Medical malpractice can happen anywhere. In Illinois, if your baby suffered birth injuries as a result, it can be devastating. You can file a medical malpractice lawsuit, but you must be sure you have a valid claim. You must be able to prove certain elements were in place during your child’s birth.
Did your child suffer a birth injury or is it a birth defect?
In some cases, you may not know if you have cause to file a medical malpractice lawsuit when your baby has suffered injuries. It may be possible that your child sustained either a birth injury or has a birth defect. Some complications during labor and delivery can result in the former, but other complications can result in the latter. For example, a baby can be born with cerebral palsy if he or she was deprived of sufficient oxygen during labor or delivery. However, you must know whether a birth injury or birth defect is affecting your baby. The differences include the following.
- Birth injuries. Birth injuries occur when there are complications during labor and childbirth. They often happen due to improper use of devices used to aid in delivery, such as forceps or vacuum extraction. Most birth injuries result in oxygen deprivation or a head injury.
- Birth defects. Birth defects happen not because of anything the doctor or anyone else did. Instead, they develop during, or even before, pregnancy. Birth defects can be caused by environmental factors, genetics, drug or alcohol use, or even a chromosomal problem.
What are the elements needed to prove medical malpractice for birth injuries?
In order to have a valid medical malpractice claim for birth injuries, you will have to show that certain elements were present during your baby’s birth. You must show that:
- The defendant — a doctor, nurse, or another medical professional or medical facility — owed a duty of care to mother and baby.
- The defendant breached his or her duty of care and did not act in the standard manner that another professional would have reasonably.
- The defendant’s breach of duty directly led to the harm that caused birth injuries to your baby.
Although some birth injuries can be minor and clear up on their own, others are far more serious. Those that are severe can significantly affect your baby’s life and the care he or she will need. As a result, it’s important to protect your rights and fight back.