Delivery and Neonatal (NICU) Malpractice
Talk to a Tallahassee NICU Injury Lawyer about Your Family’s Legal Rights Following a Birth Injury Diagnosis
Welcoming a new child into your family is supposed to be a joyful experience that you remember for all of the right reasons. But, if a medical mistake made during or after delivery places your child in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), you will remember many aspects of your child’s birth for very different reasons—and you and your family could struggle with the consequences of your healthcare provider’s mistake for years to come.
Approximately one in every 1,000 children born in the United States experiences a birth injury. In many cases, these birth injuries can (and should) be avoided with professional medical care. If your child was placed in the NICU due to a birth injury or received substandard neonatal care, you should consult with a Tallahassee NICU lawyer about your family’s legal rights.
What Parents Need to Know When a Newborn is Placed in Neonatal Intensive Care
Having your child placed in neonatal intensive care can be a confusing, emotionally difficult and scary experience. This is particularly true when your doctor doesn’t explain what is going on or why your child needs intensive care. Unfortunately, many healthcare providers fail to communicate effectively with parents. In many cases, this is because they know they have done something wrong.
If you cannot get the information you need about your newborn’s diagnosis or treatment needs, if you don’t understand what your doctor is telling you, or if you have any concerns about the quality of your newborn’s care, you should consult with a Tallahassee NICU attorney immediately. At Searcy Denney, our attorneys are experienced in representing families in birth injury cases, and we can begin assisting you immediately.
Medical Mistakes Can Result in the Need for NICU Care
Many different medical mistakes can result in the need for neonatal intensive care. This includes mistakes made before, during and after delivery. While many decisions to admit newborns into neonatal intensive care involve risks to the child’s brain, numerous other issues can necessitate emergency medical intervention as well.
Some of the most common medical mistakes and birth injuries that can result in a newborn being admitted to a hospital’s NICU include:
Lack of Oxygen During Pregnancy or Delivery
An adequate and consistent supply of oxygen is critical for the health of a fetus in the womb and the health of a newborn child after delivery. Medical mistakes that result in a lack of oxygen – such as failure to diagnose umbilical cord problems and failure to deliver a baby properly – can lead to potentially serious medical conditions such as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and neonatal encephalopathy (NE).
Failure to Diagnose Heart Problems
Throughout pregnancy, doctors should monitor for a healthy heartbeat and signs of possible cardiac distress. Failure to monitor fetal heart rate, failure to timely diagnose fetal heart problems, and failure to intervene when necessary are all medical mistakes that can lead to complications from bradycardia, tachycardia and other conditions. Depending on the severity of a newborn’s condition, immediate NICU care may be necessary.
Failure to Detect Other Fetal Risks
In addition to lack of oxygen and potential heart complications, failure to detect various other fetal risks can also result in the need for neonatal intensive care. This includes fetal risks such as:
- Cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy
- Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)
- Macrosomia (large for gestational age)
- Reduced fetal growth (small for gestational age)
Failure to Prevent Birth Injuries
In some cases, risks for birth injuries can arise naturally and not as the result of medical mistakes. However, these risks still can (and should) be mitigated with appropriate medical care. As a result, failure to prevent birth injuries can also constitute medical malpractice. For example, in many cases, parents will be able to seek just compensation for NICU stays resulting from:
- Failure to timely recommend a C-section
- Failure to timely perform a C-section
- Failure to prevent shoulder dystocia
- Failure to treat maternal and fetal infections
- Failure to shift a fetus’s position before or during labor
Medical Mistakes in NICUs Can Have Permanent Consequences
In addition to medical mistakes during pregnancy and delivery, newborns can also suffer serious and permanent complications due to negligence in the NICU. When a newborn needs intensive care, even minor mistakes can have severe consequences. Some examples of NICU negligence and malpractice for which parents can seek financial compensation in Florida include:
- Delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose
- Failure to maintain the newborn’s oxygen level
- Failure to treat hypoglycemia, hypothermia, seizures and other conditions
- Failure to treat neonatal infections
- Hospital-acquired infections, including MRSA
- Improper positioning of feeding tubes and IVs
- Medication errors
- Miscommunication between doctors, nurses and other hospital staff
- Surgical errors
- Treatment errors
What to Do if You Suspect Delivery or Neonatal (NICU) Malpractice
If you suspect that your newborn’s condition may be the result of medical malpractice during pregnancy, labor, delivery or neonatal intensive care, you should consult with a Tallahassee neonatal injury lawyer promptly. At Searcy Denney, our lawyers can help you find specialists who can treat your child, and we can thoroughly assess your family’s legal rights. If you have a claim for medical malpractice, we can work with you and your family’s new doctors to build your case, and we can fight for maximum compensation on your family’s behalf.
Coping with a birth injury diagnosis can be extremely difficult, and many parents find themselves feeling unsure of what to do next or where to turn for help. Our lawyers and staff can assist you every step of the way, and we can give you the information and resources you need to move forward with confidence.
Speak with a Tallahassee NICU Injury Lawyer at Searcy Denney
If you would like to speak with one of our Tallahassee NICU injury lawyers about your situation, please call 888-549-7011 or contact us online. Your initial consultation is completely free and confidential, and we do not charge any fees or costs unless we help our clients recover just compensation.