Philadelphia Birth Injury Attorneys
Birth injuries demand a new set of skills from parents — not only that of care for a new child, but also skill at navigating an unexpected set of challenges. These difficulties can be compounded in the event of a bone injury, which can be difficult to identify.
While legal action is often the furthest thing from the mind of the parent of a child in pain, both New Jersey and Pennsylvania law states that birth injury cases must be filed within two years from the date of injury — other states set their statutes of limitations as short as one year for such cases. Hiring an experienced attorney from a firm such as McEldrew Purtell will help parents in such situations dedicate the whole of their attention to what’s most important while ensuring that they are protected from the financial consequences of such an event.
How Do Broken and Fractured Bones Occur in Infants?
In most cases, bone injuries in newborns are preventable; medical professionals attentive to their risk factors and the delivery complications that make them more likely can usually avoid their occurrence. Despite the fact that such attentiveness makes them rare, they are still among the most common birth injuries, affecting 1 out of every 1,000 newborns.
Young bones are both more fragile than adult bones and slower to heal. While light bruising is a normal occurrence during delivery, bone injuries are potentially serious issues which can lead to permanent disability and limited mobility.
How Bone Damage During Delivery Should Be Avoided
The first step to avoiding bone injury during delivery is preventative, and involves noticing risk factors that less experienced medical professionals may overlook. These include:
- Fetus weighing 9 pounds or more (macrosomia)
- Premature birth — babies born preterm have more fragile bodies
- Fetus positioned for breech birth
- Cephalopelvic disproportion (unusual pelvic size and shape in the mother)
Checking for potential problems ahead of delivery is essential for avoiding birth injuries — attentive doctors can choose to deliver via C-section in such cases. When vaginal delivery is chosen, the medical staff must still pay attention to the following complications, ordering an emergency C-section if necessary:
- Prolonged labor
- Dystocia (difficult birth conditions)
- Shoulder dystocia (where the fetal shoulder becomes wedged against the mother’s pelvis or pubic bone)
- The use of birthing instruments, such as forceps or a vacuum extractor
When such warning steps are overlooked, even bone injuries that result from a mother’s contractions may be the fault of the doctor.
Signs of Broken and Fractured Bones in Newborns
It isn’t always easy to tell whether an infant has a hidden bone injury, but the following symptoms are cause for closer inspection:
- Swelling around the affected area
- Constant crying or other signs of pain
- Little or no movement in the affected area
Some signs emerge in the days and weeks following birth:
- In clavicle fractures, the affected side of the shoulder may appear to droop lower than the unaffected side
- Redness and bruising may emerge
- A lump or deformity can appear close to the injury
How to Know if Medical Negligence is Responsible for Your Infant’s Injury
To prove medical negligence, it must be clearly established that a birth injury was the result of a breach of care on the part of the attending physician. In cases of bone injury, this could be reflected in a lack of attention given to risk factors, a delay in ordering a timely C-section or directly causing the injury while delivering the baby.
Most often, establishing medical negligence requires the testimony of an expert medical witness, able to verify that the defendants’ conduct fell short of the accepted medical standard, and that this lapse in care was responsible for the infant’s injury.
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When to Consult with an Experienced Birth Injury Attorney
Any time a child is born with an injury — especially one that can linger like a fractured or broken bone — the best course of action is to consult with an expert law firm like McEldrew Purtell as soon as possible. With 30 years of experience in cases of birth trauma, McEldrew Purtell is well-suited to evaluate the situation and help determine if the injury suffered involved acts of medical negligence or professional malpractice. All birth injury claims are handled on a contingency basis.
To schedule a meeting for a free consultation, fill out our form or call us directly at (215) 545-8800.