Labor and Delivery Negligence

Most lawsuits arising out of labor and delivery negligence are brought against obstetricians/gynecologists, labor and delivery nurses, anesthesiologists and other medical providers who are alleged to have been negligent in the management of labor and delivery of a child is damaged in the process. Most of these lawsuits do not include claims of negligence in prenatal or postpartum care. Labor and delivery negligence can occur when a physician or medical provider in the labor and delivery process had not correctly monitored the fetus during labor for signs of oxygen deprivation. In addition, cases of negligence occur frequently where there is a preterm delivery.

Labor and delivery negligence lawsuits can arise out of a doctor’s or nurse’s negligence during childbirth. These errors may cause grave injury to the baby and harm to mother. The most common errors associated with childbirth include the physician or obstetricians:

  • Choosing not to anticipate birth complications because of the baby’s large size or because the umbilical cord was tangled.
  • Choosing not to respond to fetal distress that is identifiable by the fetal tracing monitor.
  • Choosing not to order an immediate Cesarean section when it was appropriate.
  • Mishandling the use of forceps or a vacuum extractor.

Labor and delivery lawsuits may arise claiming that the doctors and nurses were negligent in the delivery process that led to the permanent brain injury to the child. Many of these cases are brought years after birth to better identify the level of permanency of the birth injury which could include brain damage and developmental, cognitive and behavioral problems of the child. In some of these cases, the doctors in charge of labor and delivery misread signs and symptoms of fetal distress or are insistent on attempting to induce labor with a synthetic hormone like Oxytocin.

American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) is the governing association regarding the timing of when an emergency Cesarean delivery is required. A C-section delivery is done before the injury occurs can prevent brain damage leading to cerebral palsy or a brachial plexus injury to the child, both of which are most often permanent and debilitating. Many times the medical providers are faced with making immediate decisions. The decisions of action occur most often when the unborn child gives off the signs of fetal distress. That is indicated by the fetal monitoring strips that should accurately size up the baby’s condition during labor. If the child is in distress, the assembly of the C-section team must be immediate and the delivery done as soon as possible. ACOG has guidelines on delivery of a child in distress.

That 30-minute, decision to incision protocol is taken directly from the fifth edition of ACOG’s Guideline for Perinatal Care. It has been cited that once the labor and delivery medical providers believe the baby is in distress because of hypoxia and is bradycardic, the decision to delivery should be made and baby delivered within 30 minutes. Here’s what the guideline says:

Any hospital providing obstetric service should have the capability of responding to an obstetric emergency. No data correlate the timing of intervention with outcome, and there is little likelihood that any will be obtained. However, in general, the consensus has been that hospitals should have the capability of beginning a cesarean section within 30 minutes of the decision to operate.

Even still, the arguments persist as to whether the 30-minute to delivery is realistic. It has been pointed out that at university medical centers, the time it takes to assemble the C-section surgical team and begin the surgery may take longer than 30 minutes. The question is would that timing makes a difference. Undoubtedly where the unborn child is in oxygen deprivation, every second is crucial. The investigation of the fetal monitoring strips, hospital records, nurses notes, physician orders are all essential to determine whether or not the birth injury to the child was caused by medical negligence at this crucial time.

If you or someone you know has a child injured by labor and delivery negligence, please call us for an immediate free consultation. Robert Kreisman of Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Chicago and Illinois birth injury cases for more than 40 years.

Kreisman Law Offices has prevailed in trials and settlements in Chicago, Illinois and surrounding areas and successfully resolved cases for birth injury claims for these many years.

With our years of experience in trying and settling labor and delivery negligence cases and birth injury cases, Kreisman Law Offices provides the best possible services to our clients. Our service is unmatched. Please call us 24 hours a day at (312) 346-0045 or toll free (800) 583-8002 for a free and immediate consultation, or complete a contact form online. There is no charge for a consultation that will include an evaluation of your case.

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