Doctors and nurses who focus on labor and delivery receive specialized training to both prevent and treat many different situations or conditions that might arise with either a fetus or newborn and its mother. When an urgent situation or emergency arises, they, therefore, have a duty to provide the necessary standard of care.
When they fail to act in this manner, both the mother and child are at risk of suffering a labor and delivery injury in Michigan. However, a medical professional’s negligent actions might also give rise to a malpractice lawsuit, which could be explained in-depth by a knowledgeable lawyer at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. A persistent attorney could also answer your questions and work tirelessly to gather evidence for a thorough claim for compensation for your trauma.
Common Types of Injuries During Childbirth
While many in the United States are relatively safe, the negligent actions or inaction of a doctor or other member of a medical team could still cause severe injuries or even death during labor and delivery. This trauma might affect both mother and child, despite being unavoidable—if not for malpractice.
For example, forceps and vacuums are two tools that labor and delivery doctor’s have at their disposal to help get the baby out of the birth canal. Sometimes, these tools are used when they should not be or are used the wrong way. Other times, babies should be born via cesarean section, but a doctor or nurse does not make this decision, or makes the decision too late.
For example, a vacuum extraction is sometimes required to assist the baby out of the birth canal. This might be essential if a mother is not able to push a baby out. Unfortunately, if a nurse or doctor fails to assess a delivery situation and determine that a vacuum extraction is required, this might lead to severe trauma for both the baby and mother. When these or other circumstances arise, a mother who has suffered a labor and delivery injury in Michigan could pursue compensation against negligent medical staff.
Additional Neonate Injuries
Unfortunately, there are countless types of conditions and injuries that might occur during labor and delivery. These include:
- Caput succedaneum
- Broken bones
- Forcep delivery erros
- Cervical dystonia
- Vacuum extraction errors
Unfortunately, broken bones are some of the most common injuries for infants during delivery. This might arise if labor is too extensive, if forceps are improperly used, or if shoulder dystocia occurs.
Caput Succedaneum and Cephalohematoma
Caput succedaneum is a common labor and delivery injury in Michigan that occurs when pressure is placed on the head as the baby tries to come through the birth canal. While caput succedaneum is often minor, certain circumstances might give rise to severe complications.
Similarly, a cephalohematoma is a large bruise or a collection of blood on the head. Essentially, there is a collection of fluid above the bone, but below the skin. This means that cephalohematoma is mostly internal, which might make it more difficult to recognize. However, symptoms might include infection, jaundice, or the infant’s head being an abnormal size. While some instances of either caput succedaneum and cephalohematoma might be unavoidable, it is still a medical professional’s job to recognize their signs and symptoms.
Cervical Dystonia and Torticollis
Cervical dystonia, also known as spasmodic torticollis, is a painful condition causing the neck muscles to contract involuntarily, causing the head to twist or turn to one side. In newborns, torticollis can be caused by difficult deliveries. This condition can impact breastfeeding and the overall normal function of the newborn.
When conditions and injuries such as cervical dystonia or caput succedaneum are either improperly recognized or poorly mishandled by doctors and hospital staff, they should be held legally liable for the resulting trauma.
Forcep Injuries During Delivery
Childbirth complications such as breech position, prolonged labor, or large baby delivery may require the use of forceps to deliver the baby safely. The improper use of these instruments can cause significant injury and harm to the baby or fetus, including nerve damage, brain damage, or blindness. Forceps should only be used when the baby appears to be in extreme distress, when the mother finds it hard to push, or when the position of the fetus in the birth canal is not correct.
Forceps must be used very carefully at the time of delivery due to the vulnerability of the skull. Properly trained and skilled physicians regularly use forceps without injury or incident to the baby, but there are occasions when they are used improperly—such as with excessive force—and this causes damage to the brain. Babies injured by forceps at birth can require a lifetime of special needs and accommodations due to these injuries.
Damages Caused by Malpractice During Labor or Delivery
When a woman’s labor and delivery is mismanaged and includes malpractice from one of the professionals caring for her, the effects can be expensive and all-encompassing. By hiring a Michigan labor and delivery injury lawyer to help them seek compensation, plaintiffs could request recovery for the economic and non-economic damages they have suffered. These damages could include:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish and emotional trauma
Non-Economic Damage Caps in Michigan
In Michigan, there are no limits to the dollar amount a labor and delivery injury plaintiff could collect for economic damages, such as lost wages and medical bills. However, for non-economic damages—such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life—there are caps outlined under Michigan Compiled Laws § 600.1483.
These caps adjust each year for inflation, in accordance with the law. To determine what types of caps might apply in their specific case, an injured claimant might benefit from consulting with a well-versed lawyer.
For example, there are certain serious injuries that might allow plaintiffs to ask for the higher non-economic damage cap. These include:
- Brain and spinal cord injuries—including paralysis and total permanent functional loss of a limb
- Permanently impaired cognitive ability that makes it so the plaintiff cannot make independent life-decisions
- Damage to a reproductive organ that leaves the plaintiff unable to bear future children
Retain a Lawyer for Help After a Michigan Labor and Delivery Injury
Conditions such as caput succedaneum, cervical dystonia, cephalohematoma require immediate attention during childbirth. If a doctor fails to act—or acts negligently, such as improperly using forceps—this can lead to further complications and trauma, such as broken bones and even death.
If you suffered a labor and delivery injury in Michigan because of a medical professional’s negligence, you are likely to be traumatized and overwhelmed. However, waiting too long to pursue compensation might risk a dismissal, which is why consulting a seasoned lawyer could be beneficial.
A persistent attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. could help to pursue the full and fair compensation you deserve, so that you could focus on spending time with your family. Call today to schedule a consultation and discuss your legal options.
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