Orlando Birth Injury Attorneys
The birth of a child should be marked by happiness and hope for the future. When a child suffers a preventable birth injury, however, both the parents and the child must live with the physical, emotional, and financial impact of that injury for the life of the child. If a healthcare professional’s negligence caused or contributed to your child’s birth injury, pursuing an Orlando medical malpractice lawsuit is the best way to hold that professional accountable and recover compensation for the injuries suffered by your child.
If you are the parent of a child who suffered a birth injury, you may be entitled to compensation for the physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial hardship you and your child have endured. Time is of the essence, however, because Florida limits the amount of time to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. The Orlando birth injury attorneys at Bailey Fisher are committed to fighting for the rights of children and parents who have suffered because of a preventable birth injury. Let us put our vast resources and extensive experience to work for you to ensure that negligent healthcare providers are held accountable and that your family is fully and fairly compensated for all the injuries you have suffered.
What Are Some Common Birth Injuries?
Under the best of circumstances, when everything goes right, the birth process is difficult and complicated. Until the advent of modern medicine, every childbirth presented a very real risk of death for mother and child. While the risks associated with childbirth have decreased substantially over the last century, problems do still occur. Sometimes, complications during childbirth result in a birth injury to the child. Some of the most common birth injuries include:
- Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral palsy refers to a group of disorders that affect movement, muscle tone, and/or posture. Lack of oxygen to a baby’s brain prior to or during birth can lead to cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy birth injury lawsuits are particularly complicated because to hold a healthcare provider responsible for malpractice, you must prove that the lack of oxygen occurred during the birth process.
- Preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is caused by constricted blood flow causing high blood pressure in a pregnant woman. High blood pressure, in turn, can affect blood flow to the placenta, resulting in reduced oxygen to the fetus. Preeclampsia can put the baby at risk for inhibited growth and preterm delivery, both of which can result in a birth injury.
- Brachial Plexus Injuries. The network of nerves that sends signals from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm, and hand is known as the brachial plexus. If these nerves are stretched, compressed, ripped apart, or torn away from the spinal cord it can cause a brachial plexus injury. This can happen when a baby’s neck is twisted, pulled, or stretched too hard during delivery. Both Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy are caused by brachial plexus injuries.
- Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy. Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), commonly known as “birth asphyxia,” is a non-specific term for brain dysfunction caused by a lack of blood flow and oxygen to the brain. HIE injuries can cause or contribute to cognitive impairment, developmental delay, epilepsy, and cerebral palsy.
- Forceps and Vacuum Injuries. During a difficult birth, healthcare professionals may use forceps or a vacuum extractor to help pull the baby through the birth canal. Excess force during a forceps or vacuum delivery can fracture the baby’s clavicle or skull. Along with facial paralysis from pressure on the baby’s cranial nerves, improper forceps or vacuum use can cause swelling, bleeding, bruising, and infection in a baby.
When Is an Orlando Birth Injury the Result of Medical Malpractice?
Given the complex nature of childbirth, mistakes that cause birth injuries can and do occur. Not all mistakes rise to the level of medical malpractice. If a mistake made by a doctor, nurse, or another healthcare professional involved in the birthing process was preventable, however, it could serve as the basis of a medical malpractice claim.
Medical malpractice is a highly specialized area of personal injury law that is based on the heightened “standard of care” imposed upon hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. Governed by Section 766.102 of the Florida Statutes, the prevailing professional standard of care for a health care provider in Florida is defined as “that level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers.” In practical terms, this means that an injured victim must prove that another healthcare professional with the same training, skills, and experience would not have made the same error or mistake.
Common examples of mistakes made during the birthing process that might violate the applicable standard of care in an Orlando birth injury lawsuit include:
- Failing to recognize fetal distress.
- Failing to properly manage prolonged labor.
- Excessive force is used when using forceps or vacuum extractors.
- Failing to recognize the need for an emergency cesarean section.
- Improper use of Pitocin or Cytotec.
- Failing to diagnose or treat an infection.
- Excessive pressure on the mother’s abdomen during delivery
- Failing to diagnose or act when the mother has toxemia, preeclampsia, high blood pressure, or low blood pressure.
- Failing to properly manage a breech delivery.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Florida Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
The “statute of limitations” refers to the time frame within which an injured victim must commence a lawsuit. Failing to act prior to the end of the statute of limitations can forever bar a victim from pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit. In the State of Florida, the applicable statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit is found in Florida Statute Section 95.11(7)(b) which only allows a victim two years from “the time the incident giving rise to the action occurred or within two years from the time the incident is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence.”
While Florida’s medical malpractice statute of limitations does allow the clock to start ticking when the incident is discovered or should have been discovered, the law also places an upper limit of four years (known as a “statute of repose”) from the date of the incident or occurrence out of which the cause of action accrued, except in an action brought on behalf of a minor on or before the child’s eighth birthday. In other words, in a birth injury lawsuit, the four-year maximum limit does not apply if the victim has not yet reached his/her eighth birthday; however, the two-year limit from the date of the incident or the date of discovery does still apply. For example, imagine that your child was born with a birth injury but you were unable to discover any evidence of a mistake made during the birthing process until your child was five years old. You would have two years from the date of discovery to initiate legal action.
How Can Orlando Birth Injury Attorney Help Me?
Discovering that your child suffered a birth injury is a traumatic event. Sadly, it is often followed by the realization that your child may face a lifetime of physical and emotional pain as well as the need for expensive and ongoing medical treatment. At Bailey Fisher, we understand what you are going through and the difficult road you face in the future. Let an experienced Orlando birth injury attorney at Bailey Fisher help identify the negligent party or parties and hold them accountable. We are dedicated to ensuring that negligent healthcare professionals compensate birth injury victims for the physical, emotional, and financial injuries they have suffered.
Call us at 407-628-2929 or submit our online form today. One of our experienced Orlando birth injury attorneys will evaluate your case for free and advise you on the next steps.