Birth Injuries and Prenatal Negligence
All expectant mothers want a safe and uncomplicated labor and delivery, but the reality is that birth injuries may occur. While some birth injuries are unavoidable, others are the result of medical negligence. Oftentimes this negligence takes place during labor and delivery, but sometimes it stems back to prenatal care.
Good prenatal care is vital to promoting safe labor and delivery. When prenatal negligence results in a birth injury, birth injury lawyers at the Tawwater Law Firm can assist families in Oklahoma City, OK, and surrounding areas in pursuing compensation for resulting damages.
The Importance of Prenatal Care
Prenatal care is a preventive healthcare measure. During the weeks of a woman’s pregnancy, both she and her baby should be routinely monitored and examined to keep track of how the pregnancy is progressing. If any complications develop, early intervention may be key to avoiding labor complications that can lead to birth injuries. The general recommended schedule of prenatal care is:
- Exams every four to six weeks during the first six to seven months of pregnancy
- Exams every two weeks between weeks 31 and 37 of the pregnancy
- Weekly exams starting at week 37 and going until birth
At each exam, the patient’s weight, blood pressure, and other vitals should be monitored. Additional exams and diagnostic tests should be performed throughout prenatal care to monitor for any signs of trouble that could harm the mother or child, or increase the risk of complications during labor or delivery.
Missed Diagnosis and Birth Injuries
Cases of prenatal negligence that result in a birth injury nearly always involve a missed diagnosis. Missed diagnosis can have a huge impact on how labor and delivery goes. Examples of missed diagnosis that can lead to a birth injury include:
- Maternal infections - During pregnancy a woman’s immune system is weakened, so she is more susceptible to infections. If not diagnosed and treated, certain infections can lead to brain injuries for the fetus.
- Gestational diabetes - Gestational diabetes is fairly common during pregnancy. With diagnosis, women can control blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy pregnancy. However, if the diagnosis is missed, the risk of birth complications and birth injuries increases.
- Fetal macrosomia - Fetal macrosomia refers to a baby who will weigh nine pounds or more at birth. Especially large babies are difficult to deliver vaginally, which increases the risk of a birth injury. Ideally, this condition should be diagnosed prior to labor so that a C-section can be scheduled.
- Placental abruption - Placental abruption describes situations in which the placenta separates from the uterus prematurely, or prior to delivery. Placental abruption can lead to oxygen deprivation for the fetus, which can lead to a number of birth injuries.
Potential Damages in a Birth Injury Case
Birth injuries can have widespread consequences. When a birth injury is the result of prenatal negligence, responsible medical providers should be held liable for the economic and non-economic losses that the injury causes. Potential areas of compensation for those of our Oklahoma City clients who file a birth injury claim include:
- Cost of past and future medical care
- Cost of anticipated therapy and/or rehabilitation
- Cost of necessary assistive devices and/or prescription medication
- Lost wages
- Loss of wage earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
If your child suffered a birth injury that could have been prevented by thorough prenatal care, you may be due substantial financial compensation for injury damages. To learn more about filing a birth injury claim, contact the Tawwater Law Firm online, or call our Oklahoma City practice at (405) 607-1400 and schedule a consultation.