Birth Injuries: Injuries to the Mother
As one might expect, the term ‘birth injury’ is most often applied to harm befalling a newborn baby, generally occurring during labor and delivery. However, there is another person who is subject to injuries that can be classified as birth-related: the mother. It is sadly common for women to sustain injuries that can affect quality of life. These injuries are very often actionable; you are not collateral damage.Harm During Pregnancy
While the majority of birth injuries that affect the mother occur at labor and delivery, it is also possible to sustain a birth injury due to inadequate care received while pregnant. A doctor or midwife has a duty of care toward their patient at all points of the pregnancy; failure to provide adequate prenatal care is absolutely a breach of that duty. This falls under the rubric of medical malpractice, but it can also conceivably be called a birth injury. Examples of this type of condition include:
- Preeclampsia and eclampsia: This condition is characterized by high protein in the urine and other signs of kidney problems, as well as nausea, vomiting, vision changes such as temporary blindness, and many other possible symptoms. Complications of preeclampsia include placental abruption, where the placenta detaches from the uterine wall, which can prove fatal to both mother and baby;
- Gestational diabetes: A form of diabetes developed exclusively by pregnant women. If your blood sugar is not properly maintained and checked by your doctor, it can lead to anemia and a tired immune system, which can be less adept at fighting off illnesses; and
- Mental health issues: It is not uncommon for pregnant women to suffer depressive episodes, or even to develop full-blown depression during pregnancy due to massive hormonal shifts. Left untreated, depressive episodes can be fatal in extreme circumstances.
The most dangerous conditions for a mother occur during labor, with the possibility for fatal complications increased. The United States has a surprisingly poor record in terms of maternal mortality, with the number doubling over the past decades, almost quadrupling for black women. This is reflected in the higher numbers of women who die in childbirth as a continuing trend.
Some of the most actionable conditions one can contract during labor include:
- Hemorrhage: Postpartum hemorrhages are sadly common, though they vary in severity. The worst can be fatal to both mother and baby; and
- Infections, such as hepatitis B, toxoplasmosis and bacterial vaginosis: Any infection has the risk attached that it will spread to the baby and cause brain damage, which can lead to hearing loss, intellectual or developmental disabilities, or low birth weight.
Be advised that the mere existence of pregnancy complications does not mean you have sustained a birth injury. A doctor must uphold the prevailing standard of care in treating you - if a similar doctor of like age, experience and talent would have done the same thing, you would have no case, even if you were harmed. It is only if you can show that your care was substandard that you might prevail.Seek a Professional’s Help
As is often the case in life, the best way to know if you have a birth injury case is to consult an experienced legal professional. The understanding and dedicated San Jose medical malpractice attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. know that you just want to get on to life with your baby, but at the same time, you are entitled to your due if you have been wronged. We will fight for the compensation you need to get your family back on its feet. Contact us today via phone at (408) 289-1417 for a first free consultation. We serve San Jose, the Bay Area, and the counties of San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda and Monterey.Sources