The birth of a child is a joyful occasion for parents, but it can also be a time of great anxiety, particularly if complications arise during the pregnancy. While many birth injuries are caused during labor and delivery, some can occur before the baby is born.

If you believe you received negligent care from your prenatal care provider, you may be entitled to compensation for your child’s resulting injuries. The birth injury attorneys at Wagner Reese can review your medical records to determine if medical malpractice occurred and help you seek maximum compensation for you and your child.

What is a Birth Injury? 

A birth injury is any injury that occurs to an infant before, during, or shortly after delivery. These injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to more serious conditions such as cerebral palsy, brain damage, and nerve damage.

Birth injuries can be caused by several factors, including medical malpractice, improper use of medical equipment and/or prenatal drugs, and failure to monitor the baby’s vital signs during labor and delivery.

Can a Birth Injury Occur Before Birth?

Although many birth injuries happen during labor and delivery, they also occur before birth. Pre-birth injuries are caused by events that occur during the prenatal period when the mother is pregnant with her baby, typically lasting 38 to 40 weeks from conception.

For example, if a mother contracts an infection during pregnancy, it can affect the development of the fetus and may result in a medical condition like cerebral palsy. Similarly, prenatal exposure to some medications during pregnancy, like alprazolam (Xanax), can cause miscarriage or low birth weight.

If a medical provider’s negligence contributed to the baby suffering harm in-utero, it may be considered a birth injury.

How Does Medical Negligence During Pregnancy Cause Birth Injuries?

Medical malpractice occurs when a physician, hospital staff, or other healthcare provider fails to provide their patient with the accepted standard of care. In birth injury cases, medical negligence can occur when a provider fails to diagnose or treat a pregnant woman, injuring the baby.

Examples include:

  • Failure to Diagnose or Treat Medical Conditions: Negligence in diagnosing and treating medical conditions such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, infections, and pre-eclampsia can cause harm to the mother and the fetus.
  • Failure to Monitor Fetal Growth: A healthcare provider failing to monitor fetal growth adequately during pregnancy can lead to complications, including intrauterine growth restrictions (IUGRs). IUGRs can cause low birth weight, premature birth, and hypoxic brain injuries.
  • Medication Errors: Administration of the wrong medication, incorrect dosages, or the failure to recognize and address medication interactions can harm the fetus. For example, ACE inhibitors like lisinopril and benazepril can cause low birth weight, pre-term delivery, and poor lung development in unborn fetuses.
  • Failure to Perform Timely Interventions: If a healthcare provider fails to perform timely interventions such as emergency cesarean sections or inducing labor, it can lead to complications such as birth asphyxia, brain damage, or stillbirth.
  • Failure to Provide Adequate Nutrition: A healthcare provider failing to provide adequate nutritional advice and support can result in complications such as fetal malnutrition or low birth weight.
  • Failure to Recognize Warning Signs: If a healthcare provider does not recognize warning signs, such as abnormal fetal heart rate, prolonged labor, or fetal distress, it can lead to serious injury or death.

Compensation You Can Receive for a Birth Injury Claim

If your child has suffered a birth injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. You can receive economic and non-economic damages for medical malpractice and negligence cases in Indiana.

Economic damages include current and future medical expenses, such as neonatal intensive care, physical therapy, and medications. They also include the caregiver’s lost wages while recovering from a traumatic birth, and loss of future earning potential for the child if they are permanently disabled as a result of their injuries and will be unable to support themselves in adulthood.

You may also pursue non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, or physical disfigurement in birth injury cases.

To win a birth injury case in Indiana, you must prove that the injury was caused by medical malpractice or negligence. When proving medical malpractice in a birth injury case, it is necessary to establish that the medical professionals involved failed to provide the expected standard of care, which resulted in harm to the child.

This involves gathering medical records and expert testimony to show that the injury was preventable and that the healthcare provider’s actions or omissions fell below the standard of care.

Proving medical malpractice is complex and requires extensive legal knowledge. Work with an experienced birth injury attorney with Wagner Reese to help you navigate the legal system and hold negligent providers accountable.

Seek Legal Guidance from a Skilled Birth Injury Attorney

If you suspect your child was harmed before birth due to medical malpractice or negligence, contact Wagner Reese Injury Lawyers to schedule a consultation with experienced Indiana birth injury attorneys. Our team will work tirelessly to safeguard your rights and secure the compensation that you are entitled to.