child with birth injury

14 Oct Top Causes of Birth Injuries in Malpractice Cases

Today, we will go over an extremely important topic — birth injury. Specifically, the cases in which birth injury can become medical malpractice.

If you’re an expecting mother, father, or simply a family member, you should be familiar with this topic. It’s important to know your rights in the emergency room and your child’s rights throughout the birthing process.

If you believe that you or someone you love experienced a birth injury as a result of medical malpractice, don’t hesitate to reach out for a legal consultation. Birth injuries can result in life-altering physical and mental conditions for the child. The parent as well, can sustain injury or face emotional distress due to their child’s injury.

Keep in mind that some birth injuries are for life. This means that there will be medical bills and rehabilitation costs for many years to come. 

Keep reading to learn more about the top causes of birth injuries in malpractice cases.

Birth Injury

First, let’s start with some basics. What is birth injury?

Birth injury is a physical injury that occurs during or just after the birthing process.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

According to the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA), medical malpractice is when “a hospital, doctor or other health care professional, through a negligent act or omission, causes an injury to a patient.

Medical malpractice can take a lot of forms. Here are some common examples:

  • Misreading or ignoring lab results.
  • Surgical errors (ex, performing on the wrong site or leaving an object inside).
  • Incorrect medication or dosage.
  • Anesthesia errors.


Do keep in mind, however, that not all cases of birth injury are medical malpractice. Some injuries are simply unavoidable accidents.

Here are some of the basic elements of most medical malpractice cases:

A Doctor-Patient Relationship Existed

Was there a doctor-patient relationship? This is usually fairly straightforward – i.e., did you hire the doctor? Did they agree to treat you? Did you pay the doctor for their services?

If you’re not quite sure whether there was a legitimate doctor-patient relationship, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a lawyer.

The Doctor Was Negligent

Did the physician’s care meet the standard of care, or did it fall short? Would another competent doctor have made the same decision in this situation? These are some questions to ask yourself when considering whether or not your doctor was negligent.

The Doctor’s Negligence Caused The Injury

This question might seem a bit obvious—but did your doctor cause the injury?

The Injury Led To Specific Damages

Are there specific damages associated with the malpractice? For example, consider things such as physical injuries, emotional pain & suffering, and resulting medical bills.

If you have any doubts or questions about your case, don’t hesitate to seek out an attorney. A lawyer that specializes in medical malpractice and birth injuries will be able to give you advice regarding your case and possible next steps.

Types Of Birth Injuries

  • Brain Damage
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Skull Fracture
  • Internal Bleeding

And more…

Causes Of Birth Injuries In Medical Malpractice Cases

Birth injuries are a terrible occurrence and should be prevented whenever possible. Having said that, thousands of injuries occur during birth each year. Many of these might be considered medical negligence, depending on the circumstances.

Here are some examples:

  • Failure to act quickly to save a baby or mother’s life when they are clearly in danger.
  • Oxygen deprivation.
  • Use of unnecessary and excessive force during the birthing process.
  • Failure to monitor the baby after childbirth.
  • Misuse of birthing tools such as forceps or vacuum extractors.

Examples Of Birth Injuries

We know that birth injury and medical malpractice can be a large and daunting topic. That’s why we’ve compiled a few recent examples below. These can give you a better idea of what a birth injury and settlement might look like.

Bonita Johnson

In 2014, Bonita Johnson gave birth to her son at the Oak Lawn medical center. Due to the failure of medical staff to act in a timely manner, the boy was born with permanent brain damage. According to FOX 32, the mother of the child was awarded “$20 million by a Cook County jury”.

In this case, the medical staff missed every sign that the child was in distress. It is critical that during and after birth, the baby is monitored appropriately for any complications. As a result of this mistake, the boy may have brain damage for the rest of his life.

Carolyn Galbreath

In 2018, Carolyn Galbreath gave birth to a baby at the Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii. Unfortunately, the baby was born with permanent brain damage due to a lack of oxygen during birth. The medical staff involved were accused of not acting on the problem quickly enough.

As a result of the error, the child now has cerebral palsy and frequently suffers from seizures. Emotional distress aside, the parents also have to put the child through speech and physical therapy.

According to Hawaii News Now (HNN), the $38M settlement is “one of the largest settlements ever made in Hawaii with the federal government in a negligent injury case.”

Ameliha Williams

In February 2012, Ameliha Williams sought medical attention at the Jersey City Medical Center. At only seven months of pregnancy, Amelia was experiencing extreme abdominal pain.

Unfortunately, the staff at the scene did not act swiftly to perform a C-section. As a result, the boy was born with severe cerebral palsy. By all accounts, there was clear evidence that the child was in distress (non-reassuring heart rate, pain, location of the baby, etc…). The staff should have acted quicker to perform the C-section, especially seeing that the child was showing signs of an oxygen deficiency.

According to the New Jersey Law Journal, this case resulted in a “$13 million settlement”.

Last Notes

As a last note, we do want to leave everyone with a few reminders. First, please keep in mind that medical malpractice cases do have a statute of limitations. Depending on the case, you could have less than two years to take legal action. Although this may seem like a long time, it’s really not. The legal process can be complicated, with a lot of paperwork and important deadlines to keep track of. You’ll want to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. They can guide you along the next steps and help you with all the paperwork involved.

Second, make sure to choose a qualified and experienced attorney to consult with regarding your case. Word-of-mouth can be a great place to start your search. Make sure to ask about education, qualifications, and whether or not the attorney has experience in medical malpractice. The Cochran Firm Philadelphia office is another great place to start your search. Our team of lawyers spans all kinds of practice areas and has years of experience under their belt.

We hope this article helped you glean some insights into birth injuries and medical malpractice. If, however, you still have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to reach out to our legal office.

Birth Injury Lawyer In Philadelphia

Have you or someone you know been the victim of medical malpractice? Don’t hesitate to seek out legal help. Birth-related injuries can be extremely serious for both mother and child. You shouldn’t be left to take care of rehabilitation costs and medical bills on your own. The Cochran Firm Philadelphia office is here, and we have your back.

Our lawyers have helped clients retrieve millions of dollars in settlement money. We offer not just a kind shoulder but experience and top-notch legal advice as well.

The best part? You don’t have to pay for it upfront. Here at the Cochran Firm Philadelphia office, we work off of contingency fees. This means that instead of an upfront legal payment, we take our fees from the final settlement. We also offer FREE consultations. So don’t hesitate to set up an appointment with one of our lawyers. We’d be happy to talk.

The Cochran Firm Philadelphia office can be reached by filling out our online form or giving us a call at (800) 969-4400.

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