Wyoming Birth Injury

Children in the State of Wyoming are all too often harmed by the medical malpractice of a doctor or other medical professional. These injuries can range from minor harm to severe and long-lasting injuries. In either case, the costs of this medical malpractice can be high, both financially and in terms of the pain and suffering caused to the child and his or her parents. When a doctor's negligence is to blame for the harm caused to your child, you are entitled to financial compensation for those injuries that can help put your life back on track.

If your newborn child has been harmed by medical malpractice, the highly experienced attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian are here to fight for you. You do not have to be alone in dealing with all you face.

Types of Birth Injuries in Wyoming

In the State of Wyoming and throughout the rest of the United States, birth injuries occur at an alarming rate. This rate is often higher than most people might think. Up to around 7 out of every 1,000 babies are born with a birth injury every year. This adds up to around 28,000 newborns who are harmed each year. These high numbers demonstrate the significant issue parents face when their child is harmed, but also shows that you are not alone.

Injuries during "birth" are caused at one of two different times. It can first occur during pregnancy before the child is even born. The second time occurs during the actual labor and delivery of the child. In both circumstances, the harm your child and you can suffer may be extreme, and when you are injured you are entitled to financial compensation.

Birth Injuries That Happen During the Pregnancy

Congenital conditions that happen during a woman's pregnancy can cause debilitating and permanent injuries to the unborn child. While this occurs less frequently than injuries during labor or delivery, it still occurs at too high a rate. Doctors who fail to follow the standard of care for the treatment of pregnant mothers should be held responsible for their malpractice.

Birth Injuries That Happen at the Time of Delivery or During Labor

During the delivery of your newborn baby, a lot can still go wrong if the doctor or other medical staff does not follow the proper standard of medical care. Improper use of medical procedures can result in:

  • broken bones;
  • oxygen deprivation;
  • spinal injuries; or
  • fetal stress.

At Gilman & Bedigian, we specialize in winning financial compensation for our clients who have suffered at the hands of a negligent doctor. In one case, we represented the family of a boy born with cerebral palsy due to the doctor's negligent decision to delay a C-section. The young child lost his oxygen supply and was left with physical and mental disabilities. With the help of our attorneys, the family sued John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and won a Maryland record $55 million medical malpractice verdict.

Causes of Birth Injuries: Medical Malpractice

These birth injuries are frequently caused by a healthcare professional's medical malpractice. That malpractice can be the direct or even the indirect cause of the birth injury to lead to a lawsuit and compensation for the victims. It can even lead to liability in some circumstances if the child was born with a birth defect, rather than a birth injury.

Many of the most apparent birth injuries are those that are directly caused by a healthcare professional's malpractice. These are clearly the result of the malpractice because the injury is the immediate repercussion of a mistake or negligent act. Examples include:

  • A nurse drops the baby
  • A doctor damages the nerves in a child's neck and face after using too much force during an assisted delivery
  • A surgeon negligently performs a C-section and cuts the baby with a scalpel

In these cases, there is little denying the fact that the negligent act was the cause of the child's birth injuries.

In other cases, though, the chain of causation is more attenuated. The malpractice likely caused a distinct medical condition that then led to the birth injury. For example:

  • Doctors forget about a mother in labor, fail to notice that the umbilical cord is depriving the child of oxygen, and the baby is born with brain damage
  • A medical technician negligently sterilizes medical equipment used during the delivery and the child gets infected, causing heart problems

The intervening medical condition gives doctors and their hospital an opportunity to claim that the doctor's negligence was not the ultimate cause of the child's birth injuries. That defense, though, can be overcome in Wyoming.

Finally, a doctor can commit medical malpractice and be liable for a child's birth condition even if it is a genetic one. Doctors have a legal duty to detect certain genetic abnormalities and relay the information to the parents so they can make an informed decision. If they fail to do this, the doctor can be liable for the results.

Medical Malpractice During Pregnancy

Medical malpractice that occurs during a woman's pregnancy can cause debilitating and permanent injuries to the unborn child. While this occurs less frequently than injuries during labor or delivery, it still occurs at too high a rate. Doctors who fail to follow the standard of care for the treatment of pregnant mothers should be held responsible for their malpractice.

Common causes of injuries during the pregnancy include but are not limited to:

  • Use of dangerous prescription drugs prescribed by the doctor
  • Failure to diagnose genetic risks or diseases
  • Medical negligence during in utero medical procedures.

Malpractice During Labor or Delivery

During the delivery of your newborn baby, a lot can still go wrong if the doctor or other medical staff does not follow the proper standard of medical care. Improper use of medical procedures can result in:

  • broken bones;
  • oxygen deprivation;
  • spinal injuries; or
  • fetal stress.

At Gilman & Bedigian, we specialize in winning financial compensation for our clients who have suffered at the hands of a negligent doctor. In one case, we represented the family of a boy born with cerebral palsy due to the doctor's negligent decision to delay a C-section. The young child lost his oxygen supply and was left with physical and mental disabilities. With the help of our attorneys, the family sued Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and won a Maryland record $55 million medical malpractice verdict.

Causes of Birth Injuries: Defective Products

While malpractice is the cause of most birth injuries in Wyoming, defective products like medical devices, drugs, or other hospital equipment can also lead to a serious injury to the newborn.

Defective products fall into three categories:

  1. Design defects create products that are inherently dangerous in ways that could have easily been avoided or corrected
  2. Manufacturing defects lead to individual products that do not comply with the intended design, creating problems that can make them prone to breaking or ineffective for their intended purpose
  3. Marketing defects are problems with the instruction manual for the product that fail to warn users of the risks of using the device as it was intended to be used

Medical devices that are expected to arrive in the hospital in a sterilized condition can also suffer from an additional type of defect: Packing and shipping defects can lead to the product getting contaminated on the way to the hospital, putting the newborn at risk of a serious infection in its first hours of life.

Any one of these defects can cause problems with any of the numerous medical devices that doctors use during the delivery of a child. Even if a defective medical device does not directly cause the birth injury, an ineffective piece of gear can complicate the delivery procedure and delay the child's birth, putting both the newborn and the mother at unnecessary risk.

Should this happen, it would be a stretch to say that the doctors or other healthcare professionals in the hospital were at fault. Instead, the fault lies with the company that sent the defective medical device. Holding this company accountable and making them compensate the victims can take a products liability lawsuit, rather than one for medical malpractice.

Examples of Birth Injuries in Wyoming

While there is an untold number of birth injuries that can be caused by a doctor's medical negligence, some of the most common are listed below:

  • Brain bleeding: damage to the soft tissue of the brain causing bleeding
  • Detached placenta: a placenta that has come loose from the uterine wall
  • Pediatric Hydrocephalus: a buildup of pressure in the brain due to accumulation of fluid
  • Cephalohematoma: a collection of blood underneath the protective membrane covering an infant's skull
  • Shoulder dystocia: baby's shoulders become stuck in the pelvic area of the mother
  • Infant Anoxia/Hypoxia: a loss of oxygen to the baby during labor or delivery
  • Klumpke's Palsy: a condition caused by damage to the lower 2 of 5 nerves of brachial plexus
  • Cerebral palsy: a condition caused by brain damage during childbirth
  • Brachial Plexus: damage to the nerves that connect the spinal cord to the baby's hands and arms
  • Bone injuries: broken, fractured, or bruised bones often caused during labor or delivery

These injuries are often caused by:

Symptoms of Birth Injuries

The symptoms of a birth injury depend on whether it is a physical injury or a neurological one.

Physical Injuries

Physical injuries are those that lead to a medical impairment of the child's physical abilities. They tend to happen in the most traumatic of deliveries. The symptoms of these injuries can be very obvious right after birth, and include:

  • A broken bone
  • A fractured collarbone
  • A dislocated shoulder
  • A fractured skull, usually discovered from lumps or dents in the child's head
  • Bruising or swelling
  • Muscle paralysis, often in the child's face or arms and usually detectable from weak or stationary limbs or uneven facial movements

There are also some less apparent symptoms of a physical birth injury:

  • Eating difficulties
  • An inability to swallow, leading to excessive drooling
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Unprovoked and uncontrollable crying while the child arches his or her back – a symptom of severe pain
  • Coughing or wheezing

These symptoms can be a sign of a birth injury or nothing at all. A pediatrician can find out if something went wrong during the child's delivery.

Neurological Injuries

When a birth injury causes neurological damage, the repercussion can be longer lasting and far more severe. The child may struggle to grow and achieve the skills and abilities that their peers obtain, falling behind them on the mental, social, and emotional fronts, as well as physically.

Symptoms include:

  • Developmental delays
  • Oxygen deprivation during birth, a symptom of which is breathing problems right after birth
  • Seizures, which can be detected from erratic or strange eye movements
  • Vision or hearing loss
  • Coordination difficulties
  • A burst blood vessel in the white of the baby's eye, also known as a subconjunctival hemorrhage, which is a symptom of the kind of extreme pressure on the skull during birth that can cause brain damage

Types of Wyoming Financial Compensation You Can Win

After you and your baby suffer harm as a result of medical negligence, you are entitled to receive financial compensation for those injuries. Compensation may take any of the following forms but is not necessarily limited to these:

  • medical bills
  • future medical expenses
  • pain and suffering
  • lost earning capacity
  • loss of consortium.

Receiving this compensation can help you to get your life back on track, and recover from the injuries to you and your child.

Wrongful Death Cases for Fatal Birth Injuries

When the birth injury is especially severe, it can be life-threatening or even fatal. This often happens when the birth injury involves:

  • Traumatic injuries during an assisted delivery to the child's head, neck, spine, or vital organs
  • Hypoxia, or a deprivation of oxygen so severe and long-lasting that it causes tissue damage or organ failure
  • Reduced blood flow, which can cause organ failure as well as it prevents the bloodstream from bringing oxygen to vital organs like the brain

One of the most common medical complications to cause a fatal birth injury is when the umbilical cord wraps around a newborn's neck. This can prevent the child from breathing, leading to hypoxia, tissue damage, organ failure, and brain damage. If the umbilical cord cuts off blood circulation rather than the child's ability to breathe, the reduction in blood flow to the brain can produce brain damage in much the same way as hypoxia would have – the brain is still unable to get the oxygen that it needs to survive.

These fatal birth injuries produce three tragic scenarios:

  1. The child is born alive, but dies from his or her birth injuries
  2. The child is stillborn from prenatal injuries sustained after it became viable
  3. The child is stillborn from injuries sustained before it became viable

These scenarios matter because Wyoming's wrongful death statute, Wyoming Statute Annotated § 1-38-101, holds negligent parties, including doctors and hospitals, liable whenever their conduct causes “the death of a person.” While this clearly covers live-born children, babies who are stillborn may not fall under the statute's protections.

Many other states have wrongful death laws with similarly vague language. Wyoming courts, however, are among the last in the country to have not yet decided whether an unborn or stillborn child is a “person” under the wrongful death law.

Statute of Limitations in Wyoming Birth Injury Cases

Under Wyoming law, there is a 2-year statute of limitations period for all medical malpractice claims, including those for birth injuries. This period begins to run on the date the injury is caused through the malpractice. Failure to file by the statute of limitations can result in dismissal of your case, even if you otherwise may have won significant financial compensation.

For those who are under the age of 18, the statute of limitations is tolled or paused until the child reaches his or her 18th birthday. As soon as the child reaches his or her 18th birthday, the 2-year statute of limitations period begins to run on his or her claim.

However, this does not mean that the parents' claims for medical malpractice related to the birth injuries are tolled. The parents' claims must be filed within the applicable statute of limitations period or the case will likely be dismissed. To avoid this potential problem, contact an experienced Wyoming birth injury lawyer as soon as you become aware of a problem or potential problem.

Compassionate Birth Injury Attorneys Representing Wyoming

Contact Gilman & Bedigian online to get started on your case if you or a loved one has been hurt by a birth injury in Wyoming.

Let Us Help

If someone you are close to has been seriously injured or worse, you are naturally devastated not only by what has happened, but by the effect that the injury or loss has had on you and your family. At a time when you're vulnerable, traumatized and emotionally exhausted, you need a team that will support you through the often complex process that lies ahead.

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