Birth Injuries



The process of giving birth should be a rewarding experience. However, the reality of it is that pregnancy, labor, and delivery are complex medical experiences with many opportunities for mistakes. Many types of birth injuries can occur to the mother and/or child. Injuries to the mother can include preeclampsia, maternal death, anesthesia errors, and cesarean delivery complications. Injuries to the child can affect the brain or muscles, sometimes both. Complications during delivery that affect the child can include birth asphyxia, cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, brachial plexus, cephalohematoma, and brain injury.




It is the responsibility of medical professionals to ensure a safe birthing process for both mother and child by adhering to specific procedures. When said procedures are not properly followed, it can result in devastating consequences.

Medical errors include:

  • Failure to monitor mother and child properly
  • Failure to respond to signs of fetal distress
  • Failure to monitor fetal heart rate
  • Failure to diagnose and treat infections or other medical conditions
  • Improper use of birth tools including forceps and vacuum extraction devices
  • Negligent cesarean delivery
  • Improper medication or dosage


Birth injuries are caused by negligence during the labor and delivery process that results in injuries to the mother or child. These injuries can be minor and treatable. However, these injuries could also cause serious and life-altering challenges.

Birth injuries include:

While some birth injuries, such as minor brachial plexus injuries, bruises or abrasions will heal completely with time, other injuries, such as neurological injuries, may result in long-term complications for the affected child.


Birth injuries are not always able to be fixed. Often, birth injuries result in life-altering conditions. Your child may experience developmental delays and physical challenges.

Birth injuries can cause:

  • Brain damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Paralysis
  • Motor skill difficulties.

While these are treatable conditions, such injuries will remain prevalent throughout the remainder of the child’s life. One must also account for the toll it takes on a parent when it comes to emotional distress and the cost of recovery/treatments.


The process of pregnancy, labor, and delivery should be a joyful experience. However, it is important to be aware of the risks involved throughout the process and understand the potential dangers. Birth injuries are, unfortunately, not an uncommon occurrence.

As reported by Birth Injury Guide:

  • 28,000 children per year and born with a birth injury.
  • Some of the most common birth injuries include Erb’s palsy, cephalohematoma, asphyxia, and cerebral palsy.
  • It is more likely for birth injuries to occur when birth tools are used on mothers between the ages of 25 and 34.
  • Nearly 50% of birth injuries are avoidable by being aware of the risk factors and planning accordingly.
FAQs About Your

Medical Malpractice Case

How do I know if I have a medical malpractice case?
Medical Malpractice is a form of professional negligence that can be committed by any medical professional who is involved in giving care to a patient. To prove medical malpractice, a claimant must show that a doctor-patient relationship existed, that the professional violated the standard of care, and an injury resulted from that violation.    
What is “informed consent” and how does this relate to malpractice?
In Rhode Island, informed consent refers to the conversation a medical professional has with their patient when they explain the proposed course of treatment and its risks. The physician must also offer information for alternative treatments and/or the option of not treating a specific illness. Rhode Island requires a five-part test to decide if there is validity in a medical malpractice case surrounding a lack of informed consent. This test includes: the physician’s explanation of risk was inadequate, the risk was known and withheld by the physician, the risk was a valid concern, and the injury in question was caused by this undisclosed risk.
How can a jury determine if a physician’s actions were negligent?
All medical professionals are expected to abide by a standard of care. A judge is responsible for questions of law. A juror is a trier of fact. While a jury listens to an entire trial, their job is to take the law as described to them by the judge and apply all of the facts and information that were relayed to them through testimony throughout the trial. A jury is then responsible for rendering a verdict based on the law given to them during jury instructions by the judge and their opinion a to whether or not the case presented by the plaintiff meets or exceeds the standard of law as defined by the judge of negligence by the medical professional.
What are examples of medical malpractice?
A licensed medical professional's actions that fall below the standard of care include failure to diagnose/misdiagnosis, failure to order proper testing, failure to recognize symptoms, misreading/ignoring laboratory results, surgical errors or wrong-site surgery, improper medication/dosages, unnecessary surgery, poor follow-up or aftercare, premature discharge, or disregarding or not taking an appropriate patient history.  
How much time do I have to start my case?
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases in Rhode Island is up to three years after the discovery of their medical condition. In Massachusetts, patients are given up to three years from the discovery date if they would not have reasonably known of the malpractice. In Connecticut, patients are given up to two years to file their case.
Do I have any medical rights?
You have the right to:
  • Access information regarding your case that is accurate, easy to understand, and in your language.
  • Access any assistance you may need to understand your medical information.
  • Be involved in decisions regarding your medical treatment.
  • Receive respectful care from any medical professional.
  • Confidentiality regarding your medical care and treatments.
  • Read and copy your medical records to ensure accuracy.
  • File a complaint against any medical staff who treats you.

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