Birth injury cases are medical malpractice and include fetal death, brachial plexus injuries, and cerebral palsy. All of these injuries can be caused by the negligence of a health care provider and range from early prenatal care though the birthing process. Some of these injuries, such as cerebral palsy are difficult to diagnose and assess due to the fact that the condition may not manifest itself fully and be detectable until the child is older.
Cerebral palsy is actually a condition with a group of disorders that affects an individual’s brain and the way they use their muscles. The condition can be difficult to discover early and even more difficult to determine its cause. It has been estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that cerebral palsy occurs in more than four for every 1,000 children. This makes it the most common motor disability during childhood.
There are many causes of cerebral palsy, but the most common is fetal asphyxia. Fetal asphyxia occurs when the fetus is deprived of an adequate supply of oxygen during gestation. During child birth, perinatal asphyxia (or birth asphyxia) results from an inadequate supply of oxygen just prior to, during, or just after the baby’s delivery. This form of asphyxia may result from the umbilical cord detaching prematurely during labor or delivery, the umbilical cord may fold over itself (known as “infarction”) cutting off the supply of oxygen, excessive cord compression during a difficult labor, or from the umbilical cord rupturing resulting in the vital blood supply from reaching the infant. Prolonged labor or breach or sideways orientation of the baby can also be contributing factors in these complications.
Even though it has been acknowledged by specialists in obstetrics, neurology, pediatrics, and pathology that asphyxia can cause cerebral palsy and other permanent neurological complications, they continue to occur because of health care providers’ failure to recognize when a fetus is in distress. Despite the knowledge that certain fetal heart rate patterns indicate clear signs that the infant is not well and needs to be rescued, clinicians still may fail to recognize these fetal heart rate patterns. These patterns indicate that the infant’s environment has become hostile and life threatening and immediate intervention is needed, including the possibility of a cesarean section.
Medical teams receive a significant amount of training in how to detect fetal asphyxia and have available to them the most advanced technology to do so. Most of the time during labor and delivery there are multiple staff members monitoring the fetal heart rate (an indicator of fetal distress) and have many hours of experience doing so. However, serious mistakes are still made by health care providers, such as incorrectly reading the fetal monitors or failing to take the appropriate steps of intervention.
The Hudson fetal asphyxia attorneys at Greenberg and Greenberg handle cases throughout New York State, including Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, and Albany County. Our legal team has earned a reputation for dedicated service to our clients injured in New York personal injury accidents. Please contact us today to receive a FREE case evaluation by dialing locally to 518-828-3336 or call toll free at 877-469-9300.