Miami Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Helping Victims of Birth Injuries Throughout the State of Florida
Although the birth trauma rate in the U.S. has decreased to less than .02% in recent years, that still means that more than 7,000 newborns experience birth injuries each year. Some of these injuries are relatively minor, and some of them cannot be prevented. However, in too many instances, babies’ birth injuries are due to negligence on the part of the health care providers in charge of caring for the expectant mother and her baby.
Some of these preventable birth injuries can be very serious, with long-term adverse effects on the child’s development and the family’s well-being. In these cases, it is crucial to get the best possible health care as soon as possible. In addition, it is very important to get advice from an experienced birth injury attorney who will be able to understand your concerns, answer your questions about negligence and medical malpractice in Florida and advise you on the best course of action for you and your child.
If you believe your child has been injured by medical negligence before, during or immediately after birth, please contact the experienced Miami birth injury medical malpractice attorneys at Boyers Law Group. We have more than twenty-five years of experience helping people who have been injured by medical malpractice and want to help your family get all of your questions about what happened answered. We would be greatly honored to put our skill, knowledge and resources to work helping you get the justice you want and the substantial compensation you need and deserve to care for your child.
When Are Birth Injuries Considered Medical Malpractice in Florida?
Florida law defines medical negligence as health care providers’ breach of duty to provide care that meets the accepted professional standard of care owed to their patients. When healthcare providers are negligent and do not fulfill this duty and their negligence causes harm to a patient, they may be held liable for the harm they inflicted.
In other words, patients who have suffered injury due to medical negligence have the right to bring a medical malpractice claim against the negligent health care provider(s) for damages. These damages can be both economic, as in present and future medical expenses and lost income, and non-economic, as in pain, suffering, anguish and other damages recoverable under Florida law.
In the case of birth injuries, the parent or parents can take legal action against a negligent health care provider on their child’s behalf. Examples of negligence that can result in birth injury medical malpractice include:
- Monitoring during labor and delivery is not adequate.
Your baby’s vital signs should be monitored closely during labor and delivery so that problems such as a decreased heart rate or insufficient oxygen can be detected early and addressed immediately to prevent serious injury. If your doctor or another member of the labor and delivery team does not notice a problem or does not take the appropriate action to address the problem and your baby is injured as a result, they could be held liable for medical negligence.
- Doctors or nurses do not react to critical issues during labor and delivery in a timely manner.
If your baby was in distress during labor due to problems with the placenta, umbilical cord, a decreased heart rate or other problems, an emergency C–section might have been necessary. If the doctor, labor and delivery team or hospital caused a delay in ordering or administering the C-section delivery and, as a result, your child was injured, whoever caused the delay could be held liable for the injuries.
- Extraction methods are used improperly during delivery.
Although less common than it was ten or more years ago, doctors might still use forceps or a vacuum extractor to help deliver your baby if a natural vaginal delivery seems too difficult or impossible. When used properly, these tools can ensure a safe delivery and prevent oxygen deprivation for your baby. However, when used negligently, they can seriously injure your child.
- Post-delivery monitoring and care are inadequate.
After delivery, babies are very vulnerable and must be monitored carefully for any signs of respiratory distress or cardio-respiratory dysfunction. Babies must also be handled with great care to avoid injury. If health care providers in the hospital’s neonatal unit are negligent, your baby can be dropped and seriously injured. When negligence such as this occurs, the negligent health care providers should be held accountable for the suffering they cause.
- Cerebal Palsy – a group of disorders caused by damage to a baby’s brain. Typically, it affects motor skills, coordination, and nerve function, so a child with cerebral palsy might need intensive medical treatment and care throughout his/her life to help with physical and mental challenges. There are specific factors related to the health and delivery of the baby that can lead to this serious condition, but medical malpractice during labor and delivery can be the primary cause.
- Erb’s Palsy – a condition that occurs when there is stretching and damage to the the brachial plexus nerve bundle, which originates in the cervical spine area (neck) and supplies function and sensation in the shoulder and arm. This can happen during labor and delivery, particularly when a large infant’s shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pelvis or symphysis pubis. As a result of the injury, the baby may have partial or complete, permanent loss of function in the affected nerves. Symptoms include, numbness, loss of sensation and an inability to move the hand or arm, resulting in a weak or absent grip or a limp arm. When risk factors, such as the size and position of the baby, are not identified and properly addressed during labor and delivery, medical malpractice could be the cause of the Erb’s Palsy injury. A brachial plexus palsy injury can be extremely serious and disabling. There are, however, medical interventions, including nerve grafting surgery, that can sometimes dramatically improve the outcome for the injured child.
- Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) – a condition that results when an infant’s brain is damaged due to insufficient oxygen and blood. Because of the brain damage, the child may experience developmental delays, epilepsy, cognitive problems and motor skill development delays. In some cases, the oxygen deprivation could not have been foreseen, but in many cases, it could have been prevented had health care providers not been negligent, detected the oxygen deprivation and intervened to prevent brain damage.
- Injuries from Vacuum or Forceps Used Incorrectly during Delivery – Injuries that can occur when a doctor or other health care provider uses forceps or a vacuum incorrectly to get an infant through the birth canal. Since a baby’s skull bones are not fully fused together, the head is extremely delicate and fragile, and severe injury, such as skull fractures, facial nerve damage, and brain damage can occur if the health care professional is negligent when using extraction tools.
- Shoulder Dystocia – A condition that occurs when a baby’s shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone. If the doctor or other health care provider does not address the problem in a timely manner, the baby can suffer from oxygen deprivation, neurological injury and orthopedic injury, including an Erb’s palsy (see above). If the doctor or other health care provider pulls too hard on the baby’s head and neck, nerves in the neck and shoulder area can be damaged. Having a large or macrosomic infant is a risk factor for shoulder dystocia and, under certain circumstances, the standard of care should prompt the obstetrician to perform a C section.
- Rehabilitation and care costs
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Past and future medical expenses
- Your lost income
- Other damages recoverable under Florida law
What Kinds of Serious Birth Injuries Occur Because of Medical Malpractice?
Various types of serious injuries can occur because of medical negligence and malpractice during the labor and delivery process. Among these are:
What Compensation Is Available for Families Affected by Florida Birth Injury Medical Malpractice?
If your child was injured by medical malpractice during labor and delivery, the birth injury attorneys of Boyers Law Group can help you get justice and the financial compensation you need. A Florida medical malpractice claim can hold the negligent doctor or other health care providers accountable for their actions and give you the financial compensation you need to provide quality care for your child.
If your child suffered a preventable birth injury, you may be able to obtain substantial compensation for damages with a medical malpractice lawsuit. These damages may include:
The cost of caring for a catastrophically injured child and the total amount of these damages can be very substantial.
Florida’s Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association Law
The NICA statute converts certain birth related malpractice cases into a no-fault system that takes away the obligation to prove all the elements of a medical malpractice claim but caps damages at $250,000 for disabling injuries and $50,000 for death (these caps were only recently increased from $100,000 and $10,000, respectively). These sums of money are woefully inadequate in these horrific cases.
It takes a highly trained and knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney to determine whether NICA applies and, when it is believed that it should not, to fight the often long battle to prove a family’s entitled to full compensation. Among other requirements, the injury must (1) be a neurological injury, (2) have occurred during birth, (3) be due to oxygen deprivation or mechanical injury, (4) be a substantial mental and physical impairment, and (5) the infant must be born alive, (6) the birth and alleged injury must have occurred in a hospital. There are other requirements as well.
In sum, medical malpractice lawsuits to recover damages for birth injuries in Florida can be very complicated and involved. Demonstrating that health care professionals breached the accepted professional standard of care during the labor and delivery process, that the breach seriously injured your child, and that the law allows for full compensation, requires a thorough investigation and understanding of all the facts and law of the case, as well as top quality expert testimony and the help of a highly skilled litigator.
Boyers Law Group medical malpractice attorneys have the skill, knowledge and resources necessary to help you obtain the substantial compensation you need. Please contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation on your case. The statute of limitations is not flexible, and you do not want to miss the opportunity to recover compensatory damages from the health care providers responsible for your child’s injury.
Experienced Miami Birth Injury Malpractice Attorneys Want to Help You
The birth injury medical malpractice attorneys at Boyers Law Group have over twenty-five years of experience helping clients in Miami and throughout Florida take legal action to hold negligent doctors and other health care providers accountable and receive the full, fair compensation they deserve for the damages they have suffered. We have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and jury awards for our clients and would be honored to put our experience, skill and resources to work helping you.
We know that if you come to us for help, you have suffered terribly and deserve justice and all the compensation the law will allow. We are committed to fighting vigorously to hold the health care providers that caused your child’s injury accountable for their negligence and to obtaining the substantial compensation you deserve.
Please call us at 305-512-7600 or submit the “Tell Us What Happened” form on our website for a free consultation with an experienced Miami birth injury medical malpractice attorney. We are here to listen, advise and help you take effective legal action to obtain justice and the substantial compensation your child deserves. Our legal services are free to you until you get your settlement or award.