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West Chester Birth Injury Attorney

When a child is injured during birth, the consequences for them and their family can be devastating. Not only will the emotional fallout be significant, but ongoing medical care and costs can be life-changing for all concerned. Finding a West Chester birth injury lawyer who understands these issues and who will fight for fair compensation is essential to help the family navigate an uncertain future.

Sadly, there has been a spike in baby injuries and deaths in the state of Pennsylvania, as noted by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority. In 2022, PSA was notified of 169 “serious events” in neonatal care, representing an approximate 50% increase compared to 2018.

If you have been affected by this issue and are seeking an experienced birth injury attorney in West Chester, be assured that the team here at Wilk Law can light the way. Our compassion and expertise allow us to guide you every step of the way to the compensation you deserve.

What Exactly Is a Birth Injury?

A birth injury is physical harm sustained by a newborn baby before, during, or a short time after delivery. The term may also refer to untreated illness around the time of birth.

Minor injuries around the time of childbirth are common. Some examples are minor bruising as a result of the passage through the birth canal or marks, cuts, or bruising left by forceps or vacuum use.

More severe birth injuries in West Chester, Pennsylvania, may be caused by medical malpractice or negligence. Our birth injury lawyers in West Chester have seen that the risk of serious birth injuries may increase due to certain circumstances, such as:

  • Breech (feet or buttocks first) delivery
  • Reduced blood flow
  • Infection in the baby
  • Oxygen deprivation
  • Diabetes, obesity, or infection in the mother
  • The shape of the mother’s pelvis

Typical scenarios where birth injuries occur are as follows:

  • Forceps delivery: If forceps are not used properly, injuries such as nerve damage, bleeding within the baby’s skull, and seizures may occur.
  • Vacuum extraction: If the attending doctor applies too much suction, complications such as fractured skull, shoulder damage, and bleeding inside the brain can happen.
  • Wrongful birth: This term refers to a doctor failing to tell a woman of the risks and complications associated with their pregnancy that could result in medical issues or disabilities. For example, this could happen when a doctor fails to identify a genetic condition or birth defect before a baby is born.
  • Other causes: Other causes of birth injuries include failing to identify serious medical issues in the mother, wrongful medication of the mother, failing to identify fetal distress, and using too much force during delivery.

How Are These Birth Injuries Happening in West Chester, Pennsylvania?

Medical error, unfortunately, is the third leading cause of death in the United States. In addition, perinatal (occurring around the time of birth) asphyxia is one of the most common causes of infant death and long-term disability. This is despite medical advances in recent years.

The Cerebral Palsy Guidance also says that this condition is the most common type of childhood disability, affecting 500,000 young people under the age of 18. Many cases are linked to difficulties during delivery and birth.

Unfortunately, as West Chester birth injury attorneys, we are aware that these statistics reflect the poor hospital care that results in many neonatal deaths and injuries in West Chester, Pennsylvania, every year.

These errors may occur for a variety of reasons. For example, if delivery is too long, the baby may be deprived of oxygen, and brain damage may occur as a result.

Doctors may misuse tools like forceps or vacuum suction devices, causing injury to or even fracturing a baby’s skull. Or they may not react appropriately to a worsening in the mother’s condition so that treatment is not given in a timely manner.

A West Chester birth injury lawyer from Wilk Law can help investigate such cases, hold the persons responsible for your child’s condition accountable, and ensure that you get a compensation package for your child’s needs for the rest of their life.

Can Medical Negligence Contribute to a Birth Injury?

In many circumstances, medical negligence can contribute to birth injuries in West Chester, Pennsylvania. These are some typical examples of birth injuries and how medical negligence can play a part:

  • Brachial palsy: This is caused by damage to the network of nerves that supplies the arms and hands (brachial plexus). It can happen when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck during delivery (shoulder dystocia). The brachial plexus nerves may get torn in an attempt to get the baby out, causing permanent damage. This means that the child cannot flex and rotate their arm.
  • Bruising or marks from forceps or vacuum extraction: If forceps or vacuum extraction is used to deliver the baby with too much force, this may leave bruising, marks, or cuts.
  • Caput succedaneum: This is swelling of the soft tissues around the baby’s scalp that happens when they transition through the birth canal. If a baby is born with the aid of vacuum extraction, they are more likely to suffer from this condition.
  • Cephalohematoma: This refers to bleeding between the skull and its covering and can appear as a lump on the head. It is caused by pressure on the head, for example by the force of vacuum extraction. The condition may take up to three months to resolve. Some babies may get jaundiced as a result as red blood cells break down.
  • Facial paralysis: Pressure on the baby’s face during birth may cause injury to the facial nerve. The risk is increased when forceps are used. It can mean that there is no movement on the side of the face with the injury and the baby’s eye won’t close. Surgery may be required if a nerve is torn.
  • Fractures: Fracture of the collarbone can occur during delivery — for example, if the baby’s shoulder gets stuck, or using excessive force during a breech birth.
  • Subconjunctival hemorrhage: This is when small blood vessels in the baby’s eye break and show up as a red area in the white of the eye. It can happen when too much force is used during forceps, or vacuum-assisted delivery, for example.

This is just a selection of the many types of birth injuries that can occur. Many other conditions may be caused by brain damage, infection, or nerve damage around the time of birth.

While some injuries are diagnosed around the time of birth, in other cases they may not be identified until months or even years have passed. This is why if you suspect your child may be affected by a birth injury due to a medical professionals negligence it is a good idea to reach out to a birth injury lawyer in West Chester, Pennsylvania, to learn more about your legal options.

What Is the Difference Between a Birth Defect and a Birth Injury?

There is a distinct difference between a birth defect and a birth injury in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

A birth defect is an abnormality that develops when the baby is still in the womb, usually within the first three months of pregnancy. Birth defects may be caused by untreated infections, drug or alcohol abuse, or simply because of a problem while the baby is developing. Examples include cleft lip and palate and heart defects.

A birth injury occurs while a baby is being born. Typical birth injuries include head trauma and bleeding on the brain, often caused by too much force being exerted during delivery. Problems may also occur if the mother’s labor goes on for an excessively long time or the baby is deprived of oxygen at some stage during delivery.

Reach out to a West Chester birth injury attorney at Wilk Law if you have questions about birth injuries or birth defects.

How to Recognize a Potential Birth Injury in West Chester

Usually, there are clear symptoms of a birth injury. These include:

  • A lump or indentation on the baby’s skull, which may indicate a fracture
  • Seizures
  • Broken bones, including fractured collarbone
  • Dislocated shoulder
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Paralysis to the face or one of the baby’s limbs
  • Cuts, bruising, or swelling
  • An area of red in the baby’s eye, indicating a subconjunctival hemorrhage

Other symptoms may be more general but could still suggest a birth injury:

  • Difficulty feeding
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling or difficulty swallowing
  • Wheezing, coughing, or breathing difficulties
  • Prolonged crying along with back-arching
  • Inability to settle

Sometimes symptoms may not be apparent until some time after birth and are only noticed when a child is late to hit key milestones.

If you notice symptoms that could relate to a birth injury, it’s best to see a pediatrician for assessment and diagnosis.

How a Birth Injury Can Impact a Child’s Life

Sadly, birth injuries can often have long-lasting effects on a child’s life.

To help you understand what the impacts are, our West Chester birth injury lawyers have outlined below some common birth injuries and how they affect children long-term:

  • Cerebral palsy: This condition may be caused by untreated jaundice, oxygen deprivation, trauma to the head, or other forms of medical negligence. People with cerebral palsy often require assistance with mobility and physical therapy throughout their lives.
  • Facial paralysis: Too much pressure exerted on a baby’s face during delivery can result in damaged nerves and paralysis. This can mean that the child has difficulty with speech, swallowing, and expressing themselves.
  • Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE): This refers to a lack of oxygen and blood flow during birth and may result in brain damage, seizures, and difficulty with hearing or vision.
  • Brachial plexus injuries: These types of injuries can result in restricted movements and mobility in the area of the spine, shoulders, neck, hands, and arm.
  • Kernicterus: This condition is a result of untreated jaundice. Bilirubin, a substance produced when red blood cells break down, collects in the brain resulting in a range of health issues, which can include brain damage, hearing loss, and seizures.
  • Seizures: Seizures may occur throughout a child’s life as a result of oxygen deprivation or untreated infection.

What to Do If Your Baby Was Injured at Birth in West Chester, Pennsylvania

If you believe that your baby was injured at birth in West Chester, Pennsylvania, be sure to contact a birth injury attorney in West Chester, Pennsylvania. They will investigate the circumstances of your child’s birth on your behalf and determine whether medical negligence has occurred. If so, they will build a case for compensation for your child so that their ongoing medical and therapy needs can be met.

Your legal representative will do this by gathering information and liaising with medical professionals so they can represent you and fight on your behalf.

West Chester, Pennsylvania

If you reside in the West Chester, PA, and have a child impacted by a birth injury, know that help is out there to provide the ongoing medical attention they need.

At Chester County Hospital, you’ll receive a warm and caring welcome. Their Pediatrics and Children’s Health Department provides personalized services, encouraging families to be actively involved in their child’s care.

West Chester Hospital is a proud holder of Magnet® designation for demonstrating consistent excellence in nursing practice. This means that your little one is in the safest hands and will be looked after with compassion and care.

AFC Urgent Care offers walk-in services to patients of all ages, including children aged 1 and over, with no prior appointment needed. The team is there for you and your child, seven days a week.

Contact Wilk Law in West Chester, Pennsylvania

While no parent wishes for their child to be affected by a birth injury, sadly this is a reality for many families.

The team at Wilk Law is here to assist you if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation. You can count on Tyler Wilk, an experienced birth injury lawyer in West Chester, to guide you through the process of gaining the compensation your child deserves.

As a knowledgeable and compassionate attorney, Tyler will take on your case and fight for the package your child needs to live as full a life as possible.

Wilk Law also handles medical malpractice cases, should you require these services.

Whatever your needs, reach out to us today so that we can offer you and your family our expertise and support, every step of the way.