An injury that occurs during or following a child’s birth can impact the child and his or her family for the rest of the child’s life. When such injuries could have been avoided by proper and timely medical care, our Atlanta birth injury lawyer can handle claims on behalf of both the parents and the child.
If you need to investigate whether medical errors caused your child to suffer a birth injury, the attorneys and staff of James M. Poe, P.C. are available to assist you. We have a record of assisting birth injury victims and their families and will investigate matters in Atlanta and throughout Georgia. We can conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation in search of the answers that you, your family and your child need to move forward.
Contact us when you need answers.
Birth injury cases involve complicated medical questions. They require careful, detailed analysis of the medical record. Delay in tracking down the details can result in the loss of key witnesses and the deterioration of the information they have. Delay and loss of information can fatally weaken a case. Prompt investigation by attorneys with an appreciation of the likely issues is crucial.
Our Atlanta Attorneys Can Seek Answers in Birth Injury Cases
The goal of our investigation into your birth injury case will be to answer three main questions:
- What is the nature and extent of the injury?
- How and why did the injury occur?
- Did medical care providers cause the injury by failing to meet the required standard of care?
What Is the Nature and Extent of the Injury?
To properly evaluate the issues and examine the care provided, we begin by understanding the injury which the child has suffered. The nature and source of the injury helps isolate when and how the injury arose and which care providers were likely involved at that stage of the birth process.
Brain injuries resulting from partial (hypoxia) or complete (anoxia) loss of oxygen have to be analyzed by looking at when they likely occurred. Depending on the medical record, these can occur before, during or after delivery. The record can raise issues of inappropriate monitoring, inadequate communication, misinterpretation of available records and erroneous judgments in how to proceed and protect the child during the birth process.
Nerve injuries or fractures can arise during the delivery process itself and implicate a different cast of characters.
Permanent and irreversible neurological damage can arise from unrecognized or untreated infections or unrecognized and untreated metabolic disorders. In such cases, the issue may be whether those responsible for post-partum evaluation and monitoring have met the standard of care.
Types of Birth Injuries
Some examples demonstrate how understanding the injury focuses the investigation on the healthcare providers involved in a particular part of the birth process:
- Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy – These conditions can arise from harm to the nerves located in the child’s neck. These are called brachial plexus injuries. Damage to the upper nerves causes Erb’s palsy. Damage to the lower nerves leads to Klumpke’s palsy.
- Cerebral palsy – Physical trauma, oxygen deprivation and infections can lead to a child diagnosed with cerebral palsy. This is a general term for disorders that impact a child’s muscle control, body movements and cognitive functioning.
- Cervical dystonia – This is a condition that often arises in children who suffer head, neck or shoulder trauma during birth. It can cause a child’s neck muscles to involuntarily contract and lead to painful positioning of the head and neck.
- Cerebral hypoxia – This term describes the damage that can result from a lack of oxygen supply to the child’s brain. This is also called hypoxic encephalopathy or anoxic encephalopathy.
- Meconium aspiration syndrome – This condition involves breathing problems that a child develops due to inhaling a mixture of feces (meconium) and amniotic fluid into the lungs. This may occur if a child is deprived of oxygen during labor and delivery.
How and Why Did the Injury Occur?
Once our Atlanta birth injury attorney understands the injury and when it likely arose during the birth process, then we turn our attention to understanding how and why the injury arose. This requires a detailed review of the records and understanding the normal and proper sequence of events and the personnel involved in each phase.
Some of the questions which have to be examined are:
- Was there a missed diagnosis during the pregnancy?
- Was there a failure of communication during the pregnancy?
- Was there a failure in monitoring or interpretation of monitored information before delivery?
- Was there a failure of communication during labor or delivery?
- Were the interventions that were used to respond to problems timely and appropriate?
- Was there an improper or inappropriate delay in any decision or in the response to any problem?
- Was there a failure of technique during delivery that produced an injury?
- Was the post delivery examination and care of both mother and child appropriate considering the circumstance identified by the records?
Each of these questions can involve review of the performance of different medical care providers, from the nursing staff to midwives, anesthesia providers, obstetricians, surgeons, pediatricians and neonatologists. Sorting out which of those involved have responsibility for a particular problem requires experienced counsel with appropriate resources.
Did Medical Care Providers Cause the Injury by Failing to Meet the Required Standard of Care?
An injury by itself is not enough to establish medical negligence. The crucial issue is whether one or more of the medical care providers failed to meet the standard of care.
To answer this question, we have to obtain a review of the appropriate materials by an expert in the field of the person whom we believe may not have met the standard of care. Finding and retaining such qualified experts who will support a case and who can effectively communicate to a jury why the defendant was negligent and how that caused the injury to a child is clearly one of the most important steps in preparing a birth injury case.
The attorneys and staff at James M. Poe, P.C., have a long and effective history of locating outstanding witnesses from around the country to address this issue and then effectively communicate that opinion to a jury.
How Our Attorneys Investigate Atlanta Birth Injury Cases
Because of their background in handling birth injury cases and other medical negligence matters, trial lawyers Jim Poe and Matt Poe know how to investigate these tragic events. Their investigation of your birth injury case would involve:
- Obtaining and reviewing all appropriate medical records – These records can outline the care and treatment that was provided to the child and mother before, during and after the birth.
- Identifying witnesses – During investigation prior to a lawsuit it is normally not possible to get information beyond the records from medical care providers. Once a lawsuit is filed all of the providers can be deposed to identify details which are not discussed in the records.
- Consulting with and retaining medical experts – It is necessary to have all evidence reviewed by highly qualified medical experts. They can establish what the doctors, nurses, midwives or other medical professionals should have done – and what they failed to do. These experts can also establish the care and treatment that a child will need moving forward.
The goal of a birth injury action is to obtain justice so that, as much as possible, the child is protected and compensated, and the strain on the parents and family is reduced so that the best outcome can be obtained for the child.
To do that, we establish the strongest case possible to present to the at-fault parties (and their insurers) during settlement negotiations. If a settlement cannot be reached, our preparation means we are ready and able to proceed to trial.
Contact an Atlanta Birth Injury Attorney Today
If your child has suffered a serious birth injury, the lawyers of James M. Poe, P.C., will seek compensation for the past and future medical expenses, the pain and suffering, permanent injury and all other damages you and your child have suffered. Our goal is to protect your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.
Sources / More Information
• Cerebral Palsy, Mayo Clinic
• Brachial Plexus Injury, Mayo Clinic
• Cervical Dystonia (Spasmodic Torticollis), Mayo Clinic
• Cerebral Hypoxia, MedlinePlus
• Meconium Aspiration Syndrome, MedlinePlus