If your family has been impacted by a birth injury, you know just how physically and psychologically traumatic they can be. If your baby was the one injured during childbirth, they can suffer long-term and even lifelong developmental effects that cost thousands of dollars to treat. You shouldn’t have to pay these costs out of pocket. The party responsible for the injury must be held accountable and a Houston birth injury lawyer can help.
Steinger, Greene & Feiner is the birth injury law firm Houston residents trust to achieve the results they want. We don’t stop until justice and fair compensation have been achieved. Contact us today to get started with a free case evaluation.
What You Need to Know About Birth Injuries
Differentiating Between Birth Injuries and Birth Defects
Although the terms are similar, birth injuries and birth defects are two entirely different things. Let’s take a look at some of the key differences between the two.
Birth injuries include any kind of trauma suffered before, during, or after childbirth. They can affect the mother, her baby, or both. Birth injuries are entirely preventable. If a birth injury occurs due to the carelessness or recklessness of a medical professional or entity, the family affected can file a lawsuit seeking compensation.
Birth defects include any kind of physical or chemical flaw in a baby that’s either genetic or caused by an external factor. While birth defects develop in utero, they might not be discovered until after the baby is born. Unlike birth injuries, birth defects only affect the baby—not the mother. Unless some form of negligence took place, which is unlikely, a family whose baby has a birth defect cannot file a lawsuit against the medical professional or entity involved in the birthing process.
Common Causes of Birth Injuries
Childbirth is a complicated process that requires expert medical care. Unfortunately, a lot can go wrong if proper precautions aren’t taken to keep both mom and baby safe every step of the way. Making one wrong step can have lifelong consequences for a mother, her child, or both. Here are some of the most common mistakes made during childbirth that result in birth injuries.
- Incorrect application of forceps or a vacuum extractor during delivery, leading to potential facial harm and the risk of nerve or muscle damage in the infant’s head and neck
- Failures in fetal monitoring, such as the inability to detect dangerously low oxygen levels that may result in Cerebral Palsy in the newborn
- Abnormal birth presentation or position, such as a breech or shoulder-first delivery
- Inaccurate diagnosis of a large birth weight, which—if not properly identified—could pose various challenges during delivery
- Complications like umbilical cord prolapse or strangulation, contributing to hypoxia or other oxygen-related issues
- Lack of progress or an unusually prolonged delivery process
- Errors in administering Pitocin (a labor-induction medication)
- Opting for vaginal delivery in cases where a C-section is more suitable for mothers with a small pelvis
- Failure to detect a maternal infection, such as Group B Streptococcus
- Failure to transfer a newborn with injuries to a specialized neonatal care unit or seek the expertise of a specialist when necessary
- Prescription of harmful medication to pregnant mothers with knowledge of their pregnancy
- Inappropriate use of medical equipment or pharmaceuticals
If a medical professional made any of the mistakes described above that resulted in you or your child getting injured, you’re entitled to financial compensation. Don’t hesitate to contact Steinger, Greene & Feiner to start the process of filing a lawsuit against the negligent party.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
Medical negligence during the childbirth process can cause various types of birth injuries. Below are some of the most common ones for both moms and babies.
Perineal tears occur when the tissue between the vagina and anus (perineum) tears during childbirth.
The severity can range from minor to extensive, potentially affecting the muscles and nerves in the perineal area.
Treatment may involve sutures for repair, pain management, and postpartum care, including pelvic floor exercises.
Uterine rupture is a tear in the uterine wall, often associated with a previous C-section scar.
This serious complication can lead to excessive and even life-threatening bleeding for the mother.
Emergency surgical intervention is required to repair the uterine rupture, and a C-section may be performed.
Excessive bleeding after childbirth caused by the uterus’ inability to contract properly.
Can lead to severe blood loss, causing weakness, dizziness, and shock.
Immediate medical attention is crucial. Treatment may involve medication, uterine massage, or surgical procedures to control bleeding.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, or rectum) descend into the vaginal canal.
Symptoms may include a feeling of pressure, discomfort, or urinary and bowel issues.
For minor cases of organ prolapse, pelvic floor exercises are an effective treatment. For more severe cases, a surgical procedure may be necessary.
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-related condition involving high blood pressure and organ damage. It typically occurs after 20 weeks of gestation.
Can lead to complications such as seizures (eclampsia) and affect multiple organ systems.
Management involves blood pressure control and close monitoring. In more severe cases, the baby might need to be delivered early.
Cerebral palsy is caused by a disruption of oxygen supply to the baby’s brain for several minutes or more during birth. It can manifest when specific conditions impede normal blood flow to the brain, leading to a state of fetal distress during labor and/or delivery. Weakened muscles, muscle spasms, and challenges in motor skill development characterize this condition.
The long-term consequences of cerebral palsy encompass persistent muscle weakness, spasms, and difficulties in motor skill acquisition, impacting the individual’s overall physical abilities throughout their life.
Brachial Plexus Injuries (Erb’s Palsy)
What It Is
Erb’s Palsy results from damage to the cluster of nerves originating from the upper spine and extending through the neck, shoulder, arm, and hand. The brachial plexus is the nerve network transmitting signals from the spine to these regions. During the birthing process, these nerves may experience compression, stretching, or tearing as the baby passes through the birth canal. While this injury can potentially heal over time, instances exist where proper healing does not occur. In severe cases, where the nerves are entirely severed from the spine, the infant may be left paralyzed.
Treatment options for Erb’s Palsy include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and surgical intervention to repair damaged nerves.
A fractured clavicle (collarbone) is a common occurrence during birth, typically resulting from the physical stress of passage through the birth canal.
How They Occur During Birth
Bone fractures during birth can happen when there is excessive force or pressure applied to the infant’s fragile bones during the delivery process.
While a fractured clavicle is often treatable and heals well with proper care, it may cause temporary discomfort for the newborn. However, timely diagnosis and appropriate medical attention can contribute to a full and uneventful recovery.
Consequences and Potential Long-Term Effects
Oxygen deprivation during birth can lead to severe consequences, including cerebral palsy. Other potential injuries may arise, impacting the infant’s overall health and well-being.
Examples of additional birth injuries include facial damage, nerve or muscle damage in the head and neck, abnormal birth presentation or position, large birth weight complications, umbilical cord issues, prolonged delivery, medication-related errors, and improper use of medical equipment or pharmaceuticals. Each of these injuries may have distinct causes and implications, underscoring the importance of proper medical care and intervention during the birthing process.
If you or your child sustained any of the injuries described above—which you suspect were caused by medical malpractice—let Steinger, Greene & Feiner fight for your rights and secure the compensation you deserve. Contact our team today to start the process of establishing fault and filing a lawsuit.
Signs and Symptoms of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries present themselves in different ways immediately after and well after birth. Here are some common signs and symptoms to be aware of.
Immediate Signs Post-birth
- Lack of muscle tone
- Marks or bruises
- Inability to breathe on their own
- Limp or unmoving limb
- CPR was administered or a breathing tube was inserted
- Seizure development within 48 hours of the birth
Long-Term Symptoms to Watch Out For
- Chronic pain
- Motor skill deficits
- Cognitive impairment
- Neurological disorders
- Limited mobility
- Emotional and behavioral issues
- Bowel or bladder dysfunction
- Developmental delays
- Speech and language difficulties
- Sensory impairments
The Importance of Early Detection and Intervention
When it comes to birth injuries, early detection and intervention are essential. The earlier a birth injury is detected, the sooner the mother or child can receive the necessary treatment. This minimizes potential long-term effects on both the mother and her newborn.
Early detection enables healthcare professionals to implement targeted treatment plans, reducing the severity of complications and improving overall outcomes. It also facilitates the initiation of rehabilitation or therapeutic measures at a stage when they’re most effective, promoting better physical and developmental outcomes.
Early intervention also improves the emotional well-being of the family, providing them with support and resources to cope with the challenges associated with a birth injury.
Medical Malpractice and Birth Injuries
Medical Negligence and Its Role in Birth Injuries
If a medical professional or entity acted negligently, causing a birth injury, the family can file a lawsuit against them seeking financial compensation. Medical negligence and medical malpractice go hand in hand. If an individual or entity acts negligently, they have most likely committed medical malpractice. It all comes down to the standard of care.
A medical professional’s standard of care refers to the expected level of skill, knowledge, and diligence that a reasonably competent physician in the same medical field would provide under similar circumstances, aiming to ensure the best possible care for a patient. It serves as a benchmark to evaluate whether a healthcare professional has met the accepted standards in delivering medical treatment and making clinical decisions.
How Duty of Care Plays a Role
Obstetricians, midwives, nurses, and other medical professionals involved in the birthing process are responsible for the safety and well-being of their patients, which are both the mother and her baby. They must identify potential risks and monitor for signs of distress throughout childbirth, providing medical intervention when necessary. If a medical professional fails to intervene in response to an issue they did know or should have reasonably known about, they can be held liable for any injuries that occur.
These are the four elements required to establish negligence.
- Duty: The medical professional owed a duty of care to the mother and her baby
- Breach: The medical professional breached their duty of care
- Causation: This breach caused the patient’s injuries
- Damages: The patient suffered some form of identifiable harm as a result of their injuries
Legal Rights and Compensation
The Legal Rights of Families Affected by Birth Injuries
Families affected by birth injuries have the right to pursue legal action against the responsible party if medical negligence or malpractice causes the injuries. They can seek financial compensation for all expenses directly related to the negligence or malpractice, holding healthcare providers accountable for providing substandard care during childbirth.
No amount of money can undo the harm that has already been done. However, financial compensation can help cover the costs your family incurred as a result of the birth injury. These are the two types of damages you can seek: economic and non-economic.
These are monetary damages like:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitative and ongoing medical care
- At-home care
- Specialized equipment (wheelchair, wheelchair ramps, communication technology, etc.)
- Reduced potential earnings
These are incalculable damages such as:
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Reduced quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Inability to perform routine tasks
- Limited educational and job opportunities
How to File a Lawsuit and What to Expect
Here are the steps you should take if you plan to file a lawsuit against the individual or entity that caused the birth injury of you or your child.
- Consult a Houston birth injury lawyer: The attorney will evaluate the case, gather medical records, and consult experts to determine if a valid claim exists. If proceeding, the birth injury attorney will file the lawsuit on behalf of the family.
- Negotiate a settlement: Your attorney will first attempt to reach a fair settlement with the insurance companies of both parties. If a settlement can’t be reached, your attorney will take the case to court.
- Take the case to trial: Your Houston birth injury lawyer will present your case in court, including key evidence, to secure maximum compensation on your behalf.
Feel free to reach out if you have any additional questions about how to file a lawsuit or what to expect from the process. We’re here to support you and put your mind at ease.
Why Choose a Houston Birth Injury Lawyer?
The Importance of Local Expertise in Understanding Houston’s Legal Landscape
Navigating the legal landscape of birth injuries in Houston demands an in-depth understanding of the city’s laws and regulations. We know Houston’s legal framework surrounding birth injuries, ensuring families like yours receive proper guidance throughout the legal process. Our local expertise enables us to provide tailored advice from start to finish. You can trust Steinger, Greene & Feiner to navigate the complexities of birth injury cases and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Benefits of Hiring a Specialized Birth Injury Lawyer
Choosing a specialized birth injury lawyer can make all the difference when navigating the complex legal landscape surrounding these cases. While there are many reasons to hire a Houston birth injury lawyer, two benefits stand above the rest.
Track Record of Success
Our Houston lawyers not only have experience handling birth injury cases. They have experience winning these cases on behalf of families who have suffered immense harm at the hands of medical providers. We anticipate what challenges may arise so we can respond accordingly.
We fight back against insurance companies and opposing legal counsel who may try to minimize your compensation. We’ll do whatever it takes to secure maximum compensation on your behalf to cover all past, current, and future expenses.
Hear From Satisfied Clients
“From beginning to end, my attorney Alison Davis was so attentive and on top of every detail of the process. It isn’t something that you can do on your own, making Steinger, Greene, and Feiner a great option. I hope I don’t need to, but I would definitely use them again. Very happy with my settlement, and as they say, I love my attorney!” – Ross Lappin
“They have been professional, courteous, and right on time. I am very satisfied. I’m in so much pain and they have been comforting and reassuring. There are not enough stars. Five is not enough.” -Isaiah Wilson
“This is one of the best attorneys I have ever used. They take care of you. They kept me informed on what they were doing and how they did it. To all who are looking for a good attorney, this is the one to use. He will be my attorney whenever I need him.” -Rodney Shuemake
Consult with a Houston Birth Injury Lawyer Today
Don’t wait to get the financial compensation you deserve. Contact Steinger, Greene & Feiner today to get one step closer to justice. The first thing we’ll do is perform a case evaluation to get to know you and your case better. Don’t worry about paying for this evaluation—it’s free of charge. We also work on a contingency fee basis so you don’t have to pay until we win your case. Contact us today to start the process.