Home / Blog / What is an “Improper Obstetric Maneuver” and Did it Cause My Baby’s Birth Injury?

The birth of a child is often the happiest day of a parent’s life. However, when babies suffer birth injuries due to the negligent actions of a physician, families often experience emotional, physical, and financial hardship as a result.

Despite medical advancements and modern facilities, doctors and nurses make mistakes. When your doctor or healthcare team makes an error during your child’s birth, it can cause lifelong injury to you and your baby.

Read on to learn more about improper obstetric maneuvers that cause birth injuries and how the Indianapolis birth injury lawyers at Wagner Reese can help you seek compensation.

Types of Improper Obstetric Maneuvers

For most mothers, giving birth is difficult and painful. Depending on the baby’s position in the womb, doctors may need to perform various maneuvers to ensure a safe and healthy delivery. If the physician performs these maneuvers improperly, it can lead to a range of medical issues for both the mother and child.

Some of the potential medical problems for the child that might result include:

  • Birth asphyxia – a condition that deprives the baby of oxygen during delivery and can cause severe, irreversible brain damage
  • Cerebral palsy – caused by lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain and results in loss of normal motor skill development and muscle control
  • Cephalohematoma – a bruising that occurs between the outer layer of skin and the brain
  • Brachial plexus injuries – injuries that affect the arms, hands, and shoulders and can cause paralysis
  • Erb’s palsy – typically results in paralysis of the affected arm and requires surgery and rehabilitation
  • Shoulder dystocia – a condition in which an infant’s shoulders become stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone, causing severe complications like a lack of oxygen, nerve damage, and the possibility of speech impediments later in life
  • Vacuum extraction or forceps injuries – this equipment used to help deliver infants can cause severe bruises and broken bones.
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) – a condition that can deprive the baby of oxygen and cause serious health consequences

If your child has experienced delivery-related complications, speak to a lawyer about your options. These injuries can result in high medical bills, loss of work, and lifelong pain and disability for your child. A qualified birth injury lawyer at Wagner Reese can help you understand your rights and pursue compensation for your child’s injuries.

The Causes of Improper Obstetric Maneuvers

Medical technology and procedures have advanced rapidly over the last few decades, but healthcare professionals still make mistakes. Doctors and nurses work to mitigate many areas where human error could lead to injury, but when healthcare providers do not follow proper procedures, injuries can occur.

When treating different issues during delivery, doctors and nurses have procedures. For example, the medical team should follow the ALARMER procedure when a baby exhibits shoulder dystocia. This acronym stands for the steps they should take to diagnose the problem and treat it appropriately.

Similarly, if there is a problem in the baby’s position in the womb and a c-section is warranted, there is a set procedure the doctor should follow. Delaying to order a c-section or performing the procedure incorrectly can harm the baby, the mother, or both.

Doctors and nurses sometimes do not follow the protocol and injury results despite set procedures to follow. If this occurs, it is essential to seek legal advice to understand what sort of medical malpractice suit you may have.

Proving a Birth Injury

Medical malpractice lawsuits require proof of specific legal elements. First, you must prove that the healthcare professional owed you a duty of care. Then you must prove that their actions breached this duty. Finally, you must prove that the physician or hospital staff’s negligence directly caused the injury.

Medical malpractice requires proof that your doctor made an error in caring for you that other doctors would not have made. The legal term used is “reasonably skillful and careful.” You and your lawyer need to prove that your doctor’s actions were neither skillful nor careful for your case to proceed.

You must also prove that the medical staff’s negligence directly leads to your injury. If their negligence did not lead to your injury, the court might dismiss your case.

The legal rules around these cases are exact, so you must keep every document related to your injury and speak to a qualified birth injury lawyer. An attorney can help you compile all necessary evidence to prove your case.

Seeking Justice for Medical Malpractice

Your child’s birth should be joyful. But negligence by a delivery room doctor or nurse can turn your life upside down, leading to permanent injuries and a heavy financial burden. If you or your child experienced a birth injury, you have rights and may be eligible for compensation.

The birth injury lawyers at Wagner Reese can provide guidance and support through the legal process. Our attorneys understand the complexities of birth injury lawsuits and have fought for families in Indiana for more than two decades. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation to learn about your legal options.