Birthing Injuries and Birthing Trauma

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Have you or your child suffered a birth injury?

A birth injury is damage to the child before, during or shortly after the birthing process.  It can be caused by a variety of issues; for example; physical pressure during the birthing process. This can, in certain cases, result in birth injuries such as nerve damage and broken bones.

Our birth injury solicitors specialise in compensation claims for those who have had the misfortune of suffering an injury from birth which was the result of negligence.

Our dedicated healthcare team understand the stress and uncertainty that can be caused when your child suffers an injury at birth. As a parent you will be understandably concerned for your child’s future if the birth injury will affect their ability to mobilise, communicate and to live a generally independent life.

While a compensation claim may seem daunting our team of expert birth injury solicitors will guide you through the process in order to make it as hassle free as possible for you.

Birth Injuries to Mother and Baby

There are various types of birth injuries that can impact the mother and baby. The mother may experience scarring or trauma caused by medical equipment such as forceps whereas the baby may endure injury to the brain or physical impairment. Below is a list of birth injuries that we deal with most commonly:

Cerebral Palsy due to birth injury

Cerebral palsy is the most common motor impairment in childhood.  It is a condition ranging in multiple ailments including an injury to the baby’s brain affecting their movement and posture. A common cause of cerebral palsy is lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain at birth.

Infection

An infection can be passed onto the child if the mother is suffering from a virus such as Herpes. If this is the case, then it is the medical professional’s duty to treat the baby as soon as possible following the labour. If this is not treated the infection may severely affect the baby’s brain.

Haemorrhage

A haemorrhage may occur if the midwives or doctor act negligently. For example, if the mother is showing excessive blood loss, or her or the baby has an abnormal heart rate then the medical professional may perform an emergency delivery.  However, if the medical professionals fail to respond and cause maternal birth injury or infant birth, this may be considered medical negligence and you may seek a birth trauma compensation.

Umbilical Cord Prolapses

Complications of the umbilical cord can occur during labour.  For example, the cord may knot around the baby and decrease its blood and oxygen supply. This can lead to serious brain and heart defects in the baby.

Maternal Sepsis

There are often early signs of maternal sepsis. If these are not treated efficiently by a medical professional it can progress into a severe condition. This can range from blood clots, blood pressure dropping, loss of oxygen to the brain and internal organs.

Uterine or Placenta Rupture

Uterine or placenta rupture is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention. If the medical professional acted negligently towards this condition (examples below), it could lead to the mother suffering from excessive blood loss and organ damage. In some cases, leading to maternal or infant death due to lack of blood and oxygen consumed.

Forceps Birth Trauma

Forceps are sometimes used when the labour is not progressing as swiftly as required. In some cases, such as where there is a delay in using the forceps or incorrect handling of the instrument it can cause long term tears, marks and scarring to the mother and child. These injuries can range from the mother’s blood loss, injury to bladder, to the baby’s nerve damage and damage to the baby’s skull.

Pre-Eclampsia

This causes high blood pressure during pregnancy and after labour and it can result in further risks and damage to the mother and baby if not treated properly.

Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s Palsy also known as brachial plexus paralysis, is a nerve injury which affects movement of the upper limbs and is caused primarily by birth trauma. The injury most commonly occurs during delivery when a baby’s shoulder’s become stuck and excessive force is used causing injury to the baby which can range from paralysis to loss of muscle control in the upper limbs.

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage occurs most commonly when the pudendal nerve is stretched during childbirth causing permanent nerve damage to a mother. Negligence can arise due to mismanagement of a pregnancy or failure to advise on the benefits of assisted delivery.


When does a Birth Injury amount to Negligence?

There are a variety of issues which can arise before, during and after childbirth and it certainly not the case that all birthing injuries are the result of negligence.

The test for medical negligence requires a claimant to prove that a medical practitioner has breached their duty of care to their patient and that this breach of duty has caused damage to their patient.

Our birthing injury solicitors will instruct an independent medical expert to provide a detailed report on the standard of care provided to our clients. If our instructed experts find that our client received substandard care before, during or after birth and this has resulted in an injury then there will likely be strong grounds for a birthing injury compensation claim.

Once negligence has been established it will be necessary to assess the value of a claim. This will vary depending on the severity of the injuries suffered. In serious birth injury cases such as cerebral palsy claims a claimant will have suffered life long injuries and a variety of factors will have to be taken in to account when valuing the claim including the cost of care in future and the cost of aids and appliances or alterations to the claimant’s home.

Our Expert Birth Injury Solicitors

Our dedicated healthcare team deal with all birth injury claims and are highly specialised in this area. Our goal is to ensure that our clients are represented with a high level of efficiency, skill and expertise.

We have settled numerous high value birth injury claims in the high court in Belfast and Dublin. In complex clinical negligence cases it is important to ensure that cases are reported on by highly experienced and specialised independent medical experts.

Our healthcare team have excellent relationships with medical experts throughout the UK and Ireland who we often instruct to provide evidence on the standard of care provided to our clients, the extent to which substandard care has caused injuries to our clients and the future prognosis for our clients.

What are the costs involved in a birthing injury claim?

We accept a range of funding options to our clients which include:

  • Legal aid funding;
  • Legal expenses cover;
  • After the Event (ATE) insurance;
  • Privately paying.

Our first consultation is free and we will discuss funding options with you at this point. As many birthing injury cases are taken on behalf of minors, legal aid funding is usually available to cover all costs in the case including legal fees, court fees and medical experts fees.

How our Birth Injury legal team can help

At P.A.Duffy & Co. Solicitors, we have years of experience representing mothers and babies suffering from birth injuries. This ranges from minor birth injuries to devastating stillbirths or maternal deaths. We recognise the long-term impact they have on the mother, baby, and wider family circle. We can assure, that by appointing P.A.Duffy Company’s Medical Negligence team, you will be receiving the best legal services for your birth injury and trauma.

Please do not hesitate to contact our Dungannon based office if you or your family member have been affected by birth injury or birth trauma, so we can help you proceed with a claim for compensation.

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    Birthing Injuries and Birth Trauma was last modified: May 16th, 2022 by Conal McGarrity