Phoenix Labor and Delivery Negligence Lawyers
Representing Arizona families living with birth injuries
Giving birth to a child is hard work. Though it is the most natural process in human history, not all labor and delivery processes go smoothly for all mothers, even under the best of circumstances. When a medical professional makes a mistake, or acts in a negligent manner, however, the complications associated with that negligence are often severe, and can lead to debilitating injuries for those involved.
At Plattner Verderame, P.C., we fight to protect Arizona families whose futures are uncertain because of labor and delivery negligence. Our Phoenix birth injury attorneys have represented countless families in medical negligence claims, and have secured the compensation they need in order to protect themselves. Contact us today for honest counsel and practical guidance about your next steps.
What is labor and delivery negligence?
When a woman enters a hospital or birthing center, or finds an OB/GYN, midwife, or doula she trusts to assist her, that woman expects that her chosen professional will behave accordingly. There is an accepted level of care for labor and delivery, and when the medical professionals fail to uphold that standard, complications can arise that cause harm to the mother and child.
In short, labor and delivery negligence is a form of medical malpractice. Not all mistakes or errors will rise to the level of malpractice, just as not all poor or unwanted outcomes are a result of negligence. However, if the medical professional acted negligently during labor and delivery, and that negligence caused you harm, which resulted in damages, you can make a claim to recoup those damages in court.
Examples of labor and delivery negligence
- Choosing an untested or unproven method for delivery, despite a lack of data supporting this option
- Failing to monitor the mother and/or child for signs of distress
- Failing to appropriately sterilize the room and/or equipment
- Failing to read the mother’s chart and/or medical history
- Making medication errors (types, dosages, etc.)
- Providing too much or too little anesthesia
- Using excessive force when guiding the baby out of the birth canal
- Excessive use of forceps and/or vacuum extraction
- Excessive and/or unmonitored use of labor-inducing drugs like Pitocin
- Failing to perform a C-section in a timely manner
- Being intoxicated or under the influence of controlled substances during delivery
The effects of low birth weight on infant and fetal deaths in Maricopa County
In 2018, there were 450 infant deaths in Arizona; 274 of them were in Maricopa County alone. The second leading cause of those infant deaths, next to congenital malformations, was “short gestation and low birth weight.” Out of the 51,701 births in Maricopa County in 2018, 3,881 of the infants born had a low birth weight – about 7.5 out of every 100 children.
Low birth weight is defined as any birth where the child weighs 5.5 lbs. or less. A low birth weight is likely to contribute to a child’s health problems later on in life; as such, doctors should be carefully monitoring pregnant women who may be pre-disposed to giving birth to a child with a low birth weight. Failure to do so could put mother and child at risk.
Injuries caused by labor and delivery negligence in Arizona hospitals
Labor and delivery negligence can lead to a number of birth injuries and maternal injuries, many of which have lifelong repercussions. Some of the more common injuries include:
- Oxygen deprivation
- Cerebral palsy
- Brachial plexus injuries such as Erb’s palsy
- Skull fractures
- Seizure disorders
- Dangerous drops and spikes in blood pressure
- Maternal hemorrhage
Any of these events can lead to the death of the mother or child. Certain types of injuries, such as oxygen deprivation, can lead to developmental and cognitive disabilities for the child. In the most severe cases, your child may be unable to care for him or herself, require advanced medical technologies (such as breathing tubes or feeding tubes) to survive, or develop additional disorders.
Preeclampsia, hemorrhage, and maternal death and injury
USA TODAY’s explosive expose on maternal deaths and injuries identified two primary causes of concern: undiagnosed and untreated preeclampsia, and maternal hemorrhage. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-related rise in blood pressure; hemorrhage is blood loss.
Using data from more than 500,000 “internal hospital quality records,” researchers found that “fewer than half of maternity patients were promptly treated for dangerous blood pressure that put them at risk of stroke. At some of those hospitals, less than 15 percent of mothers in peril got recommended treatments, the records show.” Overall, the data showed that most hospitals in the U.S. have no clear protocol for tracking blood loss during and after delivery. This loss of blood can lead to strokes and seizures. Failure to quickly diagnose and treat these conditions is a form of postpartum negligence.
In response to the expose, officials in Arizona launched their own investigation into maternal mortality. Per their findings, “Reviewers deemed 89% of the 37 pregnancy-related deaths [between 2012-12015] preventable.”
What can a Phoenix birth injury lawyer do to help me?
If your doctor failed in his or her duties to protect you, and you or your child suffered a catastrophic injury as a result, you can make a claim for compensation. The experienced Phoenix birth injury lawyers of Plattner Verderame, P.C. will examine every element of your case, reviewing any and all medical histories and records, as well as taking witness statements about what occurred on the day you gave birth. We will put together a record of what went wrong and when, to prove that the doctor and/or hospital should be liable for your injuries.
Generally speaking, you have two years to file a medical malpractice claim in Arizona, but there are exceptions to every rule. Depending on the nature of the injuries and circumstances, you may have less or more time to file a claim.
What kinds of damages can I claim in a labor and delivery negligence lawsuit?
Damages fall into two categories: economic, which covers monetary losses, and non-economic, which covers less tangible harms. In Arizona, you can make claims for both:
- Medical expenses
- Future anticipated expenses associated with the injuries
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential
- Pain and suffering
In rare circumstances, you may be entitled to punitive damages, but the state makes these claims incredibly difficult.
Helping victims of labor and delivery negligence in Arizona
Living with the effects of medical negligence is difficult. Choosing the right attorney to fight for your future should not be. Plattner Verderame, P.C. fights for families who have been irreparably harmed by medical professionals in Arizona. We will walk you through the steps of making a claim, and help you find the tools and resources you need to start your new life. To speak with an experienced Phoenix birth injury lawyer, please call 602-783-8793 or complete our contact form.