BIRTH INJURIES IN OKLAHOMA
The birth of a child should be a joyful occasion. Unfortunately, some Oklahoma families have to cope with the heartbreaking realization that their newborn has sustained a birth injury and must then try to grasp how that will affect their lives and the life of their baby. The situation is more devastating when a doctor who you trusted to deliver your baby may have caused a preventable birth injury.
It’s understandable for new parents in this situation to be unsure where to turn or what to do. A good first step is to gather information by speaking with a compassionate Oklahoma City birth injury attorney. We will meet with you and explain your legal options at no charge. We are dedicated to helping families who have been injured as a result of medical negligence.
Birth Injuries and the Law in Oklahoma
Some birth injuries are unavoidable. But a birth injury caused by a preventable error by a doctor or hospital may entitle an Oklahoma family to seek compensation to cover their medical expenses and other losses. Under Oklahoma law, medical negligence occurs when the care provided by a physician or health professional is substandard and leads to a birth injury or death. When a medical providers’ substandard care was the cause of a birth injury, the negligent health care professional may be held liable in a birth injury lawsuit. A doctor, nurse, hospital or birthing center, or other health provider may be held liable for medical negligence.
Oklahoma’s Statute of Limitations for Obstetrician Malpractice
If a pregnant woman sustains an injury caused by medical negligence during the birthing process, she or her family has two years to file a medical malpractice claim under Oklahoma law.
Birth injury cases take time to obtain medical records and review whether a preventable error occurred. It is important to consult with a knowledgeable birth injury attorney as soon as possible if you suspect your baby was harmed by a birth injury.
Answers to Your Birth Injury Questions
Many families who have sustained a birth injury have questions about how to proceed and what to expect. We have compiled a list of common questions.
Preparing for Childbirth in Oklahoma
Consider enrolling in a childbirth class and don’t delay because classes fill up! A childbirth class will help you focus and educate you about the stages of labor and what you should expect.
Make a point to discuss with your doctor his or her philosophy about the use of Cesarean sections and pain management.
Call your health insurance provider before your baby is born and find out how to add your baby to your insurance coverage. It’s good to have a clear understanding of your insurance benefits for delivery and maternity care.
Choosing an Obstetrician
Pregnant women should see a doctor within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy if possible. Seek a doctor who will take the time to listen and answer your questions. Ask friends and family for recommendations. Proper prenatal care early in a pregnancy during the first trimester helps to pinpoint important treatable health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure and improves the chances of a healthy pregnancy.
Approximately 68 percent of women in Oklahoma received prenatal care starting in the first trimester in 2012, according to the Oklahoma Department of Health.
What is a Low-Risk Delivery?
Among the factors that qualify an expectant mother for a low-risk delivery are that the woman has not had a previous Cesarian section, that she is pregnant with one baby who is properly positioned, and that she has not previously delivered prematurely.
What is a High-Risk Delivery?
Certain factors such as an expectant mother’s age and underlying health conditions make her more likely to have a high-risk delivery. A previous C-section, a low birth weight baby, a family history of genetic conditions or a previous baby born prematurely are factors that contribute to a high-risk delivery. If a woman has high blood pressure, diabetes, anemia or epilepsy, these conditions increase the pregnancy risks. Lifestyle choices such as smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or using illicit drugs can be harmful to an unborn child and create a high-risk delivery The delivery risks are also higher for a woman carrying twins or a higher number of fetuses.
Labor and delivery departments at hospitals operate 24 hours a day and are subject to unpredictable surges in demand. A hospital should have in place a perinatal safety program that emphasizes prevention of errors that can cause harm during the delivery process, including birth trauma. Delivery teams should be trained to handle high-risk situations such as emergency Cesarean sections, maternal hemorrhage and shoulder dystocia.
- Failure to recognize signs of fetal distress;
- Failure to complete a Cesarean section when maternal or fetal conditions dictate;
- Failure to monitor vital signs and signs of hemorrhage after a Cesarean section;
- Inappropriate use of labor-inducing drugs such as Oxytocin, forceps or vacuum;
- Failure to control the blood pressure of women with hypertension;
- Failure to resuscitate a depressed newborn infant in distress.
The Impact that a Birth Injury Has on an Oklahoma Family
A baby who has sustained a birth injury will require additional attention and financial resources. The parents of a child who has sustained a birth injury may have to restructure their work schedule around treatments and therapy sessions. The family may face thousands of dollars of unexpected medical bills and rehabilitation costs related to the injury. The parents may feel financial stress, caregiver burnout and have to cope with depression. The challenges of caring for the baby can affect the entire family. You don’t have to carry that burden alone though.
Our compassionate Oklahoma City birth injury attorneys are ready to assist a family with a baby who was harmed as a result of medical negligence.
What You Can Recover from a Birth Injury Malpractice Lawsuit
Oklahoma law entitles the parents of a baby who sustains a birth injury to seek monetary compensation for past and future medical care, reimbursement of lost income, and compensation for emotional distress and pain and suffering.
Oklahoma law limits the amount of non-economic damages that may be recovered in a medical malpractice lawsuit for pain and suffering and emotional distress to $350,000, unless the injury was caused by gross medical negligence or involved a wrongful death.
Talk to an Experienced Oklahoma Birth Injury Lawyer for Legal Help
The experience Oklahoma City medical malpractice lawyers at Burch, George & Germany, P.C. have the resources necessary to help the parents of a child with a disability that was caused by a birth injury.
We are selective about the cases we take. All of our cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means we only receive a fee if clients receive compensation. Find out how we can help you with your Oklahoma birth injury case.