Counsel for West Virginians Affected by Labor and Delivery Negligence
Our family of West Virginia attorneys assists other families in complex birth injury cases
Seven injuries in every 1,000 births occur because of labor or delivery negligence. Both mothers and babies have suffered serious injuries: skull fractures, nerve and muscle damage, brain damage, perforated organs, strokes, seizures, infections, and even death. Sadly, some kinds of survivable damage to newborns, such as cerebral palsy, do not present for months or even years after delivery.
Paulson & Nace, PLLC, our family-owned and managed firm of West Virginia birth injury lawyers, knows how a birth injury can impact families emotionally and financially. If negligent care or treatment was the direct cause of your injury or your baby’s, we pursue your claim with both compassion and competence. Whether through negotiation or in the courts, we ensure the best protection of your family’s interests.
Common types of birth injury negligence and malpractice
Negligence by obstetricians, labor and delivery nurses, residents, and interns, can lead to severe fetal injury: brain damage, cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injury, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), and even maternal or fetal death. Sometimes a maternal injury or a fetal birth defect is the culmination of errors that occurred weeks or months before, such as failure to screen for maternal diabetes, hypertension, or infections such as Group B Strep, Hepatitis, and HIV, or prescribing a teratogenic drug. Such errors can doom a pregnancy to failure before labor even begins.
Some of the more common causes of birth injuries include:
- Lack of communication. Communication between different care providers is essential. For example, failure by a caregiver on an outgoing shift to update records and orders for his or her replacement may cause confusion, failure to administer medication, or other activity that can cause serious injury to the patient or newborn.
- Missing signs of fetal distress. Labor and delivery needs to be monitored closely. Electronic Fetal Monitoring (EFM) provides an accurate evaluation of fetal heart rate and maternal contractions and is the principal means of detecting fetal distress. Unless the caregiver responds promptly to sudden changes in fetal heart activity or a dangerous increase in maternal contractions, fetal brain damage can result. When signs of fetal distress are detected, the medical professional attending the patient may change the mother’s position or provide oxygen. But, if that fails to relieve fetal distress, a surgeon may have to perform a Caesarean (C-section). Failing to perform a C-section and delaying the delivery can cause fetal brain injury.
- Failure to administer or negligent administration of drugs. Healthcare providers are responsible for the proper and timely administration of medication. For example, administration of Pitocin to induce labor may lead to dangerous contraction patterns that require immediate action to prevent fetal damage. Some antibiotics that are useful in treating maternal infections, such as Group B Strep and Hepatitis, can induce anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction. Unless a complete list of maternal allergies has been recorded in the patient’s medical history, there is risk of adverse drug reactions.
- Negligent use of forceps. Instruments such as obstetrical forceps are sometimes used to help delivery by adjusting the baby’s position relative to the birth canal. Misuse of these instruments can cause severe injury to the baby, such as skull fracture and spinal cord or brain damage. They may also transfer infection to the mother and baby if improperly sterilized.
Many birth injuries are evident immediately after delivery but others, such as brain injuries, may not become apparent for months or even years. West Virginia has a statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims: two years from the date the injury occurred, or two years from the date it became (or should have become) apparent. For this reason, you should seek qualified legal counsel as soon as you become aware of a birth injury. Trust our family of experienced West Virginia birth injury lawyers to determine if your injury or your child’s could have been avoided, and whether you may be able to receive compensation for your loss.
We put the best interests of West Virginia families first
Paulson & Nace, PLLC, understands how birth injuries may affect a family for a lifetime. We offer the compassionate, personal, and professional attention you deserve. We have been widely recognized throughout West Virginia for our comprehensive legal services to families and our aggressive advocacy for birth injury victims. When you choose a birth injury lawyer from our practice to represent you, you are choosing a team that values family. Please call 304-741-8079 or fill out our contact form to tell us your story in a no-obligation consultation. Our office is located at 3501 Maccorkle Ave SE, Charleston, WV 25304.
We have dedicated our lives to helping medical malpractice victims. Let our family help yours.