Working with McIntyre Law
At McIntyre Law, we are dedicated parents and our Oklahoma birth injury attorneys take special consideration when handling birth negligence cases. These cases are sensitive and special care must be given to the children and families who have suffered as a result of a preventable birth injury. We can help.
No matter where you are in the state of Oklahoma, we have a birth injury attorney standing ready to help you. The exceptional level of experience and personal care can make a difference in the outcome of your case.
What is a contingency fee?
When a lawyer works on a “contingency fee” basis, they’re agreeing to accept a fixed percentage of any monetary rewards from your lawsuit to cover their legal fees. If there are no rewards from your birth injury lawsuit, you don’t pay the lawyer. You have enough to worry about — so we get paid if, and only if, you do.
What is a birth injury?
“Birth injury” and “birth trauma” refer to injuries to a baby that are the result of complications during delivery. In the majority of circumstances, birth injuries are not caused by medical malpractice, but medical error definitely does happen, and it can increase birth injuries’ severity or permanence. Almost seven out of every 1,000 babies in the United States are born with some type of birth injury.
What causes birth injuries?
The reasons for birth complications vary greatly. They can occur because of a mother’s illness or pre-existing health condition, because of complications during the delivery, and sadly even because of medical negligence on the part of doctors, nurses or hospitals.
Sometimes a baby is very large (birth weight exceeding 4,000 grams or 8 pounds, 13 ounces) which can result in a difficult delivery. Sometimes the baby is premature (born before the 37th week) causing the baby to be much more fragile. On other occasions, the mother’s pelvis may not be adequate for a vaginal delivery and any attempt to do so will harm the baby and possibly the mother. Doctors and hospital staff must recognize this situation and act accordingly. Failure to diagnose these situations can cause severe injuries.
- Failure to anticipate birth complications (especially with larger babies)
- Failure to respond to excessive bleeding
- Failure to observe umbilical cord entrapment (for example, the cord being wrapped around baby’s neck)
- Delaying a medically necessary cesarean section (aka “c-section”)
- Failure to respond to fetal distress, such as an irregular heartbeat
- Misuse of forceps or vacuum extractor during delivery
- Inappropriate use of Pitocin (a hormone used to induce or speed up labor)
- There are also mistakes that can happen following birth, like those made during a circumcision or in diagnosing and treating an infection.
Common birth injuries
The following are common birth injuries in Oklahoma:
Occasionally the baby’s scalp will develop severe swelling as it travels through the birth canal. This can cause some babies to experience bruising of the area. While the swelling usually disappears in a few days, some babies experience a much longer recovery period. Babies delivered by vacuum extraction are more likely to have this condition.
It is possible you have seen a baby with severe bruising and sometimes even scalp lacerations or cuts on their heads. While this can occur when passing through the birth canal and coming into contact with the mother’s pelvic bones, other times it is caused by forceps used during delivery.
Forceps can also put extreme pressure on a baby’s face, causing the facial nerve to be injured. This injury is most noticeable when the baby cries and you can visualize no movement on the side of your child’s face. Other indications are if your baby cannot close his or her eye. If the nerve was only bruised, the paralysis usually improves in a few weeks. However, if the nerve was torn, surgery may be required.
There is a group of nerves that connects to the arms and hands of your baby. This is called the brachial plexus. If the brachial plexus is injured during delivery, brachial palsy occurs. This is also commonly referred to as shoulder dystocia. This injury occurs when there is difficulty in delivering the baby’s shoulder. If your child has shoulder dystocia, he or she will lose the ability to flex and rotate the arm. This birth injury can be temporary but unfortunately can also be permanent.
One of the most common fractures of babies’ bones during delivery is the fracture of the clavicle or collarbone. Your child’s clavicle may break when there is difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder or during a breech delivery. A baby that has a fractured clavicle rarely moves his arm on the side of the break.
Other birth injuries include:
- Intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding in the baby’s head)
- Spinal cord trauma
- Cephalohematoma (bleeding beneath the scalp, which can lead to jaundice)
- Cranial nerve trauma
- Depressed skull fractures
- Temporary body paralysis
- Group B strep infection
- Spasticity (certain muscles are continuously contracted)
- Soft tissue injuries
- Skin irritation
- Cerebral Palsy
How do I know if my child’s birth injury was caused by medical malpractice?
Often, doctors will claim that you or your baby’s injuries were caused simply by birth complications. However, if you suspect that there’s a possibility that your child was injured due to negligence or malpractice, you should contact a birth injury lawyer immediately. An experienced birth injury attorney will investigate every aspect to your pregnancy and your child’s birth process. As well, medical records will be scrutinized, including the mom’s medical history and any ultrasounds or other scans of the baby. Any deviation from the standard of care might be an indication that malpractice or negligence has taken place.
Severe birth injuries can result in lifelong effects that require ongoing medical treatment; if you suspect that the injuries were caused by a medical provider’s negligence, or by faulty equipment or processes during your prenatal care or birth, we can help make sure that at least your financial needs are met. Call the experienced Oklahoma birth injury attorneys at McIntyre Law today for a free consultation.