If you have an infant who suffered brain damage as a result of not breathing soon after birth, that can be a difficult and traumatic experience. It can also be expensive and time consuming. However, if you can prove that your OB/GYN, midwife or another entity was negligent, he or she may be liable for the birth injury, and you may be entitled to compensation.
Although every case varies, here are six signs that your healthcare provider may have been negligent:
1. Your OB/GYN failed to rub the baby after birth.
Although it's incredibly scary when a new born baby isn't breathing, the solution is often relatively simple. Rubbing the baby gently with blankets typically warms him or her up, and as a result, he or she naturally starts breathing. Did your doctor take this critical step? If not, that represents a clear error and possible negligence.
2. Your OB/GYN clamped the cord before rubbing the baby.
In other cases, your OB/GYN may have rubbed the baby, but he or she may have stopped to clamp the cord first. This is not the right order. Instead, the doctor should rub the baby first, and then, if the baby doesn't respond, the doctor should clamp the cord and begin positive pressure ventilation.
In most cases, even after birth, the umbilical cord is still attached to the placenta and is still bringing oxygen to the baby. Ideally, the umbilical cord should not be clamped for several minutes after a healthy birth, and even in risky situations, clamping should be delayed a bit, as indicated above, to improve infant health outcomes.
3. Your OB/GYN didn't perform positive-pressure ventilation.
Positive-pressure ventilation uses a machine or a hand-operated pump to gently press air into the baby's lungs, and this often stimulates breathing. If your doctor skipped this step, it may have delayed the breathing and been a direct contributor to your child's brain damage.
Similarly, if the delivery room wasn't equipped with this equipment, the hospital may be liable for the injury.
4. Your healthcare provider didn't suction the baby's nose.
Another simple step that should be taken if a baby is not responsive is to suction mucus from his or her nose. However, simple steps often get skipped or overlooked in a hectic situation, and if no one suctioned your baby's nose, you may be able to hold the OB/GYN, midwife, nurse practitioner or whomever was facilitating your birth responsible.
5. Your OB/GYN didn't notice umbilical cord abnormalities.
With some birth injuries, the negligence does not happen in the delivery room, but it occurs before hand. As standard practice, most women get ultrasounds during their pregnancies, and during these exams, your doctor should notice the condition of your umbilical cord.
If your doctor fails to notice that you have an abnormality such as a cord that is too long or too short or a knot in your cord, he or she may be responsible for the issues that have occurred as a result. If your doctor had noticed the problem, he or she could have prepared for a risky labor and birth or scheduled a C-section.
6. Your doctor failed to schedule a C-section.
In some cases, a c-section is the safest way to prevent brain damage caused by lack of oxygen. For example, if you have a prolapsed umbilical cord, the cord falls into your vagina during birth. When the baby is passing through the birth canal, he or she may press on the cord, cutting off his or her own supply of oxygen.
To prevent this from happening, your OB/GYN should almost always go to an emergency c-section if you have a prolapsed umbilical cord.
If you have other questions about birth injuries and whether or not your healthcare provider may be liable, contact a birth injury attorney through resources like http://www.snyderwenner.com.