It is not a pleasant topic, but parents in New York should understand that if their child sustains any kind of a birth injury due to the negligence of a doctor or any other healthcare provider, the family is entitled by law to fair and reasonable compensation. This is where a Rochester medical malpractice attorney can help.

Despite a number of stunning medical and technological advances, birth injuries are still happening far too frequently. It’s estimated that each year in the United States, 25,000 newborns are the victims of birth-related injuries.

BIRTH INJURIES: INEVITABLE OR PREVENTABLE?

Birth-related injuries are usually disabling and often permanent. Most birth injuries, however, would have been preventable with timely and proper medical intervention.

When birth injuries in the state of New York are caused by medical negligence, parents have the right to full compensation to cover the child’s medical treatment and related expenses.

Parents should understand that a medical malpractice action triggered by a child’s birth injury may target multiple parties who may have liability for the child’s injury.

WHO MAY BE SUED FOR A BIRTH INJURY?

Any party with liability – an obstetrician, a nurse, anesthesiologist, hospital, clinic, or drug company – may be targeted by a lawsuit.

Hospitals may be held liable “directly” for institutional negligence in some cases of medical malpractice. Hospitals may additionally be considered “vicariously” liable for employee negligence.

WHEN ARE HOSPITALS LIABLE FOR BIRTH INJURIES?

Hospitals must run full background checks on prospective employees.

Every license, every degree, and every certification must be confirmed. If a problem arises because a proper background check was not conducted, the hospital could be liable “directly” for hiring negligently.

Even physicians need to be checked when they are given hospital privileges. Hospitals must have sufficient personnel – nurses and others – to care properly for patients around the clock and every day of the year.

A hospital or health clinic may become liable “vicariously” for an employee’s negligence – if the employee’s negligent action occurred within the “course and scope” of his or her employment duties.

However, some obstetricians work at hospitals as contractors – not as employees – and while vicarious liability does not fall on the hospital in such cases, the hospital may in some cases be directly liable for granting privileges to an incompetent physician.

HOW WILL A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER HELP YOUR FAMILY?

If a birth-related injury happens in the Rochester area or anywhere in western New York, it is imperative for the parents to reach out to a medical malpractice attorney to scrutinize the records and details of the birth and the injury.

Parents must have sound legal advice as quickly as possible after a newborn child suffers any birth injury. Your attorney will explain your rights and discuss your options, which may include a medical negligence lawsuit.

After reviewing the particulars of the case, your attorney will determine which parties can be held liable and whether filing a lawsuit is your best path forward.

Many medical malpractice lawyers in New York offer a no-cost first legal consultation. It will not cost the parents of a birth-injured child anything to find out more about their rights, their options, and their legal standing.

WHEN ARE DRUG MANUFACTURERS LIABLE FOR BIRTH INJURIES?

Can pharmaceutical companies be held liable for birth injuries? If a doctor was apprised by the pharmaceutical company about the risks associated with a particular drug, the company probably cannot be held responsible for any injuries.

In these cases, liability falls directly on the physician.

Pharmaceutical companies are obligated to make sure that their products are reasonably safe when used as intended. The job of the doctor is to ensure that a particular prescription is appropriate and used as intended.

However, if a pharmaceutical company fails to apprise a doctor fully regarding about a medicine’s potential risk, and if a child (or any patient) is harmed because of that oversight, the drug company conceivably could be held liable.

But it’s the hospital’s delivery room staff – not a drug company or any other party – that is usually negligent and responsible for birth injuries such as Erb’s palsy, cerebral palsy, and brachial plexus injuries. All of these injuries are preventable.

PRECISELY WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF MOST BIRTH INJURIES?

The specific acts of negligence that usually cause Erb’s palsy, cerebral palsy, and brachial plexus injuries are:

1. excessively or improperly using forceps
2. failing to order a cesarean section
3. depriving the child of oxygen

Depriving the child of oxygen in the birth process may lead to hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
(HIE) which, when it isn’t fatal, can cause cerebral palsy and damage a child’s heart, lungs, and kidneys.

Delivery room staff must always be ready and able to handle any complication during a delivery. The failure to prevent a preventable birth injury may constitute medical malpractice.

WHEN IS IT IMPERATIVE FOR PARENTS TO HAVE LEGAL HELP?

Parents should understand, however, that not all birth-related injuries are caused by medical malpractice. That’s yet another reason parents must be advised by an experienced medical malpractice lawyer if they believe that their child has been injured in the birthing process.

In the state of New York, a malpractice lawsuit triggered by a birth injury incident will succeed only if the parents and their lawyer are able to prove that negligence was, in fact, a direct cause of the injury.

In western New York, a skilled medical malpractice attorney can help parents understand their rights and suggest the most prudent way to proceed – which may be a medical malpractice lawsuit.

WHAT IS A PARENT’S HIGHEST PRIORITY?

Your attorney will review the records and consult with experts to learn if – and exactly how – medical malpractice was, in fact, responsible for your newborn child’s birth injury.

In the most egregious birth injury cases, an injury may require life-long medical care. Families in these cases must have a medical malpractice lawyer who will aggressively advocate for the maximum available compensation amount.

Birth injuries are always tragic, and when these tragedies are preventable, your family deserves justice. If your child has suffered a preventable birth injury, get the legal help you need – immediately. Nothing is a higher priority than your child’s health and future.