Tampa Bay Birth Injury and Infant Death Attorney

Welcoming a new baby into the world is among life’s greatest joys for most couples. How exciting it is when those long months of anticipation draw near to an end and you prepare to add a new member to you family! But for some parents, that joy becomes heartbreak when their child is injured during the birth process. In some cases, it is something that just happened and is no one’s fault; but in about half the cases of birth injuries or deaths, the cause is medical error on the part of a doctor, nurse, or other hospital staff member. Knowing your child’s injury could have been prevented is doubly heartbreaking. Why should an innocent child have to suffer for the wrongdoing of someone who is supposed to be trained in the intricacies of assisting in childbirth?

Some Birth Injury Statistics

  • Birth injuries caused by medical negligence are far more common in the United States than they should be in any developed country affecting seven out of every 1000 children.
  • Almost 157,700 avoidable injuries to mothers and children occur in the U.S. every year during childbirth.
  • Vaginal births in which forceps of vacuum extraction are used are responsible for the highest rate of birth injury rates.
  • C-sections have a lower rate of injury, and when they occur, are most often associated with a “T” or “J” uterine incision.
  • Injuries are more likely to occur in a C-section performed after attempting a vaginal birth using forceps or vacuum extraction.

Recourse against Medical Personnel and Hospitals for Injured Babies

Florida law recognizes the injustice of a baby being injured through professional negligence and provides parents ability to demand money as compensation for a child’s injury when medical negligence is proven to be the cause, by bringing a civil court legal action for medical malpractice. The funds you win for your child can help you provide the best medical treatment and the best possible life for a child who wrongly suffered an injury at birth caused by medical incompetence or error. With a good personal injury lawyer at your side, you may be able to win enough money to provide your injured child with the means to achieve a meaningful and productive life, which might not be possible without the award.

Some Common Preventable Birth Injuries

Brachial Plexus Injuries (BPI)

are among the most common preventable birth injuries. BPI often occurs when a physician mishandles a delivery complicated by shoulder dystocia, in which the shoulder of the baby becomes stuck in the mother’s pelvis, requiring a special maneuver that should be well known to any medical professional who practices obstetrical medicine. A brachial plexus injury results from damage to the nerve bundle extending from the upper spine through the neck, into the shoulder, down through the arm, and into the hand. Stretching or tearing of these nerves can result in a condition called Erb’s Palsy, partial or full paralysis of the arm, which in some cases is permanent.

Fractured Bones:

Rough handling and excessive pulling and tugging of a baby during delivery can cause delicate bones to break. The collarbone, or clavicle, is the bone most frequently broken in childbirth. It can happen when an inexperienced or careless birth attendant attempts to deliver a baby presenting with shoulder dystocia or bungles an attempt to deliver the baby using forceps or some other obstetric tool.
Cephalohematoma: Cephalohematoma is a pooling of blood under the skull or the soft membrane at the top of the baby’s head where the skull bones have not fused. In some cases it indicates a type of skull fracture. Cephalohematoma comes with a risk of low blood pressure, anemia, jaundice, or an infection such as meningitis or osteomyelitis.

Caput Succedaneum:

This is a bruised, discolored, and swollen area on the baby’s scalp caused by too much pressure on the head. It can be prevented by a controlled delivery. It usually resolves on its own without permanent harm to the baby.

Asphyxia:

Asphyxia is insufficient oxygen to the baby. If it is not discovered and resolved quickly, it could led to brain damage, respiratory problems, shock, seizure, coma, or death. Asphyxia can be caused by the umbilical cord being compressed during the deliver. It is important to identify the position of the cord in time to take appropriate measures to get sufficient oxygen to the child and may require an emergency C-section.

Intracranial Hemorrhage or Subarachnoid Hemorrhage:

Bleeding in the skull, usually beneath the two subarachnoid layers of the brain’s covering, can create pressure on the brain, causing brain damage.

Paralysis of the Face:

Facial paralysis causing the loss of control over the muscles of the face can be caused by an incompetent forceps delivery. It becomes apparent when the baby cries.

Spinal Cord Injuries:

A spinal cord injury is a very serious type of birth injury that can occur during a rough delivery, especially one in which forceps are used, leaving the baby paralyzed or causing other neurologic problems.

Cerebral Palsy:

Cerebral palsy is one of the most common types of birth injury. It is a type of brain injury that can range from fairly mild to completely incapacitating. Cerebral palsy affects between two and three of every 1000 babies born in the U.S. and causes muscle spasms, weakness, poor motor control, and problems in developing motor skills. The damage, often a result of medical negligence, is permanent.
Jaundice and Kernicterus: It is fairly common for a baby to appear lightly jaundiced, as it takes the immature liver some time to clear bilirubin from the system, which gives the skin a yellowish cast. Jaundice is easily treated with phototherapy (light therapy), but if ignored by hospital personnel, it can lead to a condition called kernicterus, which can damage the baby’s brain.

Getting Legal Help for Your Birth-Injured Child in the Tampa Bay Area

If you live anywhere in West Central Florida, you owe it to your child to schedule a legal consultation with Tampa Bay birth injury attorney Stephen Maltezos. Steve is passionate about justice for the injured and the rights of children and their families who have been harmed by careless, incompetent, or otherwise negligent healthcare providers. Call the Maltezos Law Offices today and schedule your free consultation at either of Steve’s two offices, located in St.
Petersburg and Tampa. If possible, bring a copy of your child’s medical records. If it appears that medical negligence caused your child’s injury, as is the case in about half of all birth injuries, you may be able to get the funds your child needs and deserves to ensure the best available medical and rehabilitative care, along with compensation for losses to his or her quality of life because of the injury.

Time in which to file a medical malpractice case is strictly limited by Florida law, so don’t wait; make that call today to protect your child’s future. Delay could deny your child and your family your legal right to recover money for a birth injury. You will have no upfront expenses and will only pay legal costs when you or your child receives an award of money.