Tulsa Birth Injury Attorney
Birth Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice in Oklahoma
When an obstetrician, delivery room doctor, midwife, or another medical professional makes a mistake that harms an infant or mother, they can and should be held accountable. Taking legal action against the liable medical provider in Tulsa, OK, can provide parents, guardians, children, and families with a much-needed sense of justice and closure.
If you believe that you or your child suffered a birth injury due to medical malpractice, error, or negligence, reach out to Brewster & De Angelis right away. Our compassionate and experienced legal team is here to guide you and your family through this immensely challenging time. Since 1983, our lawyers have been fighting for the rights of injured victims and the families of those wrongfully killed in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and throughout the state. We have secured numerous noteworthy settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients and are prepared to aggressively advocate for the maximum compensation you and your family are owed.
What Is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury is an injury suffered by an infant or birth mother during pregnancy or immediately before, after, or during birth. Birth injuries are differentiated from birth defects by the fact that they occur as a result of medical malpractice, negligence, or error. Birth defects, on the other hand, stem from non-medical factors, such as genetics, the mother’s health, and the infant’s development in the womb.
Examples of Birth Injuries to Infants
Some common examples of birth injuries in Tulsa affecting infants include:
- Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral palsy is a common motor disability that affects an individual’s movement, balance, muscle tone, and posture. It is most often caused by brain damage before or during birth. The effects of cerebral palsy vary greatly from person to person, but it can cause issues with coordination, walking, mobility, swallowing, range of motion, and more.
- Brachial Plexus Injuries: The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves responsible for shoulder, arm, hand, and finger movement. Damage to this area—such as stretching or tearing—can result in several different conditions, including shoulder dystocia, reduced range of motion, partial or total paralysis, and Erb’s palsy.
- Erb’s Palsy: Erb’s palsy is a condition involving significant muscle weakness in the shoulder and/or arm. Typically, Erb’s palsy results from an injury to the brachial plexus nerves during childbirth, but a later-in-life injury can also lead to the condition. People with Erb’s palsy may experience loss of muscle function, reduced range of motion, and other issues.
- Cephalohematoma: Cephalohematoma is a condition in which blood pools outside of the blood vessels and collects between an infant’s scalp and skull bone. It is often the result of significant pressure on the head, which can cause blood vessels in the scalp to rupture. While cephalohematoma is often harmless, it can result in anemia, infection, jaundice, and more.
- Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy: Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) occurs when the brain does not receive adequate oxygen and/or blood flow, leading to brain damage and dysfunction. Possible long-term effects of HIE include cerebral palsy, epilepsy, seizures, blindness, hearing impairments, cognitive disability, and poor motor development.
- Facial Paralysis: Facial paralysis may occur in infants who are delivered with the use of assistive birthing devices, such as forceps. If the doctor puts pressure on or damages a nerve while delivering the baby using forceps, the baby may lose control of voluntary muscle movement in the face. This condition often goes away on its own, but it can lead to certain complications.
- Oxygen Deprivation: Oxygen deprivation before, during, or immediately after childbirth can have devastating consequences for the newborn infant. Depending on the length and severity of oxygen deprivation, the infant may suffer significant and permanent brain damage. In the most tragic cases, they may die.
What Types of Birth Injuries Affect Mothers?
Some common maternal birth injuries include:
- Uterine Rupture: Uterine rupture occurs when the uterus tears during childbirth. This is a rare condition, but it may be caused by the drugs used to induce labor. In some cases, an overdose of labor-inducing drugs can lead to violent contractions, which may cause uterine rupture. This is a life-threatening condition for both the mother and the infant.
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Pelvic organ prolapse can occur during or after childbirth. It involves the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, which hold various pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, vagina, etc.) in place. When these muscles weaken or are damaged, the pelvic organs can drop, or “prolapse,” which can lead to an array of complications.
- Untreated Infection: Untreated maternal infections during pregnancy can lead to serious and even-life threatening complications for both the mother and her unborn child. Common infections that may harm mothers and infants during pregnancy include hepatitis B and C, listeria, Lyme disease, Zika, and certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- Anesthesia/Spinal Epidural Error: Anesthesia errors for mothers undergoing cesarean sections (C-sections), as well as spinal epidural errors, can have serious consequences for the mother and the infant. Common anesthesia errors include administering the wrong dose, overdose, and administering to a patient who is allergic. Spinal epidural errors can lead to paralysis or death.
- Cesarean Section Error: Like any other surgical procedure, cesarean sections (C-sections) are complex procedures. Surgeons who are inexperienced or negligent may cause a C-section error that could have devastating consequences. Some examples include damaging a nearby organ, nerve, or structure and leaving behind an instrument or object in the body.
- Hemorrhage: Certain conditions, such as uterine rupture, can lead to excessive bleeding, known as postpartum hemorrhaging. More often, however, postpartum hemorrhage results from failure to deliver the placenta or when the uterus fails to contract after the placenta is delivered. Doctors have a responsibility to recognize and immediately respond to such conditions.
How Do Birth Injuries Happen?
Birth injuries most often result from medical negligence and preventable errors.
Some of the specific causes of birth injuries include:
- Failure to diagnose and treat maternal infections
- Failure to diagnose and treat preeclampsia
- Improper prenatal or postnatal care
- Failure to monitor the mother and/or infant
- Failure to recognize or respond to signs of fetal distress
- Spinal epidural errors, including incorrect placement
- Prolonged labor/failure to order a timely C-section
- Failure to order an emergency C-section
- Improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors
- Failure to identify breech presentation
- Excessive force on the infant’s head or neck during delivery
- Medication errors, including errors with labor-inducing drugs
Although some risk factors for birth injuries are outside of the doctor’s control, they still have a responsibility to recognize these factors and respond accordingly.
How Brewster & De Angelis Can Help
If you or your child suffered a devastating birth injury, you deserve justice. At Brewster & De Angelis, our Tulsa birth injury attorneys have successfully helped children, parents, and families secure the fair compensation they were owed following serious and egregious acts of medical malpractice. Our lawyers can help you understand your legal rights and options during a free, no-obligation consultation.
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The attorneys at Brewster & De Angelis are always available to provide you with updates and answer questions regarding your case. At the end of the day, we work for you and pride ourselves on being available regardless of the situation.
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At Brewster & De Angelis we have the top litigators in Tulsa, Oklahoma and we have been serving our community for over forty years, giving us the tools and knowledge to aggressively and effectively handle your case.