Birth Injury Attorneys in Pittsburgh Defending Your Family
Our Client-Focused Approach Gives You the Support You Need After a Devastating Birth Injury
When welcoming your newest family member, you may feel immediately that you will do anything to protect them. Especially because babies can be so easily hurt, we all understand the safety measures we must take with them. However, when labor is difficult, some people are robbed of the chance to keep their child safe. Mistakes made by delivery nurses, anesthesiologists, and other childbirth caregivers can give your baby a lifelong disability.
Caring for a child with a disability can change your life completely. You may need to move so you have an accessible home. Many disabilities of this type require ongoing care: You could either find yourself with high medical bills from constant doctor visits or be forced to hire a private caretaker. Because most homes now have two working parents, one may be forced to leave their job to deal with the increased demands. And, most importantly, your child will never have some of the opportunities their future should have held.
If your family has suffered due to a birth injury, the experienced attorneys at Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C., are here to stand up for your rights. We provide determined legal advocacy for clients throughout Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.
Defining a Birth Injury
How do you know if something counts as a birth injury? After all, pregnancy and childbirth are complex processes. Sometimes when things don’t go as planned, there is no way to foresee or prevent a certain outcome. But, not all disabilities in infants count as birth injuries. This term refers to a physical injury or mental damage caused during labor or delivery. If a doctor fails to act when they should or uses dangerous methods that go against professional guidelines, they may cause a birth injury.
How Can I Know if My Baby Is Injured?
Birth injuries can take multiple forms, and each one has different symptoms. In some cases, you may not even realize your baby has sustained damage because the symptoms are not noticeable in children below a certain age and/or step of the development process. Others may be noticeable even for parents with no medical background:
- Erb’s palsy may cause noticeable weakness and a restricted range of movement in one or both arms.
- Cerebral palsy may cause either extreme tightness or looseness of muscles in infants.
- In cases of shoulder dystocia, a baby may suffer a broken arm or collarbone or, in a worst-case scenario, paralysis.
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) may be difficult to notice in newborns depending on its severity. Those who have faced extreme oxygen deprivation may show signs of oxygen deprivation at birth, presenting a low heart rate, difficulty breathing, and skin that is pale or bluish in color
- Intracranial hemorrhage, or brain bleeds, can cause seizures, difficulty breathing, abnormally long sleeping times, and other physical symptoms.
- Liver rupture can cause pale skin, abnormally fast heart rate, low blood pressure, and swelling of the abdomen.
If you think your baby was injured during birth, you should make note of their symptoms and see a doctor. Some conditions can be fatal if not treated in a timely fashion.
Finding Help After a Birth Injury
After your baby is diagnosed with a birth injury, there are likely many things running through your mind. You may be worried for them, uncertain of your own future, and angry or sad that this happened to you. While considering a lawsuit, you may wonder whether it is worth it.
Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C. can tell you it is. Birth injuries can cause lifelong disabilities for which your child will continue to need care and assistance. Most of us cannot afford those medical costs on our own. A birth injury lawsuit can help you recover compensation so your child can access the best care. It can also help you understand what happened to your baby, and why—and hopefully prevent the doctor from harming any other newborns.
Our birth injury team can help with a wide range of birth injury cases, including those involving:
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb's palsy (brachial plexus birth palsy)
- Shoulder dystocia
- Hypoxic brain injury (HIE)
- Failure to diagnose fetal distress
- Injuries to the mother
Because we’ve handled many birth injury lawsuits, we know the strongest case is built by a diverse team. That’s why our firm seeks out medical experts in obstetrics and other relevant fields who help us demonstrate how medical negligence has impacted the lives of our clients.
Questions and Answers About Birth Injuries
What Are Common Birth Injuries?
Thankfully, some of the most common birth injuries do not require additional treatment or cause permanent damage. Stanford Children’s Hospital finds that babies are most likely to experience:
- Caput succedaneum, or swelling of the head. This will usually subside on its own.
- Cephalohematoma, or bleeding of the cranium. In most cases, this does not indicate any bigger injury, but it could be a sign of brain damage.
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage, of bleeding in the eye. The blood is usually reabsorbed within two weeks and your child should not sustain lasting damage.
- Facial paresis or paralysis is caused when the facial nerve is damaged. If the nerve was torn, surgery will be necessary to restore the function of your child’s facial muscles.
- Brachial palsy (including Erb’s palsy) is a disorder caused when the nerves between the shoulder and neck are damaged. Some damage may be treatable, but extreme cases may cause a permanent decrease in range of motion and motor control.
- Clavicle, or collarbone, fractures may not be indicative of larger problems, but in some cases, they may co-occur with brachial plexus injuries and paralysis of the arm.
What Are the Causes of Birth Injuries?
When doctors intervene in the birth process, they typically do so because delivery is not proceeding as planned. They may use a vacuum or forceps to assist labor; these tools put a heavy strain on the infant’s musculoskeletal system and may result in fractures and damage to nerves and organs. On the other hand, a doctor may fail to notice that an infant is showing signs of distress during labor. Oxygen deprivation can cause brain damage in very little time, so negligence here can have serious impacts.
Can Babies Heal from Traumatic Brain Injuries?
The severity of a brain injury may impact one’s ability to heal from it, but unfortunately, there is no way for doctors to predict whether treatments will succeed. Because babies’ brains are so flexible, they may be able to shift the functions that would normally be handled by the damaged cells to those that have not been damaged. However, this is only sometimes possible and depends both on the breadth of the injury and individual patient factors. Many traumatic brain injury victims never fully recover.
Start Your Birth Injury Claim to Pursue Compensation
If you are considering a birth injury lawsuit, talk to our attorneys for a free consultation. Doctors may try to downplay the mistake and/or the future consequences for you and your family in hopes of discouraging litigation. Our team can help you gain an unbiased view of the situation. Before you make a decision either way, you should have all of the knowledge.
Our birth injury lawyers do everything we can to help our clients recover fair compensation. We know you don’t need more worries on your plate while you’re trying to figure out your family’s future. With Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C., you won’t have to take care of legal procedures or negotiating with insurers. We offer the understanding and support you need during this difficult time.
Has your family been impacted by a birth injury? Reach out online or by telephone at (844) 383-0565 to speak with an experienced Pittsburgh birth injury attorney. We offer free initial consultations, and if you can’t make it to our office, we’ll come to you.