Many birth injury medical malpractice cases center around the concept of negligence. In some cases, the nurses, doctors, or midwives are not proactive enough in detecting, spotting, and treating signs of fetal distress, which means that the baby is not getting sufficient oxygen during labor and delivery.

Proving negligence in a Hudson Valley birth injury case can be difficult, but a qualified medical malpractice attorney is up to the task. An experienced attorney knows what to look for and could call upon reliable expert witnesses to help in court. Call today to schedule a consultation.

Role of Negligence in Birth Injury Cases

Negligence plays a role in birth injury cases. For example, it is very important for the nurses, nurse midwife, or obstetrician to spot signs of fetal distress. This includes signs that come from the baby’s heart rate and the uterine contractions, which the doctor and nurses could obtain from the external fetal monitor wrapped around the mother’s abdomen. If they are not responding timely to this, there is only so long the baby may go without sufficient oxygen before brain damage is caused.

How is a Legal Standard of Care Defined?

To prove a medical professional failed to act with a legal standard of care, one has to determine what the standard of care is relative to the case. The standard of care means the rule that applies in a given situation. Once one identifies that standard of care, the question is whether the doctor and nurses complied with the standard of care.

For example, if the baby’s external fetal monitor is showing signs of fetal distress, meaning that the baby is not getting sufficient oxygen for a prolonged period of time, the standard of care requires that the doctor take action. That action could be an emergency cesarean section to deliver the baby right away. The standard of care in these situations could be to give the mother oxygen or to position the mother on her left side to improve the oxygenation delivery to the baby. It could also involve a scalp electrode in which they could get a more precise measurement of the baby’s heart rate and responsiveness.

How Can it be Proved That Negligence Caused an Injury?

One proves that the lack of care by a doctor resulted in a birth injury by four main criteria: post-birth seizures, abnormally low cord pH value, multi-organ dysfunction, and low Apgar scores. If they have two, three, or four of those factors, it is likely that they are able to prove that the child’s brain damage was caused by lack of oxygen at birth.

Another factor to look into is imaging studies of the baby’s brain. After birth, if the doctors suspect that the baby is not developing normally or is having problems, they would order an MRI or a CAT scan of the brain. The MRI or the CAT scan may show hemorrhaging in the brain, swelling in the brain, and abnormalities in the brain. For example, in cases of kernicterus, the areas of the brain at the base called the globus pallidus would show intense uptake or abnormal signs in those areas. That is a classic finding associated with kernicterus, a form of brain damage caused by excessive bilirubin levels.

Importance of Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses are important when proving negligence in a Hudson Valley birth injury case. To prove the case, one may need at least two types of experts. The two experts essential to the case are an obstetrician and a pediatric neurologist. The obstetrician would testify and give an opinion that the standard of care was violated by the defendant, and the pediatric neurologist would give an opinion that the violation of the standard of care was a substantial factor in causing harm or injury to the baby.

Reach out to a Skilled Birth Injury Attorney

If you need assistance proving negligence in a Hudson Valley birth injury case, you should consult with an experienced attorney. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer understands the legal standards and how to craft an effective case for the local court system. They could stand by you at every step of the process. Call today to discuss your situation and fight for adequate compensation.

Negligence in Hudson Valley Birth Injury Cases