Labor and Delivery Errors Causing Injuries to Mothers and Babies in Orlando
Although injuries can occur in a number of different ways during the birthing process, labor and delivery errors are a common and avoidable cause. These errors can take many forms, depending upon the nature of a situation and how the mistake was made.
Some common medical errors that can occur during labor and delivery include:
- Incorrect or inadequate fetal monitoring: During every stage of childbirth, both the mother and baby need to be monitored in order to provide vital information to the medical staff. If electronic monitors are used, and are not set up or calibrated correctly, or if a doctor or nurse neglects or disregards information obtained through fetal monitoring, complications can turn into disasters. For example, while fetal distress can be detected through monitoring, if it is not noticed or acted upon in time, the baby can suffer permanent brain damage, leading to a host of other cognitive and physical issues.
- Medication errors: Medication is frequently used in childbirth to assist with pain management or to otherwise help control labor. For example, certain medications, like Pitocin or Cytotec, are sometimes given to induce or speed up contractions. However, under some circumstances, the use of these drugs can become dangerous. Some of the risks of using Pitocin include overstimulation of the uterus, fetal distress, or even rupture of the uterus. Cytotec is currently only approved by the FDA for treating or preventing gastric ulcers and is therefore used "off-label" to induce labor. It has been found to carry a significant risk of uterine rupture for mothers with prior uterine scars, either because of a previous C-section or fibroid removal. Such complications can prove life-threatening for both the mother and baby.
- Improper application of fundal pressure: Fundal pressure is often used in the so-called second stage of delivery, when pushing occurs. The healthcare professional will use his or her hands or an inflatable belt to "push" on the abdomen of the mother over the upper part of the uterus, forcing the baby downward into the birth canal. However, in certain situations, the use of fundal pressure is inappropriate and dangerous. For example, in deliveries involving shoulder dystocia, where the baby’s shoulder becomes stuck on the mother’s pubic bone, the use of fundal pressure to try and force the baby through the birth canal can cause serious injury to the mother or baby.
- Improper forceps extraction: Forceps are sometimes used to assist with childbirth, especially during a prolonged delivery, when the risk of serious oxygen deprivation to the baby is increased. When used by an untrained or inexperienced physician, however, forceps can injure the mother or baby. Improper forceps extraction may cause the baby to suffer temporary or permanent facial paralysis, swelling and bleeding blood vessels in the scalp, or damaged nerves in the neck and shoulder.
- Improper vacuum extraction: When performing vacuum extraction, the physician uses a vacuum to help remove the baby from the birth canal. The physician must know exactly what situations call for the use of this technique and must exercise extreme care when performing the extraction. Otherwise, the baby can suffer an unnecessary injury, such as a brachial plexus injury or an intracranial hemorrhage.
- Failure to perform a C-section or negligent performance of a C-section: When labor becomes too prolonged or the baby's position will not allow for a vaginal birth, a cesarean section is often necessary. Waiting too long to perform a C-section, however, can result in injuries to a child that could have been avoided through prompt action. Mistakes during the operation, such as nicking the mother’s abdominal organs with a scalpel, can also be very dangerous for the mother and child.
Establishing that healthcare provider negligence was to blame for a childbirth-related injury can be quite complicated, but it is a necessary step towards receiving just compensation for your family. In Florida, to prove these claims, it is not enough that a medical professional made a mistake; instead, the patient (or his or her attorney) must prove that the medical professional acted in an unreasonable way to cause or contribute to the injury. This requires expert testimony from other experienced healthcare professionals.
At Faiella & Gulden, P.A., our attorneys come from a distinguished line of lawyers, judges, doctors, and nurses, and have a deep understanding of complex medical issues. We routinely work with experts to explain our clients’ stories to a jury. These experts help us to describe the medical error and to demonstrate the impact that the error has made on the lives of our clients.
If you or a loved one has been injured during the childbirth process, and the negligence of a healthcare provider is to blame, we firmly believe that the provider should be held accountable for the financial and emotional costs that you have endured. If we take your case, you pay nothing until we make a recovery for you. Call an Orlando birth injury lawyer at Faiella & Gulden, P.A., at (407) 647-6111 for a free consultation today.
Results may vary depending on your particular facts and circumstances.
- $550,000 Settlement/Confidential Settlements - Labor and Delivery Injury
Click here for more case results.
- Pitocin Induction: The Risks and Benefits - Healthline
- Introduction to Complications of Labor and Delivery - Merck Manual
- Labor and Delivery, Postpartum Care - Mayo Clinic
- Labor and Delivery - NICHD
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