

 

In October of 2000, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation gave the viewer an in-depth look at a new phase of the process and focused on characters who merely served as “extras” in other shows. CSI featured a team of crime scene investigators in the Las Vegas Police Department, and the show captivated audiences with dramatic crimes, witty banter, and most importantly—impressive technology that inevitably led to catching the perpetrator. Viewers worldwide became fans of the high-tech gadgets and fancy laboratories. During its reign, CSI aired more than 300 episodes, inspired three spin-off series, and accumulated thirty-nine Primetime Emmy nominations, with six wins.

 

For years, lawyers and judges have claimed that this exposure to impressive and often unrealistic technology has also created an unrealistic expectation in jurors’ minds; it is referred to as the “CSI Effect.” Prosecutors express concern that jurors might expect to see DNA evidence in proving even the simplest of cases. Defense lawyers similarly fear that without a CSI team lifting a fingerprint from a blade of grass to exonerate their clients, juries might return with an erroneous conviction. Jurors have been conditioned to believe that we are under surveillance at all times and expect every car wreck and slip-and-fall to be caught on surveillance video; that’s simply not reality. Just because something wasn’t caught on camera doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, and a skilled advocate understands that success comes through working with what you have, not with what you don’t.

 

Conversely, others believe the CSI Effect may work in lawyers’ favor. Juries’ changing expectations in technology stems not only from CSI and similar TV shows but society’s growing exposure to technology in general. People today rely on technology in their day-to-day lives more than ever before. While juries might expect more technology in a trial today, they might also trust more technology in a trial today. It all boils down to your lawyer understanding and managing the juries’ expectations and beliefs.

 

As technology changes, society changes; and as society changes, juries expectations change. Trial lawyers have always had to work with juries’ changing expectations. When choosing a law firm to fight for you, it’s vitally important to choose an established firm with proven success both in and out of the courtroom. Perdue & Kidd has over 100 years of combined experience in navigating the intricacies of a lawsuit and truly connecting with juries during the trial. If you have been injured in any way, contact Perdue & Kidd immediately and we will get to work for you.

 

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Perdue & Kidd welcomes Michael R. Clinton as our newest Associate Attorney. Michael will focus on mass tort litigation involving defective medical products as well as pursuing injury claims arising from major car and truck wrecks, defective products and premises liability. Michael is a member of the American Association of Justice, Houston Trial Lawyers Association, Houston Bar Association, and Board of Trustees for Houston Young Lawyers Foundation. A native Texan, Michael graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BBA in Financial Consulting. He attended Baylor Law School on a Dean’s Scholarship and participated in in the NYU Immigration Law Moot Court Competition, the ABA Labor Law Mock Trial Competition, and the UMKC Voir Dire Competition.

 

Michael’s legal career began at Baylor Law School where he worked as the Practice Court Associate in Baylor’s coveted third-year trial program, Practice Court. Before joining Perdue & Kidd, Michael worked as an associate attorney at a national mass tort law firm where he handled pharmaceutical and medical device litigation, including cases involving IVC Filters, Talcum Powder, Transvaginal Mesh, Reglan, Mirena and the Multiple Sclerosis drug Tysabri.

 

We are excited to have Michael on the P&K team.

In today’s world of entertainment and television, Hollywood portrays various aspects of life in ways that are not always realistic. The legal field is not immune from the bright lights of Hollywood. CSI draws a weekly audience of about ten million viewers, so the public gets a weekly dose of an altered reality when it comes to investigations into legal matters. Whether your favorite show is CSI, The People vs. OJ Simpson, or Suits, they all create an unrealistic expectation of what resources are available to investigate legal claims.

Gathering information in the real world is a far cry from that on television. While surveillance cameras in major populated areas are quite prevalent, contrary to what Hollywood may have you believe, everyone’s every move is not recorded and the recordings rarely as clear as on TV. There are times when injury causing events are captured by cameras, but obtaining those images can be difficult.

Surveillance Cameras

Consider a scenario where a person is injured in a collision at an airport terminal. The event would likely be caught by one of many security cameras in the terminal. On CSI you would likely see the investigators go into a high-tech security office with dozens of monitors on the wall to review the video recorded for the day of the collision. They would find the one camera that captured the entire collision and be able to download the high definition recording to use in their case. That’s Hollywood, not the real world. While there may be a security office at the airport with dozens of monitors, Government Code through the Texas Homeland Security Act considered all such video confidential. In fact, the agency governing the airport can outright deny a lawyer’s request for the video regardless of how relevant the video may be to the injured party’s claim. Only in very narrow circumstances is such governmental security video disclosed. So, while shows like CSI would lead you to believe that government security video is just a call away, the reality is that this type of evidence can be extremely difficult and in some scenarios impossible to get. Video from private security cameras is easier to obtain.
Hollywood is good entertainment, but it is not reality.

 

The attorneys at PERDUE & KIDD use real-world investigation techniques to support our clients’ claims.
If you or anyone you know has been injured in any way, contact PERDUE & KIDD now and we will get to work for you.

 

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“Your child has cerebral palsy.”   These are some of the most terrifying words a parent can hear.  Questions fill your head about how this happened?  What does it mean?  What is the future?

Cerebral palsy is a broad term that captures a wide spectrum injuries or neurological diagnoses.  Just as there are a wide range of symptoms, there can be a wide range of causes.  Injuries that occur at birth are an extremely common cause of cerebral palsy, and parents have every reason to investigate if their child’s brain damage was preventable had medical providers acted appropriately.

Having a child diagnosed with cerebral palsy fairly raise questions for parents rather than finals answers.  What nature of the neurological injury does my child suffer?  What areas of the brain have been affected?   What impairments should I expect?  Will the limitations be ones of what they are physically able to do?  Or will the affect the cognitive abilities of my child in the future?

Many of these answers actually depend on what caused the brain injury, and whether medical negligence was involved.  For example, was the baby deprived of oxygen during the birthing process?  For how long? At what stage of labor did the injuries occur?  What structures in the brain have been affected?  The answer to each of these helps a parent both understand the nature of their child’s injury and also the cause of that injury.   If malpractice is a contributing cause of the brain injury, you can have a legal claim against those responsible.

Unfortunately, doctors will rarely answer these questions.  Neonatologists and pediatric neurologists rarely want to discuss with parents the exact cause of their child’s injury and whether it was preventable.  That is why parents have every right to ask for their medical records so someone will review them with a willingness to answer their questions.

The birth records or nursery records can answer volumes of parent’s questions when reviewed by someone willing to answer.  The fetal monitoring data during labor, the nursing labor and delivery records, the obstetrician’s progress notes and delivery records, the neonatology records from the nursery, and the radiologic images of the child’s brain all can help you understand exactly what happened, how, and why.  This helps parent understand both that the neurologic condition of their child is not their fault, despite what the physicians may suggest, but also tell them who actually is at fault and how to hold them accountable.

cerebral palsyPerdue & Kidd has full time staff dedicated to review – at no cost to you – the medical records of any child diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a birth injury, birth trauma, or any spectrum of neurologic injury diagnosed in the first two years of life.  As parents ourselves, we know how precious every child is and how much responsibility these types of cases are.  That is why we remain committed to providing free consultations on any case involving injury to a child, taking on these difficult cases without hesitation, and answering the questions for caring parents: What can be done?

Contact Us. We Can Help.

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