Medical Malpractice: When Birth Injuries Lead to Paralysis

Birth injuries that cause paralysisNearly four million babies are born each year in the United States. While the majority of those births go off without a hitch, sadly more than 28,000 newborns—or approximately one in every 10,000—are diagnosed with a birth injury. While the effects of birth injuries vary dramatically by type and severity, paralysis is one of the most serious complications associated them.

Having your newborn diagnosed with paralysis can be confusing, frustrating, heartbreaking and infuriating, especially if the paralysis was caused by negligence on the part of the hospital or medical staff.

Fortunately, the birth injury legal professionals with the Accident and Injury Law Group are ready to help. If you're considering taking legal action for birth injury-related paralysis, here's what you need to know.

How Birth Injuries and Birth Defects Differ

Not all poor birth outcomes can be considered birth injuries, and the terms “birth injuries” and “birth defects” are not interchangeable. If your child was diagnosed with a birth injury or birth defect, it's particularly important to understand the difference between the two.

Birth defects, such as cleft lip or palate, heart defects, abnormal limbs, and neural tube defects are often the result of a problem that occurred in the womb during the child's development. These defects can have a number of causes, including genetic mutations, toxins, and medications.

Birth injuries, on the other hand, happen shortly before or during the birthing process. These injuries can be caused by something the hospital or medical team did—or didn't—do. For example, a member of the medical team may have administered a medication or used a delivery tool, such as forceps or a vacuum extractor, improperly; or failed to adequately monitor mother and baby for signs of distress.

Common Birth Injuries That Can Cause Paralysis

Paralysis in a newborn is often the result of complication during delivery, including oxygen deprivation, a prolonged birthing process, misuse of delivery tools, or a delayed C-section procedure.

Examples of birth injuries that can lead to paralysis include:

  • Cerebral palsy 
  • Erb's palsy
  • Facial paralysis
  • Klumpke's palsy
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Stroke

These conditions may cause both weakness and loss of feeling in affected newborns. In some cases, the paralysis may be only temporary; in others, it can last a lifetime.

Seeking Compensation for a Paralyzing Birth Injury

If your newborn was paralyzed due to a birth injury, you may be entitled to compensation for a wide range of damages, including all related medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, disability, and more. Determining who to name as a defendant in your personal injury lawsuit can be challenging: should you sue the hospital, your doctor, the nurses, an orderly...? If you're not sure, a skilled birth injury attorney can review your case and offer advice.

Unfortunately, collecting a financial recovery in a birth injuries case isn't as easy as simply proving that an injury occurred. You and your attorney must show the liable party's actions or inactions deviated from the accepted standard of care, and wouldn't have been the approach by a similarly-trained medical professional in a comparable situation.

After a paralysis diagnosis, most parents' attention is focused solely on the care of their child. However, waiting too long to take legal action can be disastrous. In Pennsylvania, parents have just two years to file a medical malpractice birth injury case.

Consult an Experienced Birth Injuries Attorney

Birth injury-related paralysis can last a lifetime, requiring expensive medical treatments, assistive equipment and devices, in-home or in-facility assistive care, special transportation, and daily health requirements. Often, these costs are more than a family can bear on its own.

If your child is paralyzed because of a birth injury, the attorneys with the Accident and Injury Law Group can help you understand your rights and explore options for restitution. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a complimentary initial consultation.