Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, L.L.P.

Queens Birth Injury

It is a very tragic moment in a new parent’s life when they receive news that their newborn child has suffered a severe birth injury; even more so when the tragedy is the result of a doctor’s negligence. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, our Queens Birth injury lawyers understand the emotional, economic, and physical impact of a birth injury on a family. Our experienced attorneys have been helping families who have been forced to deal with birth injuries for over 50 years. Over that time, we’ve recovered numerous large verdicts and settlements to help families deal with the emotional and economic strain caused by a birth injury. For instance, we recovered $9.6 million in a birth injury case where the pregnant mother developed gestational diabetes, which increased the size of her unborn child. In this case, the doctors neglected to account for the baby’s increase in size. Thisled to the mother experiencing immense strain during labor. Unfortunately the physicians did not conduct a cesarean section in a timely manner, which resulted in the baby being born deaf, blind, and severely brain damaged. Our attorneys worked closely with the distraught parents and were able to alleviate some of the economic strain that they will encounter as their child grows older. We believe that all parents, whose infant has endured a birth injury due to medical malpractice, should be properly compensated for their future hardships. If your child has suffered an injury before, during, or after birth, and you suspect that it was due to your physician’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call us at 212.406.1700 or contact us online. Our attorneys will review your claim and determine whether you might have a meritorious lawsuit.

Birth Injuries That May Have Been Caused by Medical Malpractice

The following includes some of the birth injuries that may have been caused by a physician’s negligence:

Brain Damage: There are several causes of brain damage in an infant that may be the result of medical malpractice. These injuries include the improper use of forceps and a vacuum, a delay in the order of a C-section or the failure to monitor the infant’s oxygen levels.

Hypoxia: Hypoxia occurs when the fetus’s intake of oxygen is obstructed. Hypoxia often occurs when the umbilical cord wraps around the baby and effectively suffocates them. Additionally, it can be caused by an infection or damage to the placenta. Doctors, however, are specially trained to detect early signs of hypoxia and take the necessary steps to minimize additional potential damage to the baby. In the event that a doctor fails to detect hypoxia in a timely manner and their negligence leads to a birth injury, the parents of the injured child may be entitled to compensation.

Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral Palsy covers different neurological disorders that effect muscle coordination and movement that is controlled by the brain. A common cause of Cerebral Palsy is hypoxia or fetal distress during child birth. The initial signs that indicate possible cerebral palsy in newborns include but are not limited to the following:

  • Unresponsiveness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Seizures
  • If the baby is born with a bluish skin tone
  • Paralysis
  • Poor muscle control Four Types of Cerebral Palsy
The Four Types of Cerebral Palsy are
  1. Spastic Cerebral Palsy: This type causes muscles to get very stiff which causes their movements to seem erratic. This is the most common form of cerebral palsy. It occurs when a baby’s motor cortex is damaged before, during or after child birth. The motor cortex is essentially the supreme command center for the control of body movements. Spastic Cerebral Palsy can negatively affect all everyday activities and even speech. A long-term effect that the child may experience is a stunt in necessary bone growth because of the inability to flex muscle fibers, which results in a smaller muscular anatomy. This also prevents joints from properly developing, which may prevent a normal full range of movement. In addition, shortened and contracted muscles may lead to bone deformities such as scoliosis and hip dislocation. Immense pain is also a common attribute to this illness.
  2. Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy: This type of cerebral palsy occurs when the newborn’s basal ganglia, which is responsible for sending neurological messages between the movement center and the spinal cord, is damaged. A person suffering from this illness has little control of their movements, and will begin to make continuous and involuntary writhing motions, especially when attempting to move. It can affect any extremity including facial muscles and the tongue.
  3. Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: Ataxic cerebral palsy affects balance and coordination, and is considered as very rare. Quick or precise movements become a big problem. A person suffering from this illness may experience tremors when attempting to move, like reach for a glass of water. It results from damage to a newborn’s cerebellum, which is the part of the brain that is responsible for balance and coordination. It can affect any part of the body.
  4. Mixed Type Cerebral Palsy: There are cases where a child may develop a combination of multiple types of cerebral palsy.
  5. Erb’s Palsy: Erb’s Palsy is a condition that is usually caused from damaged nerves that are adjacent to the shoulders of a newborn. When these nerves are damaged, it can restrict your child’s movement of their hands and arms. It can lead to weakness or permanent paralysis. Erb’s Palsy often occurs when a doctor uses excessive pressure in order to dislodge the infant’s trapped shoulder, also known as a shoulder dystocia. Improper use of a vacuum or misusing forceps in order to hasten the delivery process can also cause nerve damage. In cases when a child is too large to travel through the birth canal and instead of a C-section, the doctor decides to pull on the head of the newborn; it may cause permanent nerve damage in the neck and shoulders, which causes Erb’s Palsy.
Some Causes of Birth Injuries

There are certain procedures that can cause birth injuries if they are neglected or done incorrectly by the medical professional that is attending to your newborn. Some of these procedures include but are not limited to the following:

  • Incorrect Use of Forceps: Doctors use forceps and a vacuum if the mother is experiencing difficulty during labor, and these tools help the baby travel through the birth canal more smoothly. They also reduce the risk for hypoxia or fetal distress which is linked to cerebral palsy and other birth defects. However, if not properly used these tools may cause significant nerve damage to the baby’s neck, chest, and other minor injuries to the head.
  • Delay in ordering a Cesarean section: Physicians that deliver babies are trained to specifically determine the correct time to order the C-section and prevent any major injuries for both the baby and the mother. However, there are instances when a physician acts negligently and fails to notice clear signs where a C-section is necessary in order to secure the safety of the baby and the mother. For example, an emergency C-section may be ordered by a competent doctor in the case of fetal distress. This occurs when the child’s heart rate drops due to the mother’s sudden decrease in blood pressure, bleeding from placental abruption, or other complications during child birth. In the event of uterine rupture, cord prolapse, and when the placenta covers the cervix, it is standard to perform an emergency C-section. If the medical professionals that were responsible for your baby’s delivery failed to act in any of these emergencies, you may have a meritorious birth injury lawsuit.
  • Improper Use of a Vacuum: When the baby is having trouble travelling down the birth canal, either from the size of the child or any other complication, the doctor may use a vacuum to help the child get through. The vacuum attaches to the child’s head or shoulders in order to give the doctor a better grip to ease the child further down the canal. However, in cases where the medical professional incorrectly places the vacuum or uses excessive force when pulling the child through the canal. This poor placement or excess force can cause shoulder dystocia, which leads to Erb’s Palsy.
Injuries to the Mother

Newborns aren’t the only individuals that suffer injuries during child birth. Mothers experience devastating injuries that can sometimes be fatal. The most common maternal injuries include but are not limited to the following:

  • Failure to prevent or end any excessive hemorrhaging.
  • Failure to diagnose or treat preeclampsia.
  • Failure to diagnose or treat maternal diabetes.
  • Failure to treat maternal infections, i.e. chicken pox, group B strep, rubella, syphilis, or UTI.
  • Tearing of the uterus, vagina, cervix, or rectum

In most cases, these complications can be properly treated and controlled. However, in cases where the medical professionals that have been appointed to deliver your child has acted negligently, and has caused injury to you or your newborn, then you may be entitled to compensation.

Medical Indemnity Fund

The Medical Indemnity Fund was established in 2011 and it provides a source of compensation for parents of an infant that suffered a birth-related neurological injury caused by medical negligence. This fund helps fund future health care costs of the injured child. The law states, "An injury to the brain or spinal cord of a live infant caused by the deprivation of oxygen or mechanical injury occurring in the course of labor, delivery or resuscitation or by other medical services provided or not provided during the delivery admission that rendered the infant with a permanent and substantial motor impairment or with a developmental disability”, may qualify for compensation. Our Queens birth injury lawyers have recovered compensation for their clients from the Medical Indemnity Fund on multiple occasions.

If your child was diagnosed with one of the aforementioned illnesses, please do not hesitate to contact our Queens birth injury lawyers, at 212.406.1700 or contact us online for a free consultation. We will discuss your options and determine whether you have a meritorious case.

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