Birth injuries are the result of medical malpractice. When the victim of the doctor's malpractice is a newborn baby or an unborn fetus, the doctor and his or her medical facility can be held responsible and legally liable for the consequences of their poor actions or negligence.
The birth injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian can help victims and their families recover the compensation they deserve if they have suffered a birth injury in the State of Hawaii.
Examples of Birth Injuries in Hawaii
There are a lot of different kinds of birth injuries that a newborn can suffer. All of them, though, can lead to medical conditions that prevent them from living a full life. Some of them are even likely to be fatal after only a few years.
Examples of birth injuries include:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Erb's Palsy
- Facial paralysis
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Intracranial hemorrhage or subconjunctival hemorrhage
- Shoulder dystocia
- Oxygen deprivation
- Perinatal asphyxia.
To make things even more complex, each type of birth injury can be relatively minor or extremely severe. For example, the developmental delays caused by oxygen deprivation during a baby's delivery can hardly be noticeable or can keep them from ever functioning well enough to live independently.
When the cause of the injury was a doctor's negligence or mistake, the victims deserve to be compensated because they were not at fault and could not do anything to prevent the harm they suffered.
Some Birth Injuries Happen Before the Baby is Delivered
In some cases, the doctor's malpractice can happen well before the baby is delivered. It can even happen before the mother is aware that she is pregnant.
Sometimes, birth injuries happen to the fetus while it is in utero when a doctor prescribes medication to the mother without first ensuring the mother is not pregnant. Doctors should always make sure the mother is not pregnant before prescribing these kinds of drugs, but some do not. When that happens, the fetus can suffer irreparable damage early in its development.
Doctors can also commit malpractice and cause a birth injury if they do not perform a genetic test or notify the parents of the risks of their child being born with a genetic condition that can cause a birth defect. This can prevent the parents from making an informed healthcare decision for their unborn child and their family.
Most Birth Injuries Happen in the Delivery Room
While some birth injuries happen earlier in the pregnancy, most occur in the delivery room when it is time for the baby to be born.
Doctors can cause a birth injury if they act inappropriately or unreasonably. This often happens during a prolonged or especially difficult labor and delivery process and often involves the inappropriate use of extraction devices. When these devices are used to assist in delivery, any excessive force used by a doctor can cause the newborn baby irreparable damage.
Doctors can also cause a birth injury if they do not act or fail to take precautions that would alleviate, reduce, or completely avoid the fetal distress that often leads to a birth injury. By failing to take appropriate conduct and avoid a potential birth injury, doctors can commit malpractice and be held accountable if one does happen.
This is exactly what happened in a recent case that the birth injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian brought to trial in Maryland. An expectant mother went to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Doctors, however, ignored sure signs of fetal distress and did not perform a C-section under nearly two hours had passed. As a result, the baby was born with Cerebral Palsy and other developmental problems. With the help of Gilman & Bedigian, the victim and his family brought the case all the way through trial and won a $55 million verdict – the highest ever for a birth injury claim in Maryland.
Compensation for Birth Injury Victims in Hawaii
The victims who suffer birth injuries, as well as their family members, deserve to be compensated for all of the setbacks and difficulties associated with their medical condition. In Hawaii, this can be accomplished by filing a birth injury lawsuit, which claims that the doctor's malpractice caused the injury and demands that the doctor is held accountable for what was done.
The compensation that can be recovered in a birth injury case in Hawaii does not just cover the medical bills associated with the injury. It also includes the pain and suffering felt by the child, the parents' loss of companionship, and compensation for the child's reduced ability to earn a living once they grow up.
Compensation for the child's pain and suffering, though, are strictly limited to only $375,000, no matter how painful or debilitating their injuries. This is the result of Hawaii's damage cap for medical malpractice, Hawaii Revised Statute § 663-8.7.
That limitation, though, does not include the child's mental anguish, including the negative feelings they have from their loss of life's enjoyments and any disfigurement they have from their birth injury.
The Statute of Limitations for Birth Injury Claims in Hawaii
All birth injury lawsuits have to abide by the state's statute of limitations. In Hawaii, that statute is made complicated by the fact that it changes based on whether a parent or legal guardian is filing it on the child's behalf, or if the child is directly represented by a lawyer.
Hawaii Revised Statute § 657-7.3 is the statute of limitations for birth injuries in the state. Subsection (a) of this statute requires all medical malpractice claims, including those for birth injuries, to be filed within two years.
However, subsection (b) tolls or delays the start of the statute of limitations for minors representing their own interests without their parents. Under this section, minors have until their tenth birthday to file a birth injury lawsuit.
Reliable and Compassionate Birth Injury Lawyers in Hawaii
If you or your child has been born with a birth injury in Hawaii, the birth injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian can help you recover the compensation you need and deserve. Contact us online to get started on your case.