Birth Injuries

Choosing a Qualified Boston, Massachusetts Birth Injury Attorney

Birth injury, or birth trauma, may occur during or after the delivery of a child. About two million birth injuries occur each year in the United States. Some of these injuries resolve quickly and are easily treatable, such as jaundice and minor bruising. Other birth trauma is more serious, can be life-altering, and may result in developmental delays, neurological injuries or death.  If your child has suffered a birth injury, please contact one of our Massachusetts birth injury and medical malpractice attorneys today. We have over 85 years combined experience handling medical malpractice and birth injury cases at Boston hospitals and other facilities throughout the state.

What causes birth injuries?

Delivering a baby is an extremely delicate process, and complications can result from any number of factors, such as:

  • Baby's size and weight. Challenges are more common in babies weighing more than eight pounds, 13 ounces, or delivered at less than 37 weeks.
  • Baby's position. Babies delivered in a "breech" position -- where the legs and buttocks are presented first -- are more likely to result in birth injury.
  • Prolonged and Difficult Labor. Medically called "dystocia."
  • The Mother's Pelvis. Cephalopelvic disproportion is a condition in which the size or shape of the mother's pelvis is not adequate for vaginal birth. Oftentimes these factors should be identified before the child is born, during a thorough course of prenatal care. For example, a sonogram can reveal birth weight, pelvic size/shape, and the position of the baby. If a physician failed to identify these issues during pregnancy, and the result was a serious birth injury, he or she could be liable.
Other mistakes can be made in the delivery room, as well, that cause birth trauma. Some of these include:
  • Excessive or improper use of force, and/or misuse of forceps or vacuum extractor during delivery
  • Failure of a midwife to seek assistance of a physician
  • Failure to respond to fetal distress, and/or delay in performing a cesarean section when necessary
  • Failure to respond to umbilical cord entrapment
  • Failure to properly intubate (insert a tube) a newborn requiring oxygen.
What types of permanent effects can birth trauma have?

Below is a list of birth injuries that can lead to long-term side effects and life-changing medical issues, such as nerve and brain damage, and developmental disorders, including:

  • Brachial plexus palsy, Erb's palsy, and Klumpke's palsy. The nerves, called the "brachial plexus", which run from your neck down to your fingers, can be injured at birth when excessive traction (pulling) is applied to the head or neck. This causes the arm to be fully or partially paralyzed.
  • Cerebral palsy. This term refers to a range of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood that permanently affect body movement and muscle coordination.
  • Mental retardation
  • Bruising, surface injuries, cephalohematoma, and brain injuries. More common with forceps delivery or vacuum extraction.
  • Group-B Strep disease. Can result in sepsis, pneumonia, or meningitis for several months after birth.
  • Kernicterus. A progressive type of brain damage that can develop in infants who suffer from untreated, severe jaundice.These injuries can range in severity. Some may require physical therapy and surgery, while others may require a lifetime of tutors, aides and private nursing care.
How do I know if I have a claim?

Deliveries can be unpredictable, and not every birth injury is preventable. However, if a physician is negligent in providing prenatal care, or makes a medical error during or after the delivery that results in serious injury to the infant, than he or she can be held responsible for medical malpractice, and monetary damages can be assessed.

How much time do I have to bring the claim?

It's important to remember that the statute of limitations in Massachusetts is three years. However, there is a modified statute of limitations for children under the age of six. The statute may be up to six years, but for a minor under the age of six, the suit still must be brought by his or her ninth birthday. The statute of limitations for minors is complicated, and an attorney should be promptly consulted about the limitations under Massachusetts law.

I think I might have a claim. What should I do next?

To make a clear determination about whether or not you have a meritorious claim, our team will need to thoroughly review relevant medical records and consult with qualified medical experts. For advice about how to access and obtain copies of your previous medical records, click here.

A successful action can provide your family with reimbursement for past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and even the cost of future care for your child. If your child has suffered from a serious birth injury that has caused a permanent medical condition, or death, don't hesitate to call us for a free consultation. Our toll free number is 800-379-1244, 617-723-7676 or use our contact form. We look forward to helping you and your family.

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