Labor can be challenging for both the mother and the fetus. It can be emotionally traumatic to go through a difficult labor, and the trauma is made worse by the prospect of the enormous bills associated with permanent birth injuries. A failure to abide by the professional standard of care during labor can result in injuries such as cerebral palsy, brain damage, shoulder dystocia, episiotomy injuries, and forceps injuries. If your newborn was harmed in one of these ways, Knoxville labor negligence lawyer Mark Hartsoe at the Hartsoe Law Firm may be able to help.Injuries Caused by Labor Negligence
A doctor or nurse may be professionally negligent during labor in many ways. Issues that we will consider include whether there was a failure to monitor that caused the birth injury. For example, if nurses fail to pay attention to fetal monitoring, an important sign may be missed, causing birth injuries. A fetus that suffers from asphyxia will usually show some signs of distress, and nurses and doctors should respond accordingly. An obstetrician's failure to perform an emergency C-section after being told about certain distress could also cause birth injuries. For another example, an Rh incompatibility that is not anticipated or not treated during the pregnancy could cause birth injuries.
Sometimes a laboring woman has more than five contractions in 10 minutes, which is tachysystole. A fetus needs time to recover from each contraction, and too many can cause a fetus to suffer from acidosis or hypoxia. Sometimes the cause of tachysystole is a health care professional administering too much Pitocin.
A labor negligence attorney in the Knoxville area will need to establish that the defendant doctor or nurse owed you a duty to abide by a professional standard of care during labor, this duty was breached, and the baby suffered injuries as a result. In some cases, the defendants will argue that there was some other cause of the injuries than the labor negligence. For example, if you had gestational diabetes, and your child ended up with cerebral palsy, the defendants may argue that the true cause of the injuries was the gestational diabetes, rather than anything that was done or not done during labor.
Your attorney likely will need to retain one or more experts. In most cases, expert testimony is necessary to establish what the defendant's duty of care was, that there was a breach, and that the breach caused the birth injury. Your Knoxville labor negligence attorney will need to retain an expert even before the case is instituted to review your medical records and other evidence and to make sure that there is a reasonable basis to sue. In Tennessee, there are several procedural requirements that have been put in place for medical malpractice claims to make it more difficult for weaker claims to be filed against a health care provider. Plaintiffs must file a certificate of merit along with their complaint. It requires us to certify that we have consulted and asked for a signed written statement from an expert who says that your case has merit.
Damages that we may be able to recover if labor negligence caused your baby's injuries include economic and noneconomic losses. These could cover past and future medical bills, occupational therapy, physical therapy, modifications to a home or car, counseling, and in-home care. It may also be possible to recover noneconomic damages, including those for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of activities, and loss of companionship.Seek Representation from a Labor Negligence Lawyer in Knoxville or Beyond
If your newborn suffered a birth injury due to labor or delivery negligence in East Tennessee, you should consult an experienced attorney about whether you may have a claim. We can advise you on whether we should bring a birth injury lawsuit on your behalf. Call the Hartsoe Law Firm in Knoxville at (865) 524-5657 or contact us through our online form. We also represent families in Clinton, Oak Ridge, Alcoa, Louisville, Maryville, LaFollette, Tazewell, Newport, Crossville, Jamestown, Rutledge, Greeneville, Morristown, Chattanooga, Dandridge, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Madisonville, Lenoir City, Loudon, Athens, and other areas of Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Cumberland, Fentress, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hamilton, Jefferson, Knox, Monroe, Loudon, McMinn, and Bradley Counties.