Newborn Injuries During Labor and Delivery?

Birth Injury Lawyers Investigate Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Photo of a baby

The birth of a child is a time for celebration. Unfortunately, when hospitals and medical professionals make preventable mistakes, injury to the child can affect the entire family’s lives. Our firm investigates potential birth injuries in newborns, including cases of cerebral palsy, brain injury from lack of oxygen (hypoxia) and medication errors and injuries.

The birth injury attorneys at the law offices of Farrell & Patel handle complex litigation to help parents and children live the best quality of life possible after medical negligence. Our founding partners, Wesley Farrell and Ricky K. Patel are fathers themselves and have deep compassion for families affected by birth injuries. Attorney Ricky K. Patel holds a leadership position at the Miami Children’s Hospital, and the firm has dedicated a charitable arm to helping parents and children recovering a birth injury.

What Causes a Birth Injury to a Newborn Child?

For every 1,000 births in the United States, approximately six babies suffer some form of birth trauma during labor and delivery. This amounts to about 24,000 babies born each year with a birth injury. Medical malpractice occurs when a preventable error injures the child or mother.

Common preventable mistakes that may cause a birth injury include:

  • Misuse of medical equipment or improper delivery technique.
  • Failure to monitor the baby’s oxygen intake causing hypoxia, which can lead to severe brain injury.
  • Surgical error during a caesarian section.
  • Medications improperly prescribed or improper doses given to pregnant women that harmed the child in utero. These medications include but are not limited to SSRIs, Depakote, oxytocin, misoprostol and other prescription drugs.
  • Medications that are dangerous drugs prescribed to pregnant women.

Hospitals do not admit to parents when a preventable mistake occurred. Parents must have an independent medical expert review the case and offer an objective opinion to know the truth about what happened.

What Are Common Birth Injuries?

Medical malpractice can lead to an array of birth injuries. Some injuries may be relatively minor; however, some lead to permanent disability, requiring expensive day-to-day assistance throughout the child’s entire life. According to a National Vital Statistics report for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the ten most common birth injuries include the following:

  • Brachial plexus
  • Bone Fractures
  • Cephalohematoma
  • Caput succedaneum
  • Perinatal asphyxia, which can cause severe brain injury from lack of oxygen
  • Interacranial hemorrhage (ICH)/Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH)
  • Subconjunctival hemorrhage
  • Facial paralysis
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Cerebral palsy (CP)

Could Taking Zofran Cause a Birth Injury?

Tragically, there are certain medications that can cause birth defects and birth injuries if prescribed to pregnant women. A 2014 study based on Swedish Medical Birth Register data revealed that the risk of a child developing cleft palate doubled if Zofran was taken during the first trimester. The same study showed that a child’s risk of developing a cardiovascular defect if Zofran was taken during the first trimester also increased.

In spite of studies linking it to birth defects, Zofran has allegedly been marketed off-label by drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as a morning sickness treatment for pregnant women. In addition to marketing Zofran, which is only approved by the FDA for patients receiving cancer treatments or undergoing surgery, as a morning sickness treatment, GSK has been accused of bribing physicians with gifts and money to prescribe Zofran.

Several birth injury lawsuits have been filed against GSK, including a 2012 suit that resulted in the pharmaceutical company agreeing to pay a $3 billion settlement. Birth defects linked to Zofran in studies and lawsuits include:

  • Cleft palate
  • Serious heart defects
  • Developmental delays

What Are the Benefits of Hiring Birth Injury Lawyers?

Families will face extra costs of raising a child with special needs due to a hospital’s negligence. In addition, much of the financial burden for medications, treatments, home and vehicle modifications, rehabilitation and educational needs could be lifted. While a lawsuit cannot correct what happened, it can provide money and income to help ease the additional expenses your child may incur for the rest of his or her life.

If you believe your child has birth injury warning signs or symptoms of cerebral palsy, then call the cerebral palsy lawyers at Farrell & Patel. We work closely with medical experts to investigate whether your child’s condition was the result of medical or pharmaceutical negligence. We understand the overwhelming emotional trauma you are dealing with, and we will attempt to bring you peace of mind in this difficult time.