Maryland Birth Injury Attorney
If you believe your child may have been injured through medical malpractice in the state of Maryland, your first step should be to speak with a qualified Maryland birth injury lawyer, experienced in the realm of medical malpractice.
The arrival of a new baby should be an exciting time in a family’s life. Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 out of every 100 births involve some kind of birth defect or trauma, which changes the lives of those family members forever. If you or a loved one has been affected by a preventable birth defect or birth trauma, a Maryland birth defects and birth injury lawyer may be able to help. Financial compensation may be available that will assist you in dealing with the enormous medical bills and other expenses that taking care of your special needs child will entail.
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- What is a Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Claim?
- What Makes Birth Injury Cases Unique?
- Cerebral and Erb’s Palsy in Birth Injury Cases
- Pregnancy Errors
One of the first things to do when you contact a personal injury attorney is to determine whether the physical injury or deformity in question is the result of a birth defect or a birth trauma. Your Maryland birth injury lawyer can investigate the details of your case and help advise you about how to proceed with a claim, should one be feasible.
What Is a Birth Defect?
A birth defect is a congenital malformation that occurs during uterine development, most often during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Birth defects can be caused either by genetic abnormalities, or uterine exposure to toxic substances or certain disease agents:
- Genetic syndrome: Birth defects may be caused by a genetic abnormality. Down syndrome, for example, is a genetic syndrome that’s caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21.
- Toxic exposure: Inadvertent exposures to chemicals or medications during pregnancy raise the risk of birth defects. Glycol ethers used in semiconductor clean rooms, for example, have been linked with an increased risk of spina bifida. Semiconductors are a growing industry in Maryland.
Birth defects are also linked with the use of certain medications during pregnancy. The antidepressants Paxil and Zoloft can cause birth defects that affect the heart and lungs. To speak with a legal advocate who can advise you about how to file an injury claim, call a Maryland birth injury lawyer today.
What Is Birth Trauma?
Birth trauma is an injury that takes place during labor and delivery. Birth trauma is often associated with an inappropriate response to an emergency situation on the part of doctors, nurses or other members of the medical team. In some instances, the trauma may arise from the fact that they did not respond appropriately to fetal distress as indicated on a fetal heart monitor. In others, the trauma is associated with the use of interventions such as forceps and vacuum extraction.
Common birth traumas include:
- Cerebral palsy: Cerebral palsy is an umbrella terms for a group of conditions that arise in the brain and nervous system, and affect movement and muscle coordination. Cerebral palsy is most often caused by insufficient oxygen to an infant’s brain during the birth process.
- Other infant brain injuries: Other infant brain injuries may not be evident until some time after birth. You may notice that your child cries incessantly, has difficulties breathing, or manifests sporadic, uncontrolled body movements. Infant brain injuries are most often associated with oxygen deprivation during some phase of the labor and delivery process. This can be caused by many different factors, such as an umbilical cord that’s tightly wrapped around an infant’s neck or fetal distress from a prolonged labor. Physicians are trained to follow medical best practices that minimize the risk of brain injuries in these situations. Some physicians don’t adhere to these standards, however.
- Erb’s palsy: Erb’s palsy is an injury to the nerves of the brachial plexus, which connect the spinal cord to the nerves that coordinate the arm. This injury can cause paralysis and a loss of sensation in the arm, hands and fingers. Erb’s palsy is often the result of inappropriate delivery techniques when an infant’s shoulders are lodged behind the mother’s pubic bone.
- Cephalohematoma: A cephalohematoma is a bruise underneath the soft tissues of the scalp. The injury does not typically impair a baby’s development in the long run, and usually heals on its own. Cephalohematomas are most often caused by inexpert use of forceps or vacuum extraction during delivery.
Preventable birth injuries and certain types of preventable birth defects in the state of Maryland fall under malpractice statutes. Malpractice is the legal term for injuries that happen when a health care professional deviates from professional standards of care, either through negligence or by taking an inappropriate action.
If your obstetrician allowed you to labor for a long time only to rush you in at the last moment for an emergency Caesarian section, that may be an instance of medical malpractice. Additionally, if your physician prescribed certain medications for you during pregnancy that have known teratogenic side effects, that may also be an instance of malpractice.
In Maryland, you must commence legal action in these situations by the time your child reaches 11 years of age. This is a longer period of time than the standard statute of limitations for Maryland malpractice suits, which is five years. There are two exceptions to the 11-year rule. If an injury involved your child’s reproductive system or a foreign body negligently left inside your child’s body, then the statute of limitations extends to your child’s 16th birthday.
Non-economic damages for medical malpractice in the state of Maryland are limited to $665,000. This will rise to $680,000 in 2014.
Call a Maryland Birth Injury Attorney Today
When you and your child are the victim of a birth injury or defect that could have been prevented, you need to learn your options. Call our firm, conduct your free consultation, and learn how a Maryland birth injury lawyer from our firm can help you to receive compensation today.