Can You File a Lawsuit in Arkansas if Your Baby Needs Surgery for Birth Injuries?

After giving birth, the last thing that you want to hear is that your newborn child has health complications or needs to undergo surgery.  This can be incredibly stressful and trying, but hopefully the surgeries your child needs are beneficial and help your child recover from their condition.  However, the fact that your child needs additional surgery or medical care after birth might be an indication that something went wrong during the delivery and that your doctor may have been responsible for birth injuries or complications. Arkansas birth injury lawyer Ken Kieklak discusses some of the potential complications that might need surgical intervention after birth and how you may be able to sue for medical malpractice with the help of our Arkansas personal injury lawyers.

Why Would My Baby Need Surgery for Birth Injuries?

Ideally, every baby would be delivered safe and health.  Unfortunately, many newborns suffer from health complications or developmental problems that need surgery to repair.  Thousands of children undergo neonatal surgery after birth to fix a wide range of problems – but not all of these issues occur naturally.

Many health issues your baby faces could, in fact, be the result of genetic issues that you or the other parent may have had when you were a child, too.  Moreover, other issues stem from developmental issues in the womb, and there is little that can be done to prevent these issues.  Hopefully, with proper prenatal care and monitoring, your doctor can help plan for this kind of treatment and prepare you for your child’s surgery and healthcare so that there are no surprises.

Another group of health issues involves birth injuries that need immediate medical attention to try to reverse the effects of the injury or repair the harm done.  Especially if the baby is big or the mother’s birth canal is narrow, difficult childbirths can result in injury to both the mother and the baby.  In many cases, it is up to the doctor to make the call as to when the delivery is unsafe and turn to emergency delivery with forceps or to turn to an emergency C-section to get the baby delivered safely.  Sometimes, the doctor’s errors or mistakes during this process can actually cause the injuries.

Birth injuries might be the doctor’s fault if their care fell below the applicable standards of care that a reasonable doctor should provide.  This commonly includes injuries such as the following:

  • Forceps injuries causing crushed skulls, skull fractures, infant bruising, facial paralysis and brain damage
  • Brachial plexus injuries from cramping the child’s arm during delivery
  • Suffocation and brain injuries from umbilical strangulation or a delayed delivery
  • Injuries from medication used to induce labor
  • Injuries from dropping or mishandling the child
  • Internal injuries from unnecessary pressure on the baby

Can You Sue for Neonatal Surgery for a Newborn?

The fact that your baby needs surgery is not, by itself, enough proof that your doctor did something wrong.  The way that your baby develops in the womb depends on many factors, and many of them are uncontrollable.  Many babies are born with “birth defects” that the doctor cannot do anything to prevent but may be able to repair with quick surgery.  In these kinds of cases, a lawsuit is likely unnecessary because the doctor’s care and treatment were in your child’s best interests.  However, if your doctor made mistakes or errors that contributed to your child’s injuries and required additional surgery, you can certainly seek justice for the doctor’s negligent care.

Physicians are held to strict standards of care based on what other reasonable physicians in their situation would have done.  If your doctor’s skill or decisions fail to meet that standard, you are generally entitled to damages for any harm or injuries that their negligent care caused you or your baby.  When a doctor carelessly handles a newborn or causes injuries with forceps when forceps are unnecessary, you should be entitled to sue them for those mistakes.

When you file a lawsuit for birth injuries, you can seek damages for any subsequent medical care related to the injury.  This means that the surgery your child needs after being born should be paid for by the doctor that caused the injuries that made that surgery necessary.  In addition to the medical care costs, you should be entitled to any other costs you and your child incurred because of the negligent care, such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, medical devices or implants, and ongoing or future medical bills.

Your child and your family will also typically be entitled to damages for pain and suffering.  This pays your child back for the physical discomfort of the injury both now and into the future.  It also covers the mental/emotional side of the injury, which can cause especially high damages if the injury caused a permanent medical condition.

If your child suffered a permanent disability or condition, they might also face issues in the future regarding work and wages.  Any reduced earning capacity that your child faces compared to a person without disabilities should also be claimed as part of a birth injury lawsuit.

Call Our Fayetteville Medical Malpractice Lawyer for a Free Consultation

If your child suffered birth injuries and required surgery soon after they were born, you may be entitled to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against your doctor.  For a free legal consultation and more information about your potential claim, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, today at (479) 316-0438.  Our Fayetteville AR personal injury lawyer offers free legal consultations on injury cases.