A medical malpractice suit was filed against a New Jersey hospital and its medical staff when the delivery of a child went horribly wrong. According to the suit, the doctors and nurses helping to deliver the infant failed to respond to the slow heart rate alarms. Additionally, the staff also improperly delivered the infant with a vacuum, rather than a C-section or an alternative means of delivery.
The infant was later diagnosed with perinatal asphyxia, which happens when the child is deprived of oxygen, as well as reduced blood flow to the brain. The infant was placed on life support, but the parents later decided to withdraw assisted breathing. The infant died soon after.
When Doctors Are Not Paying Attention, Both Infant and Mother Are at Risk for Injury
Perinatal asphyxia, also known as fetal hypoxia, results from oxygen deprivation. Fetuses receive their oxygen from the placenta and umbilical cord. However, when a birth trauma interrupts the flow of oxygen, brain injuries can occur. When medical professionals fail to detect and correct the interruption of oxygen flow to the fetus, doctors should be held responsible for any birth injuries that occur as a result.
Moreover, vacuum extractors can only be used under the right circumstances. They should not be employed when the fetus is premature, when the fetus requires repositioning or if the fetus’s head is too large to safely pass through the birth canal. If this is the case, or if the vacuum is used for an unsafe amount of time, the infant could suffer from the following birth injuries:
- Lacerations and bruising on the scalp
- Intracranial hemorrhage
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Developmental problems
- Cerebral palsy
- Bleeding between the skull and the cap (subgaleal hemorrhage)
- Brain swelling
- Bone distortions
In some cases, vacuum extractions can cause birth injuries that result in permanent disabilities, medical issues and even death.
According to a study by the Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research (SPER), 29 out of every 1,000 infants born in the U.S. suffer from some type of trauma. Most often this is due to improper use of instruments or handling of a newborn by doctors and medical staff. If there is even the slightest question on whether your child suffered a traumatic birth injury due to medical malpractice, an attorney can assess the circumstances of your case.
Donald G. Targan & Associates is a personal injury law firm in New Jersey that fights for children who suffered from traumatic birth injuries in the Atlantic City, Cape May and Lower Township areas of New Jersey.