In Maryland last week, attorneys for both sides in the wrongful death suit of Baby Caleb rested their cases. Caleb Taylor’s obstetrician, Dr. Jason Evans, is accused of negligence during the baby’s delivery in 2004. The prosecution claims that Dr. Evans waited too long before performing a c-section on Caleb’s mother Casey. A jury will be asked to determine the amount of compensation for the suffering and loss caused by Caleb’s death. He was born with severe complications and died nine days after his birth. The defense claims that Evans could not perform the c-section until the anesthesiologist arrived at the hospital.
The state of Maryland has a wrongful death cap of $885,000.
A birth injury or trauma is an injury that happens to a baby during birth. A delay in delivery of a baby can cause profound injury to a child due to oxygen deprivation. These injuries include damage to the brain, cerebral palsy, erbs palsy, and other physical and neurological injuries.
Other common birth injuries:
· Caput Succedaneum:
Caput is a severe swelling of the soft tissues of the baby’s scalp that develops as the baby travels through the birth canal. Some babies have some bruising of the area. The swelling usually disappears in a few days without problems. Babies delivered by vacuum extraction are more likely to have this condition.
Cephalohematoma is an area of bleeding between the bone and its fibrous covering. It often appears several hours after birth as a raised lump on the baby’s head.
· Bruising/Forceps Marks:
Some babies may show signs of bruising on the face or head simply as a result of the trauma of passing though the birth canal and contact with the mother’s pelvic bones and tissues. Forceps used with delivery can leave temporary marks or bruises on the baby’s face and head. Babies delivered by vacuum extraction may have some scalp bruising or a scalp laceration (cut).
· Subconjunctival Hemorrhage:
Subconjunctival hemorrhage is the breakage of small blood vessels in the eyes of a baby. One or both of the eyes may have a bright red band around the iris. This is very common and does not cause damage to the eyes. The redness is usually absorbed in a week to ten days.
· Facial Paralysis:
During labor or birth, pressure on a baby’s face may cause the facial nerve to be injured. This may also occur with the use of forceps for delivery. The injury is often seen when the baby cries. There is no movement on the side of the face with the injury and the eye cannot be closed. If the nerve was only bruised, the paralysis usually improves in a few weeks. If the nerve was torn, surgery may be needed.
· Brachial Palsy:
Brachial palsy occurs when the brachial plexus (the group of nerves that supplies the arms and hands) is injured. It is most common when there is difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder, called shoulder dystocia. The baby loses the ability to flex and rotate the arm. Many cases of brachial palsy resolve spontaneously in 24 hours or less and splints or therapy are not necessary in these cases. If the injury caused bruising and swelling around the nerves, movement should return within a few months. Tearing of the nerve may result in permanent nerve damage.
Fracture of the clavicle or collarbone is the most common fracture during labor and delivery. The clavicle may break when there is difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder or during a breech delivery. The baby with a fractured clavicle rarely moves the arm on the side of the break. However, healing occurs quickly. As new bone forms, a firm lump on the clavicle often develops in the first 10 days. If the fracture is painful, limiting movement of the arm and shoulder with a soft bandage or splint may be helpful.
The personal injury law firm of Lebowitz and Mzhen represents clients in the Maryland and Washington D.C. areas that have lost a loved one due to the negligent conduct or behavior of another person and wish to file a wrongful death suit. The firm also has a successful record of handling birth injury cases that arise as a result of an obstetrician’s improper delivery of a newborn. Contact Lebowitz and Mzhen for more information.
Baby Caleb’s Wrongful Death Suit Leads To Jury, Wmdt.com, October 26, 2006
Wrongful Death Lawsuit Continues For Second Day, Wmdt.com, October 24, 2006
Wrongful Death Caps, Hurt911.0rg
Birth Injury, Lucy Packard Children’s Hospital
Related Web Resource:
Statistics About Birth Injury, Wrongdiagnosis.com