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Birth Injuries

A birth injury is anything that harms a newborn baby as a result of medical complications; such complications may happen during the delivery or during the pregnancy. Generally, birth injuries are caused by medical malpractice resulting from a doctor’s negligence, conduct, or decision-making.

Birth injuries include essentially any medical condition that hurts a newborn, including but not limited to:

  • Subconjunctival Hemorrhage (also known as broken blood vessels);
  • Cerebral Palsy;
  • Oxygen Deprivation;
  • Facial Paralysis; or
  • Diabetic Retinopathy.

The severity of the medical complication may vary greatly depending on what occurred. Therefore, it may take longer to recognize that there was medical malpractice.

Iowa Birth Injury Attorney

At McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.,  our Iowa personal injury attorneys understand how devastating the circumstances can be for the parents of an injured infant. If your child has suffered a birth injury, we can fight for your family to receive the compensation you deserve and any long-lasting damages you may incur. Allow us to be your partner in your child’s recovery and make sure the responsible parties are held accountable.

McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. has offices in West Des Moines but accepts clients throughout the greater Polk County and Dallas County area. Contact our lawyers today at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. by calling (515) 279-9700.

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Information Center

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Symptoms Of Birth Injuries

The following symptoms should be watched for because they may indicate that medical malpractice occurred during the child’s birth or while the mother was still pregnant. The symptoms include but are not limited to the following:

  • Dislocated shoulders;
  • Limp or weak limbs;
  • Paralyzed muscles generally in the newborn’s face;
  • Bruising;
  • Swelling;
  • Severe breathing problems;
  • Coughing;
  • Wheezing;
  • Vision loss;
  • Lack of hearing;
  • Eating problems;
  • Constipation; and
  • Vomiting.

The above symptoms may indicate other medical issues, so it is essential to keep an eye on and consult a doctor independent of the hospital that delivered the baby to ensure an unbiased diagnosis. In some situations, a birth injury does not present for years after the birth of the child.

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Causes Of Birth Injuries

Birth injuries may be caused by a doctor’s medical malpractice or during the pregnancy and may result from the following:

  • A botched Cesarean section procedure.
  • Poorly administered epidural.
  • Prescribing harmful drugs to a mother during their pregnancy.
  • Harming the fetus during an internal procedure on the parent.
  • Failing to react appropriately to signs of fetal distress.
  • Failing to perform a genetic test when required or requested.
  • Failing to inform parents of the risk of a genetic defect.
  • Using unreasonable force during delivery resulted in an injury to the child.

Any of the above and more may be considered medical malpractice resulting in liability for the injuries sustained to the child.

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Medical Malpractice Liability Relating To Birth Injuries

If a doctor, nurse, or hospital did not provide an adequate standard of care to a child or parent, resulting in birth injuries, they would be found negligent and, therefore, liable for damages. In addition, when medical malpractice occurs, the medical personnel and the hospital that hired the medical personnel may be liable for the damages resulting from the medical malpractice.

The Hospital

Generally, if medical negligence occurs within the hospital because of the actions of their employees, the hospital may be found negligent. However, sometimes the plaintiff may be found negligent for failing to train their medical staff, making bad hiring decisions, or making mistakes in the emergency room.

The Physician

Generally, in a medical malpractice lawsuit, the primary physician is the individual who is liable for damages to the plaintiff because they were responsible for performing the procedures or prescribing the wrong medication or dosage.

Other Medical Personnel

There are a number of other medical professionals that may be encountered in a hospital that may be negligent. Therefore, every individual who has negligently encountered the plaintiff may be named in the lawsuit along with the hospital.

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Damages In A Birth Injury Case

The victims of birth injuries, the parents and the children, may suffer huge losses at no fault of their own. As a result of the loss, the plaintiffs may be entitled to compensation that is placed in two categories – economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages include but are not limited to the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Cost of future medical care
  • Child’s reduced capacity due to their medical condition

Whereas non-economic damages may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of the enjoyments of life
  • Physical pain
  • Emotional distress

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Damages Cap

Under Iowa law, a cap on non-economic damages is currently set at $250,000. However, a few exceptions will allow someone to receive more than $250,000 in non-economic damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The exceptions are as follows:

  • Substantial or permanent loss or impairment of bodily functions
  • Disfigurement

There is no cap on economic damages because they are the damages that are actually incurred due to medical malpractice.

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Statute Of Limitations Concerning Birth Injury Cases

The statute of limitations requires that a lawsuit be filed within a specific amount of time after an incident and varies depending on the claim being brought. For example, in the case of medical malpractice and wrongful death, the statute of limitations is generally two years. This means that if someone has two years to bring a lawsuit after the date on which the child is injured, it will likely be dismissed or thrown out. However, there are certain circumstances in which an individual has more time to file a lawsuit. For example, as discussed, a birth injury is sometimes not discovered until years after the injury was actually sustained. Therefore, the statute of limitations will not begin to run until the injury is discovered.

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Additional Resources

Birth Injury Center: This website provides more information concerning birth injuries and how to handle medical complications.

Iowa Public Health Tracking: This website provides more information concerning injuries in Iowa.

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West Des Moines Birth Injuries Lawyer | Polk County, Iowa

If your infant has suffered a birth injury, it is imperative that you retain an attorney who has years of experience in personal injury law. Thankfully, the attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. are aggressive in the courtroom and compassionate to their clients.  We cannot undo your child’s pain. However, we can hold the liable parties responsible.

McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. practices throughout the greater Polk County and Dallas County area including Perry, Waukee, De Soto, Johnston, Altoona, Polk City and West Des Moines. To schedule your first initial consultation with McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C., call (515) 279-9700 as soon as possible.

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