Childbirth is a process that can be risky to the mother and infant. There are many medical challenges. The best circumstances for any childbirth involve medical experts providing full support. When medical experts provide full support, it eliminates the risk of almost all serious threats, but mistakes still occur. For example, forceps or vacuum extraction can cause mild to severe birth injuries to a baby.
Delayed delivery occurs when a delivery operation needs to happen for a birth, but the procedure is delayed or pushed back. Delayed delivery usually occurs in emergencies and often involves a cesarean delivery that needed to happen but didn’t. Delayed deliveries can create medical risks for both the mother and the infant. In some cases, birth injuries can occur, especially those related to a lack of oxygen to the infant.
Some cases can lead to long-term medical conditions such as cerebral palsy and other conditions. In other instances, if the delivery is delayed too long, it can result in a wrongful death situation.
A baby that stays in the birth canal for more than 18 hours is the same as a baby in medical distress. The longer a baby stays in the birth canal, the greater the risk of medical threats to the baby.
Delivery may take dozens of hours, but any instance in which delivery takes longer than is healthy or safe can seriously harm a baby. During delayed births, a baby can suffer birth injuries. One of the worst injuries a baby can experience is oxygen deprivation.
Any sort of physical manipulation can lead to problems. Failure to properly monitor the baby during delivery can cause injuries, and delayed delivery can also cause serious risks.
What Are the Risks Involved With Delayed Birth?
A baby in the birth canal for 18 hours or longer is considered fetal distress. There is a tremendous amount of pressure inside the birth canal that can compress a baby’s organs. While the baby is designed to survive such pressures on the brain, spine, lungs, and organs, it is not meant to be endured for more than a few hours. Any longer and a lack of oxygen may cause serious medical issues.
One major risk of delayed birth is brain damage. The most common birth injuries due to delayed births are brain-related injuries, such as cerebral palsy, Autism, and Asperger’s syndrome. There is also a risk of spina bifida, hematoma, and umbilical cord prolapse. During umbilical cord prolapse, the umbilical cord passes through the cervix before the baby does.
What Are the Symptoms Caused by Delayed Birth?
When a delayed birth occurs, a medical team should immediately monitor the baby for any signs of distress or injury. While signs of lack of oxygen, bruising, and broken bones may be obvious, a brain injury may be difficult to diagnose right away.
Parents and medical experts must look for signs of neurological and brain damage. Brain damage may lead to serious developmental disorders and delays. The inability to move the limbs, an inability to suckle, excessive vomiting, and unnaturally harsh crying are all indicators of a birth injury.
What Are the Causes Associated With Delayed Delivery?
It isn’t well understood what exactly causes a pregnancy to last longer than others. In some cases, it is the result of a miscalculated due date. There are several risk factors that make delayed delivery more likely, such as:
- A family history of delayed delivery
- A child with a pelvic disproportion
- Shoulder dystocia
- Maternal diabetes
- An overly small maternal pelvis
- An abnormally shaped maternal pelvis
- Labor dystocia
- Maternal glucose intolerance
- Maternal obesity
- Having a male child
- Advanced maternal age
- A cervix that does not properly dilate
- Overdue pregnancy
- Maternal spondylolisthesis, a condition where the bone in the spine dislocates and resets on the bones below it
- Maternal history of pelvic trauma
- Deformities of the pelvis or tailbone
- Pelvic bone tumors
- Softening of the pelvic bones
- Fibroid tumors in the uterus
- Excessive maternal weight gain during pregnancy
- Unusual positioning of the child within the womb
- Having delivered previous children with an undiagnosed pelvic disproportion
- A large baby
- A mother who is shorter than 5’3
- Maternal exhaustion
- Maternal drug use
- Maternal dehydration
- Uterine contractions that aren’t strong enough
- Improper usage of labor-inducing medications
- Severe pain during labor
Delayed delivery might be signaled by less than three contractions within ten minutes, a change in cervical dilation, or little to no change in the baby’s progression into the birth canal after three hours of pushing despite a fully-dilated cervix.
Who Can be Held Liable for a Delayed Delivery Injury?
If any birth injury is suspected in a child who was the victim of a delayed birth, a medical team will likely run a host of imaging tests and diagnostics. The medical team will look for neurological problems, issues in the brain, metabolic issues, and more.
If a baby is diagnosed with a major brain injury, it means they will require extensive care.
In many cases, delayed delivery injuries result from some form of medical misdiagnosis or diagnosis error. There is usually some sort of error involved regarding the decision not to proceed with a cesarean delivery or induced labor delivery. In such cases, a medical professional such as a physician can be held liable for medical malpractice.
In other cases, a delayed delivery situation can result from faults or defects with medical equipment. For instance, if a piece of equipment failed to detect a condition that would require a cesarean, the manufacturer of the equipment might be held liable based on a product defect legal theory.
Lastly, hospital administration and nursing staff can sometimes be partly liable for a delayed delivery injury. An example of this is when the nursing staff failed to pass on vital information to a surgeon or other medical professional who could perform the delivery procedure.
Most birth injuries are avoidable, including those due to a delayed birth. Medical expertise can and should prevent delayed birth injuries. The failure to do so may be cause for a malpractice case.
What are the Legal Remedies for Delayed Delivery Birth Injury Cases?
Delayed delivery birth injuries can result in severe, long-term medical conditions in the child. These injury claims can result in a lawsuit where the injured party might receive a monetary damages award. The damages will likely cover losses such as medical bills, additional treatment costs, and loss of future earning capacity.
Some injuries connected to birth injuries or delayed delivery issues may not surface until much later when the child is older. In such cases, courts may require the use of a medical expert to determine the extent of the injuries and the extent of the damages award.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Delayed Delivery Lawsuit?
Delayed delivery birth injury lawsuits can involve some complex laws and filing requirements. You may need to hire a birth injury lawyer in your area if you need help with a delayed delivery claim. Your attorney can represent you in court and provide you with guidance and legal advice during the process. Consider using LegalMatch’s services to find a personal injury lawyer and schedule a free consultation today.