Birth Injuries and Birth Trauma in Washington DC

Washington, D.C. Birth Trauma Attorneys

Respected birth injury lawyers serving Washington, D.C.

The birth of your child is a joyous occasion, and most parents want the same thing: 10 fingers, 10 toes and a healthy baby. When your child suffers a birth trauma caused by negligence, however, how you feel may take a backseat to two questions: Why did this happen? What can I do?

At Paulson & Nace, PLLC, we have helped families who are in the same position you are now. For more than 40 years, our team of medical malpractice attorneys has sought answers for families throughout the greater Washington, D.C. area after their children were injured at birth. We are your champions for justice and your advocates for your future. If your child has suffered catastrophic harm because of negligent healthcare, we want to help you protect your child and your family.

I have found the firm so far to be very compassionate and understanding, something that seems to be rare in companies these days, let alone in attorneys. Chris Nace offered to help us when no one else would. That goes a long way in my book.

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What causes birth trauma?

Not all birth injuries are caused by a mistake made during labor or delivery. Some injuries result from negligent behaviors while a mother is carrying a child and others happen during the postpartum period. Every year, thousands of children suffer birth traumas because doctors, nurses, surgeons, OB/GYNs and specialists have failed to perform at the standard level of care.

Actions of medical professionals that cause trauma and injuries to babies include:

  • Neglecting proper fetal monitoring, which can leave a baby in distress inside the womb
  • Poor communication between doctors and nurses that results in incorrect or omitted instructions
  • Failing to obtain informed consent so the mother understands procedures and associated risks, and can therefore accept or decline treatment
  • Misdiagnosing or failure to diagnose a medical condition that can worsen and cause permanent injury.
  • Prescribing incorrect medication or the wrong dosage, which causes an adverse reaction or trauma to a baby still in the womb.
  • Delay in performing interventions such as a cesarean section when a baby or mother is in distress

What are common birth injuries in Washington, D.C.?

While there are many ways a newborn can become injured or experience trauma in a medical setting, there are certain injuries seen more than others based on common situations medical professionals encounter on an everyday basis in maternity wards.

Paulson & Nace has the skills and the experience to help you when your child has suffered:

  • Bleeding in/swelling of the brain. Fetal head trauma caused by CPD or induction of labor may cause your child’s brain to swell. Without immediate diagnosis and treatment, your child risks permanent brain damage and developmental delays.
  • Brachial plexus injuries. If your child’s descent into the birth canal is arrested, the doctor must decide whether to perform an emergency C-section or to try to guide the child out manually. Excessive force can injure the nerves in your child’s neck, shoulder, and arm, leading to a brachial plexus injury such as Erb’s palsy or Klumpke’s palsy.
  • Cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy affects the brain and is the most common birth-related disability. It may take longer for the symptoms to manifest, and there is no cure.
  • Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, or HIE. HIE is oxygen deprivation, and it can be fatal. It occurs when a fetus is unable to get the proper amount of oxygen during the birthing process. Doctors who fail to monitor your child for signs of fetal distress put the baby at great risk of permanent brain damage. Brain injuries caused by decreased blood flow to the brain are cerebral ischemic injuries and may also lead to permanent brain damage or death.
  • Kernicterus. This is a form of brain damage that occurs in children with severe jaundice. If a doctor does not diagnose and treat the jaundice quickly, the excessive amount of bilirubin in the child’s bloodstream could develop into kernicterus.
  • Stillbirth. There is no greater tragedy than the death of your child. A stillbirth can result from poor medical attention and care while a mother is pregnant or during the labor and delivery process.

Poor maternal care can lead to birth injuries and trauma

In 2018, USA Today published a comprehensive report about the rising materenal death and injury rates in America. Per their findings, the U.S. had the highest death and injury rates in the developed world, and Washington, D.C. had some of the worst numbers. This report echoed data supplied by the Institute of World Health Metrics and Evaluation in 2017. Both reports listed racial disparities as a leading cause of maternal injury and death, as Black mothers die at three to four times the rate of White mothers, and the USA Today article reportted that poor maternal care – specifically regarding the diagnosis and treatment of preeclampsia – was a leading cause of injury and death.

Further, we are experiencing a growing shortage of OB/GYN practitioners across the United States, which is only going to get worse. This is straining the system that expectant mothers and their babies rely on to make sure they get through their pregnancies and deliveries in a safe and healthy manner. Because doctors are spread too thin between seeing new patients, managing care for existing patients, and being available for mothers who go into labor at a moment’s notice, a dangerous medical standard used to help more with time management is putting babies at risk for unnecessary birth injuries and trauma.


What happens if a woman does not push during labor?

As a rule, if a doctor is not present while a mother has entered the end stages of labor, she is essentially being commanded not to push until a doctor arrives. Fighting this natural urge and actively trying to hold a baby in not only causes extreme pain for mothers but can cause:

  • Maternal hemorrhage and tearing
  • Increased maternal and neonatal morbidity
  • Damage to the pelvic floor muscles, which can become a permanent injury

Increased duration of labor can cause newborns to experience:

  • Neonatal sepsis, which is an infection that has the capacity to cause organ failure
  • Lower Apgar scores, which means your baby is having trouble adjusting to the environment outside the womb and requires critical medical attention
  • Oxygen deprivation, which can lead to injuries such as cerebral palsy

At Paulson & Nace, we understand that you are going through perhaps the most difficult time of your life. It is a natural response for a family to pull into itself and grieve. We want you to know that you do have options to help your child after he or she has suffered a birth trauma. Washington, D.C. has statutes of limitations in these kinds of maternal injury and birth injury cases, and even though all you may want to do is focus on your family, it is very important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible after the event to determine what help your family may be given. We offer you a safe space to tell your story to a team who is also a family.

Discover how we can help when your child suffers a birth injury

The experienced trial attorneys of Paulson & Nace, PLLC, have spent over 40 years protecting new parents in the greater Washington, D.C. metro. If you are the victim of a birth injury or birth trauma, we may be able to help you obtain the assistance and compensation you need to provide the quality care your child needs. Schedule your free case evaluation in our Washington, D.C. or Charleston, WV office by calling 202-463-1999 or by reaching out to us through our contact page.