When people think of medical malpractice, they often only think about the doctors involved and the level of human error that they display. However, there are plenty of occasions whereby medical malpractice is caused by defective medical products and devices. Sadly, these can cause significant injury to you and/or your child during birth which isn’t always reversible.
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What is Erb’s Palsy?
Erb’s palsy, also known as brachial plexus palsy, is a condition whereby your baby cannot use one or both of their arms, shoulders, or hands adequately. The condition presents through the affected limbs being weak, lacking feeling, or completely paralyzed. It is caused by the collection of nerves around your baby’s shoulder being damaged during a difficult delivery.
Unlike cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy results from direct damage to these nerves as opposed to damage to your child’s brain. Because this injury occurs around the time of birth, it is considered a birth injury.
In September 2017, a Superior Court jury issued a $3 million dollar verdict against a Dover OB-GYN who was accused of causing permanent nerve damage and paralysis to a newborn’s right arm by forcefully pulling the baby out by his head during delivery.
Though the incident happened in 2008, the baby’s mother did not file a medical malpractice lawsuit until 2014 in New Castle County Superior Court, Delaware. According to court documents, Peter Wong – the OB-GYN involved in the delivery – pulled too hard on the baby’s head and neck while trying to dislodge the baby’s stuck shoulder. Monica Broughton, the child’s mother, stated that Peter Wong did not disclose the risks associated with the procedure to her beforehand.
During the trial, Peter Wong argued that he had not been medically negligent and that the baby’s injuries were as a result of the maternal forces of labor.
Pregnancy and childbirth are two extremely complex medical conditions which require the care of experienced doctors. The reason for this is that there is much that can go wrong during pregnancy and childbirth, leading to birth injuries – some of which can be so severe that they are then classified as birth traumas.
What Is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral Palsy is a neurological condition which commonly presents through disordered movement, muscle tone, and posture. It is caused by damage affecting your child’s developing brain before and/or during birth – this is why it is considered a birth injury.
What separates cerebral palsy from other birth injuries is that its effect on functional abilities varies significantly. This means that the medical costs associated with the condition will also vary, and the emotional strain on you and your family will be affected as well. For example, some individuals with cerebral palsy may have an average intellectual capacity whereas other individuals may not.
Birth Injuries and Medical Malpractice
Before a medical malpractice case can be brought forward, an understanding of birth injury is required. Additionally, several criteria need to be met in order to classify as a birth injury. If these criteria cannot be met, then a case of medical malpractice cannot be made.
What Is Birth Injury?
A birth injury is a physical injury that your baby and/or the mother received before, during, or just after the birthing process
Statistically, not too many new parents in New York will have an infant with infantile epileptic encephalopathy (EIEE), an early childhood seizure disorder. But when children do have it, it can contribute to intellectual and developmental delays and issues with physical movements related to cognitive processing. Even when children with EIEE are on medication, frequent and debilitating seizures may still occur as much as 50 times a day. Researchers have now identified the genetic cause of this neurological disorder.
New York readers may be interested to learn that an anemia drug might help prevent brain injuries after a baby is deprived of oxygen during its birth according to a study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.
The most common injuries that newborns incur during delivery are fractures to their clavicle or collarbone. The risk for fracture is especially high during difficult deliveries and in cases where newborns incur birth trauma. Parents across New York will want to know more about clavicle fractures and how they can detect them.