Causes of Birth Injuries

Health care professionals have an incredibly difficult job, as they seek to adhere to recognized standards of care when treating patients and performing procedures. When doctors, nurses, midwives, or other practitioners unfortunately deviate from accepted practices, a birth injury may occur. This type of  negligence is often referred to as medical malpractice. Some common examples of negligent conduct that may lead to a birth injury includes: 

  • Improperly using forceps;
  • Failing to recognize fetal distress;
  • Failing to act when distress is recognized;
  • Improperly performed vacuum extraction;
  • Improperly using Pitocin;
  • Failure to perform cesarean section promptly when warranted;
  • Failing to diagnose or properly treat preeclampsia;
  • Failing to diagnose or treat high or low blood pressure;
  • Failure to diagnose and treat and infection and
  • Failure to manage long labor.

It’s Important To Act Quickly

Claims brought against health care professionals and hospitals after a birth injury may need to be filed and pursued quickly. There are many procedural aspects of a birth injury case that must be completed to ensure that the claim proceeds properly. One of the most important measures to be taken at the onset of your case is to seek to preserve evidence and facts.

A birth injury attorney should consider serving parties that may be included in the case with a notice to preserve evidence as soon as possible after the birth. It’s also helpful to to interview witnesses before their memories fade or they relocate.

Birth Injury Case Standards of Evaluation

Birth Injury cases will ordinarily incorporate the use and presentation of evidence that is vastly unique to these specific type of cases. Given the nature of the sequence that a birth injury occurs by, the evidence sought by the plaintiff’s attorney will focus on the condition and symptom of the plaintiff both prior to, and after the injury. Despite the unique evidence that is often brought forth in birth injury cases, the case will often be examined and approached similar to other medical malpractice cases.

An example of the legal framework that may be employed in a birth injury case may be found in Washington v. Barnes Hospital, 897 S.W.2d 611 (Mo. 1995). In Washington, the plaintiffs sought damages and claimed that the defendant hospital and doctors that treated the plaintiff were negligent in failing to timely diagnose a placental abruption and timely perform a cesarean section. In addressing the standard and legal framework that would be applicable to the case, the Judge clearly stated what would constitute a “submissible case” of negligent birth injury:

“To make a submissible case in a medical malpractice action, plaintiffs must prove that defendants failed to use that degree of skill and learning ordinarily used under the same or similar circumstances by members of defendants’ profession and that their negligent act or acts caused plaintiffs’ injury. See Swope v. Printz, 468 S.W.2d 34, 39 (Mo. 1971); M.A.I. 21.01.”

— JUDGE WILLIAM RAY PRICE, WASHINGTON V. BARNES HOSPITAL, 897 S.W.2D 611 (MO. 1995)

Often in birth injury cases, as with any medical malpractice case, there is a great deal of emphasis placed on the applicable standard of care. Expert witnessed may be asked to testify in regard to this standard of care. The Washington Court also commented on this: 

"If a question exists as to whether the proffered opinion testimony of an expert is supported by a sufficient factual or scientific foundation, the question is one of admissibility. It must be raised by a timely objection or motion to strike."

Washington v. Barnes Hospital, 897 S.W.2d 611 (Mo. 1995)

Once opinion testimony has been admitted, as any other evidence, it may be relied upon for purposes of determining the submissibility of the case. 


CONTACT A MISSOURI BIRTH INJURY LAWYER

Birth injury cases are complicated and specialized, so it’s important to work with an experienced Missouri birth injury lawyer that knows how to investigate your claim and prepare a strong case. Contact Fletcher Law Office today at 816-631-2868 for a free consultation of your case.