Birth Injury Lawyers in Pennsylvania

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Whether they are mental or physical, birth injuries are horrible injuries that can affect a child for the rest of their life. Sometimes, they are completely preventable, and a doctor or medical professional’s negligence or mistake is to blame. In these cases, parents deserve compensation for the potential lifelong treatment and medical care they’re going to have to pay for to ensure their child has the healthiest and happiest life possible.

If you or a loved one suffered because of a birth injury in Pennsylvania, we’re here for you in your time of need. The birth injury and medical malpractice lawyers Gilman & Bedigian represent victims not only in Philadelphia, but also throughout all of Pennsylvania. Learn more about their services and how they can possibly help you retrieve the compensation that is rightfully yours.

The Top Birth Injury Lawyers in Pennsylvania

If you’re looking for the best injury lawyers in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, Gilman and Bedigian fit the bill. In 2012, Attorney H. Briggs Bedigian served as the lead attorney on two record-setting medical malpractice cases, where the settlements were $55 million and $21 million, respectively. There are very few attorneys nationwide who win settlements in excess of $2 million, let alone in excess of $50 million. Our law firm has done it a number of times.

Proving negligence in a birth injury case is not easy. It can often take years of work and sufficient economic standing on behalf of the law firm to be able to afford experts who can testify on your behalf. The firm must also have a robust network of experts to tap into; otherwise, the case may not hold up in court.

Fighting the Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies

The medical malpractice insurance companies we go up against have unlimited financial resources to defend themselves against lawsuits. They often will attempt to put the law firm that is working for you in financial anguish so that they drop the case. Smaller law firms and solo practitioners just can’t afford to stand up to that kind of pressure. However, Gilman and Bedigian will advance all the costs for your Pennsylvania birth injury case. Why? We only take on cases we believe in, and we want you and your family to have some peace of mind during this tumultuous time.

Plus, you won’t pay anything unless we win you a settlement. That’s right: there are no upfront costs for our clients.

When these medical malpractice insurance companies see that Philadelphia birth injury attorneys Gilman and Bedigian are representing you, they tend to get scared. They know we mean business because of our multi-million dollar settlements. Oftentimes, they will write a check out for a lot more money than they normally would have because they know what could happen if they go to court. They wouldn’t do that for smaller law firms with less experience and lower settlements under their belt.

Smaller and less experienced firms will not be able to fight as hard as Gilman and Bedigian, the best birth injury lawyers in Pennsylvania, could for you. If we say we can help you, we mean it.

Your Pennsylvania Birth Injury Case

Each year, 28,000 children are born with birth injuries, which equates to about 7 out of every 1,000 births. Essentially, that’s three birth injuries per hour. This number is just too high; we believe many of these injuries are preventable.

Birth injuries can occur in utero, while the fetus is still inside of the mother, or during delivery. In utero birth injuries may occur if a doctor does not detect a birth defect, they prescribe harmful medicine to the mother, or they fail to take the right steps to prevent a medical catastrophe.

Delivery injuries can occur if doctors or medical professionals did not deliver the baby properly or take the right steps to prevent problems from occurring. For example, a mother might have needed a C-section and a doctor tried to do a vaginal birth, or they could have improperly used forceps.

Some birth injuries may only be temporary and could even resolve themselves, while others result in permanent damage that will affect a baby for the rest of their life. It all depends on the type of birth injury and the severity of it.

Here at Gilman and Bedigian, we work hard to help families recover from the trauma of a birth injury and get on the path to healing, no matter what type of birth injury occurred.

Types of Birth Injuries

We represent clients who are dealing with a number of different birth injuries, including:

  • Birth paralysis
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Facial paralysis
  • Clavicle fracture
  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
  • Placental abruption
  • Kernicterus
  • Neonatal hypoxia
  • Macrosomia
  • Fetal acidosis
  • Shoulder dystocia

These are just a few of the many birth injuries we are equipped to handle. We also represent clients who have cases of OB-GYN, NICU, and nuchal cord malpractice.

Some of the common complications that can result in birth injuries are:

  • Uterine rupture
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Breech position
  • Placenta previa
  • Hypertension
  • Cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD), where the baby’s head won’t fit through the mother’s pubic bone or is stuck
  • Posterior position
  • Anemia in the mother and/or child
  • Multiple births
  • Slow labor
  • Nuchal cord (where the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s head)
  • Other umbilical cord problems

No matter what type of birth injury or complication occurred, you can contact the Pennsylvania birth injury lawyers at Gilman and Bedigian for a free consultation.

Fetal Distress and Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania

Whether you need a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer or one in another area of Pennsylvania, we have you covered. If fetal distress is to blame for the birth injury, then we will work hard to prove that your doctor didn’t do enough for you and your baby to prevent complications from happening.

Fetal distress rarely occurs if a woman has had an otherwise healthy pregnancy. However, any history of issues like anemia, hypertension, pre-eclampsia, stillbirth, diabetes, post-term pregnancy, or obesity should signal to the doctor that there is a higher possibility of fetal distress.

Signs of fetal distress include the following:

  • Decreased movement of the baby
  • Infection
  • Decreased fetal heart rate
  • Unusual amounts of amniotic fluid
  • Smaller than average baby weight
  • Difficult or prolonged labor
  • Decreased oxygen levels in the fetus

A doctor can possibly reduce fetal distress by:

  • Ensuring the mother stays hydrated
  • Changing the mother’s position
  • Delaying or inducing labor
  • Alleviating pressure on the umbilical cord
  • Monitor the oxygen levels for the baby and the mother

Your doctor might utilize continuous electrical fetal monitoring (EFM) and sensors over your abdomen to monitor your baby’s heartbeats and your contractions. Or, they could also take a small blood sample from your baby or place a fetal scalp electrode into the scalp of your baby to monitor how they are tolerating labor.

C-Section Malpractice in Pennsylvania

Like all surgeries, C-sections come with some risks. Major complications are rare with Cesarean sections, though, so when taking into consideration the fact that a baby could be born with brain damage through a vaginal birth, the choice to perform a C-section is obvious.

Any patient can request a C-section. It is ultimately up to the mother to make that decision. Currently, C-section rates in the U.S. are 31.7% of all deliveries.

A mother may need a C-section in the following circumstances:

  • The baby displayed fetal distress
  • She had a prior C-section or other previous surgery that could interfere with birth
  • The baby is breeched
  • There is more than one child in the womb

C-sections are harder to recover from than vaginal births. A vaginal birth takes two to four weeks to recover from, while a C-section can take up to six weeks to recover from. The recovery time is also more painful generally, and women who have C-sections have to deal with increased childbirth risks for future pregnancies.

Babies who were born from C-sections are more vulnerable to issues such as:

  • Problems breastfeeding
  • Delays in breastfeeding
  • Respiratory problems
  • Obesity
  • Allergies

C-sections can also result in errors that severely harm a mother and/or child.

Birth Extraction Device Malpractice in Pennsylvania

If a doctor incorrectly used birth extraction devices like forceps or a vacuum extraction tool during the delivery, this could have caused a plethora of issues.

Doctors will utilize these devices if the labor has been prolonged and difficult, and vaginal birth doesn’t seem like a possibility at that point. A baby could also be showing signs of distress, and a doctor will determine that it’s best to speed up the birthing process to get the baby out as soon as possible.

Forceps look like tongs. They cradle a baby’s head and help pull out the baby during delivery. If a doctor uses too much force, then the forceps can injure the baby’s head or strain its arms or neck.

A vacuum extractor tool involves placing a small cup on the baby’s head. It is attached to a pump that creates a vacuum suction and gently helps pull the baby out. It can cause a bruise on the baby’s head that will heal without medical intervention. Again, if used with too much force, it could cause injuries to the head, arms, or neck.

If these delivery tools are used improperly, it can cause issues for the baby like:

  • Scalp wounds
  • Fractures
  • Hemorrhaging or excessive bleeding

The mother might experience:

  • Anemia
  • Pain
  • Vaginal tears
  • Bladder or urethra injuries

An expert with the Pennsylvania birth injury lawyers at Gilman and Bedigian could help determine whether or not a birth extraction device was used with too much force and ended up causing damage to the baby and/or mother.

Here are some of the more common birth injuries that occur in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy, also known as CP, is a group of disorders that impact a person’s ability to move and uphold their posture as well as balance. It’s the most common motor disability in childhood; about 1 in 345 children has CP. It is more common in boys than girls and most CP develops as a result of brain damage that happened before or during birth. It is thought to occur because of a lack of oxygen before, during, or after the birthing process. It is sometimes preventable; other times it is not.

Childbirth injuries that can lead to CP include:

  • Not diagnosing the mother with conditions or infections that could hurt her baby
  • Not performing a C-section in time
  • Not monitoring the oxygen supply levels to the baby
  • Not correcting oxygen supply problems
  • Not diagnosing a prolapsed umbilical cord

The improper use of birth extraction devices can also cause damage and bleeding in the birth, resulting in a lack of oxygen and cerebral palsy. CP is not always noticeable at first, and a baby will need to undergo further tests in order for it to be diagnosed.

CP symptoms will affect a baby throughout their life. They may need to walk with crutches, go through physical therapy, take muscle relaxants and sedatives, and undergo surgery.

Erb’s Palsy

Also known as brachial plexus palsy, Erb’s palsy happens when there are damaged nerves in a baby’s upper arm. Up to two in every 1,000 children are born with this condition.

It could occur because a doctor improperly delivered a baby and unnaturally pulled or stretched the baby, and it could cause a damaged nerve or circulation development, numbness, paralysis, or decreased movement in a baby’s arm. At birth, if a baby is not moving their arms, it could be a sign of Erb’s palsy.

Erb’s palsy could happen because:

  • The baby was breeched or in a difficult birthing position
  • The mother’s labor was long or challenging
  • The baby was large before being born
  • Forceps or a vacuum extractor tool were not used correctly

Erb’s palsy could go away naturally, and a baby could start to feel their arm again after just a few days. If the case is more severe, then a baby could need surgery within the first three to six months to treat the nerve damage. A majority of Erb’s palsy cases – 70% to 80% — could be corrected within 12 months. However, the other 20% or so of babies may experience lifelong problems.

Hypoxia

Hypoxia is a lack of oxygen to the brain, and two to four out of every 1,000 babies born will suffer from it. Many babies can recover from hypoxia if they get their normal oxygen levels back quick enough. However, 25% of babies will have longer lasting or permanent neurological issues.

A number of factors can cause hypoxia, including:

  • Trauma
  • Umbilical cord prolapse
  • Excessive contractions
  • Fetal distress
  • Premature birth
  • Eclampsia and preeclampsia
  • Placental abruption, or other issues with the placenta
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Inappropriate use of labor stimulation drugs such as Pitocin or Oxytocin
  • Negligent interpretation of the child’s heart rate or fetal monitoring strips
  • Failure to monitor the baby’s oxygen levels

Hypoxia can cause many different medical conditions like:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Seizures
  • Vision issues
  • Epilepsy
  • Motor skill problems
  • Seizures
  • Retardation
  • Developmental delays

The severity of the injuries is going to depend on how long the brain was on dangerously low levels of oxygen. Anoxia could occur if the baby’s brain was completely cut off from oxygen.

It is critical for doctors to continuously monitor oxygen levels and to take the right measures to correct any issues straight away. If they or their staff fails to do so, it could result in devastating effects on your baby and your family that may have been completely preventable.

Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder dystocia happens when a baby’s shoulders are caught on the mother’s pubic bone during the delivery process. It occurs in about 1 in every 200 births, and 20% of babies who experience shoulder dystocia will become injured.

Risk factors for shoulder dystocia include:

  • Obesity in the mother
  • Previous birthing issues related to shoulder dystocia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Diabetes in the mother
  • Birthing multiple babies
  • Long or difficult labor

Shoulder dystocia can lead to:

  • Erb’s palsy, or other nerve injuries
  • Bone fractures
  • Hypoxia
  • A brain injury
  • Death

Many times, shoulder dystocia is preventable if doctors take the correct course of action to fix any issues that are happening.

Damages and Claims for Pennsylvania Childbirth Injuries

The United States is the most expensive country in which to give birth. It costs an average of $9,617 for an uncomplicated vaginal birth, and $15,799 for an uncomplicated C-section birth. With inflation and the rising cost of living, these figures keep on going up.

Some complications, like severe neurological injuries, can affect your child for the rest of their life and result in millions of dollars in doctors’ bills. Birth injuries that affect the mother can also put a serious dent in your bank account, especially if you are uninsured or underinsured.

One of the most sought-after damages is the cost that parents incurred for incomplete medical care. Parents can also request damages for physical or mental harm and for the costs for any future procedures for the mother and/or child. For instance, if they need to pay for an occupational therapist or invest in medical equipment to install in their home, they can seek out damages to cover these expenses.

To have a decent chance at winning compensation, parents need to do the following:

  • Demonstrate that they had a doctor/patient relationship with the doctor or hospital
  • Show that the doctor did not uphold the normal “standard of care” or acted in a way that another doctor of their stature would not have acted
  • Because of this, a birth injury occurred and the mother and/or child suffered

For assistance with your Pennsylvania birth injury case, make sure you reach out to Gilman & Bedigian today. Call us at (215) 561-4999 or contact us here 24/7 for a free consultation. We look forward to helping you.

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