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When babies are born with certain issues, they may be admitted into the neonatal intensive care unit, also known as the NICU. If they are born prematurely (more than three weeks before their estimated due date), have certain health complications, or the delivery was difficult, then they could have to go to the NICU for care for a certain amount of time. They are usually taken there within 24 hours of being born. Treatment could take hours, days, weeks, or months in extreme cases.
Inside the NICU will be things like infant warmers, which are beds with heaters over them so that babies can stay warm, light-therapy blankets to treat babies with jaundice, incubators that are closed in with hard plastic and control the babies’ body temperature, and feeding tubes for babies who can’t breastfeed or feed from a bottle. Monitors are critical in a NICU to track a baby’s number of breaths, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and blood pressure, while IVS, lines, oxygen hoods, and ventilators can help with a range of health problems.
When doctors and nurses in the NICU breach their duty of care and act in a negligent manner, causing injury to your child, then this could qualify as NICU malpractice.
Symptoms of Birth Injuries Caused by NICU Malpractice
A baby may suffer from a number of different conditions because of NICU malpractice. These conditions include:
- Newborn resuscitation errors
- Brain damage
- Cerebral palsy
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
- Birth asphyxia
- Group B streptococcus
- Brain bleeds
Symptoms of birth injuries caused by NICU malpractice include:
- Breathing and feeding issues
- Floppiness in the limbs
- Poor Apgar scores
- A high-pitched, abnormal cry
- Hard to wake the baby up
- Abnormal blood pressure or heart rate
These are just some of the symptoms and conditions that may occur due to NICU malpractice. A doctor will be able to diagnose the health condition a baby is experiencing so that treatment can begin.
Treatment for Birth Injuries Caused By NICU Malpractice
The treatment for NICU injuries will depend on the type of condition that a baby is going through. For instance, if the baby is not properly breathing or breathing at all after they’re born, then they will need resuscitation right away. Treatment could include CPR and inserting a breathing tube, which is also known as intubation.
If a baby has group B streptococcus, they might need IV antibiotics when they are born. If another condition like sepsis develops because of the GBS, then they may need to take blood pressure and/or heart medications as well as be put on a ventilator.
If a baby has cerebral palsy, which is an incurable disease, then they will need lifelong treatment, which could include surgery, physical and occupational therapy, and anticonvulsants and sedatives. They might also have to use medical equipment such as crutches and a wheelchair in order to get around.
How Do I Know if NICU Medical Malpractice Caused Birth Injuries?
NICU medical malpractice may have caused birth injuries if the doctors or nurses did not take the right steps to respond to a baby’s condition, they delayed treatment, or they did not treat a condition. If they did treat a baby but failed to disclose the risks of treatment to a parent, then that may also count as medical malpractice.
There is no way to know if malpractice actually occurred until you call a birth injury lawyer. They will evaluate the proof you have and let you know if you have a valid case. Proof could include your medical records, witness statements, and photographs of your baby’s injuries. And if you don’t have all the proof you need, your lawyer will be able to gather it for you.
When trying to prove NICU medical malpractice, you will need an experienced birth injury lawyer on your side. It’s very challenging to demonstrate that medical malpractice actually occurred. The legal system makes you jump through hoops to prove it because if it were so easy to claim medical malpractice, doctors would get sued left and right. The legal system wants to protect the medical profession, so you need the right evidence to show that malpractice was at play in your case.
How Much Will I Receive From a NICU Malpractice Settlement?
In your NICU medical malpractice case, you may be able to receive compensation for damages, including the following:
- Medical bills
- Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical care
- Loss of earning capacity
Your lawyer can calculate your economic damages, like medical bills and future medical care, as well as your non-economic damages, like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, for you. While they will not know ahead of time what settlement you’re going to receive, they will work hard to get you what you deserve.
Settlement Offers in a NICU Malpractice Case
When you get in touch with a birth injury lawyer, they will take any evidence you have and gather more to bolster your case, if needed. They will then reach out to the defendant, who may be a doctor or nurse who was treating your baby in the NICU. At this point, your lawyer will attempt to settle with them for fair compensation based on your economic and non-economic damages.
The defendant can choose to accept your offer and pay you a settlement, renegotiate and try to offer you a lower settlement, or deny any wrongdoing and refuse to settle. You can accept an offer, ask your lawyer to renegotiate for a higher offer, or take the defendant to court. Usually, medical malpractice cases end up settling to spare the defendant from humiliation and ruining their reputation in the medical field. Whether you’re settling or going to court, rest assured that your lawyer will do all the work for you so you don’t have to worry.
Why Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer?
A birth injury lawyer will have experience with NICU malpractice cases and will be able to fight for the settlement you need. You won’t have to get caught up in a lawsuit in a time when you are already stressed and worried about your baby’s health. You can leave it to your lawyer to deal with while you take care of your child and yourself during this difficult time.
NICU Malpractice Birth Injury Attorneys
If your baby has a birth injury and you believe that NICU malpractice was to blame, then it’s time to seek out representation. You can feel free to reach out to Gilman & Bedigian, who will fight to get you the compensation that is rightfully yours.
Contact Gilman & Bedigian 24/7 for a free consultation at (800) 529-6162.