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When a medical practitioner assists in delivering a baby, (s)he must carefully monitor the situation to ensure the type and timing of delivery is in the best interests of a mother-to-be and her newborn.
The practitioner should have a good handle on whether there are any particular risk factors that may complicate delivery – prior to active labour if possible and definitely during labour. For example, risk factors such as multiple fetuses, low birth weight, certain maternal infections or conditions (pelvic cyst, severe hypertensive disease), or fetal diagnoses (such as spina bifida) may indicate a C-section is advisable or necessary. During active labour, a fetus found to be in breech position or one presenting with fetal distress, may also be indications that an emergency C-section is the best course of action.
If a medical provider overlooks these risk factors and proceeds with a vaginal birth, they may be putting their patients at risk of serious harm and debilitating injury. For instance, applying inappropriate force when using extraction tools (vacuums, forceps) during a complicated vaginal birth that could have otherwise been avoided, may result in serious spinal cord injuries, brachial plexus injuries (often from shoulder dystocias), and birth trauma causing scarring, fractures or brain and organ damage.
Obstetrical Malpractice and Common Birth Injuries
Mistakes and accidents can happen to anyone. But if a medical provider breaches standards of practice due to negligence or incompetence and causes serious harm to a mother, her fetus or her infant, it’s called obstetrical malpractice.
Some examples of potential breaches of standard care during the course of a pregnancy include:
- failure to properly administer standard screenings and tests or using faulty tests
- misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis and treatment of a serious medical condition
- poor management of maternal or fetal health
- substandard skill or technique when using tools and medical devices
- inadequate monitoring of the mother and/or newborn following birth
These and other negligent or incompetent actions/inaction can cause or contribute to life-altering birth injuries, including:
- brain damage and related conditions such as cerebral palsy from oxygen deprivation (asphyxia, anoxia or hypoxia), placental insufficiency, maternal or in utero infection and birth trauma. Fetal tachycardia (abnormally high heart rate) is a common sign of fetal distress that may lead to brain damage
- spinal cord injuries, nerve damage, and fractures from undiagnosed conditions, infection or birth trauma
- meconium aspiration syndrome (when a fetus or baby ingests amniotic fluid mixed with first fecal matter it can lead to obstructed airways, damaged organs or infection
- kernicterus, a neurotoxic condition from untreated severe jaundice
When You’ve Been Hurt, There Is Help
If a medical provider assisting with the birth of your child has caused you or your loved one serious harm, you should know you’re not alone. Howie, Sacks and Henry’s knowledgeable and skilled birth injury lawyers are ready and able to to help you in St. John’s.
Consistently named as one of Canada’s top personal injury firms, HSH has developed expertise in handling obstetrical malpractice and can help you navigate this complex area of law.
An HSH birth injury lawyer will be pleased to arrange to meet you in your own home in the St. John’s area or at a nearby consultation office. We strongly believe that distance or your ability to travel should never be a barrier to obtaining high quality legal representation.
With our reputation for client-centred care, you can be confident that we will always see you as more than a file. We bring compassion, empathy and kindness to every client interaction. After listening to your birth story, we’ll outline your legal rights, explain your options and provide advice. The HSH team will also help to facilitate any testing, evaluations or therapies you’ll need for both your case and your rehabilitation and recovery.
No one can change the tragic events of the past; but with our firm as your advocate, we can work to give you hope for the future by making a claim for the financial resources you need and deserve. Trust an HSH birth injury lawyer to be on your side and by your side in St. John’s.
Looking to work with a birth injury lawyer in St. John’s? Contact Us.
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Among the best in Canada
Since 2011, our peers have consistently voted for us as one of Canada’s top personal injury firms in Canadian Lawyer magazine’s annual rankings of the top personal injury boutiques in Canada. With decades of experience helping accident victims and their families, our firm understands the laws that affect your right to compensation because we’ve helped shape those laws in favour of accident victims.
Among the best in Canada
Since 2011 Canadian Lawyer Magazine rated us one of the top personal injury law firms in Canada. Why? With close to 20 years helping accident victims and their families, our firm understands the laws that affect your rights to compensation because we’ve helped shape those laws in favour of accident victims.