Negligent prenatal care (medical care during a woman’s pregnancy) can cause birth injuries or death to a child and have become the basis for medical malpractice claims filed by our Philadelphia Negligent Prenatal Care Lawyers.
Adequate prenatal care is extremely important to the safety and health of both baby and mother. Obstetricians (OB/GYNs) and other doctors who undertake the care of a pregnant woman and her developing fetus (baby) have a duty to provide adequate care and treatment to both of these patients.
Asphyxia Birth Injuries
Asphyxia birth injuries can be caused by a deprivation of oxygen to the fetus during pregnancy. The cutting off of oxygen may occur when the umbilical cord (the fetus’s source of oxygen) becomes coiled around the baby’s neck, coils too tightly around itself, or develops a tight knot. It can also occur when the mother’s blood pressure suddenly drops, when the mother experiences difficulty breathing, or when problems with the placenta develop.
A physician can detect these problems by monitoring fetal movement and heart rate and the mother’s vital signs and condition during prenatal office visits. When a doctor is negligent in failing to detect and manage conditions that may result in fetal asphyxia, the doctor may be held responsible for asphyxia childbirth injuries that could have been prevented with adequate prenatal care and treatment. These injuries may include Cerebral Palsy (CP) and other brain injuries.
Shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby’s head and shoulders become caught behind the mother’s pelvic bone during a vaginal delivery. The baby can suffer a variety of injuries from this complication, including asphyxia injuries, collarbone (clavicle) fractures, cerebral palsy, brachial plexus palsy injuries (damage to nerves near the baby’s collarbone), and even death.
Negligent prenatal care can increase the risk of shoulder dystocia. Larger fetuses are more likely to experience this complication, because it is more difficult for them to fit through the birth canal. For this reason, a doctor may be found liable for a baby’s shoulder dystocia injuries when negligent prenatal care results in a fetus of above average weight (fetal macrosomia). This may occur when the doctor fails to monitor the mother’s excessive weight gain or fails to test for and monitor the mother’s gestational diabetes. (Both of these conditions in the mother can lead to a fetus of above-average size.)
Other Birth Injuries Caused by Negligent Prenatal Care
Our Philadelphia Negligent Prenatal Care Lawyers have also handled cases involving other birth injuries caused by substandard care during pregnancy. A doctor’s failure to test and treat a pregnant woman for certain infections (such as meningitis and group B Streptococcus) can result in the baby’s contraction of the same infections. A doctor’s failure to prescribe prenatal Folic Acid supplementation may result in a child’s severe spinal injury (spina bifeda) or fatal brain injury (anencephaly).
Here are some additional examples of negligent prenatal care that can lead to birth injuries:
- Failure to monitor and treat maternal high blood pressure, toxemia, placenta previa, or pre-eclampsia
- Prescription of drugs harmful to fetus
- Failure to test for Rh incompatibility and failure to prevent or treat Rh incompatibility
- Failure to recognize pregnancy as high-risk and refer to appropriate specialist
Feldman & Pinto’s Philadelphia Negligent Prenatal Care Lawyers
Feldman & Pinto’s Philadelphia Negligent Prenatal Care Attorneys have extensive experience with cases involving birth injuries caused by negligent care during pregnancy. If you believe your child’s birth injury was caused by negligent prenatal medical care, contact one of our Philadelphia negligence lawyers today to schedule a free consultation about your legal rights.