The initial minutes and days following birth are critical time periods when medical decisions may determine whether a newborn will be healthy or suffer long-term consequences.
Newborns are vulnerable to many conditions and medical issues that can place them at serious risk for permanent disability or death. When the medical team fails to act appropriately and fails to properly identify or treat neonatal problems, the nurse, doctor, or hospital may be held liable for any harm caused to your baby.
The neonatal period can be a critical time, and the attending neonatologist or pediatrician must be vigilant and carefully monitor your baby for warning signs of potential complications. If there is any evidence that the child is in distress, the neonatal team must act promptly to prevent injury or harm.
Medical complications that commonly affect newborn babies include:
- Breathing problems or respiratory distress that require oxygen or intubation
- Improper intubation and resuscitation
- Overventilation from mechanical ventilators or positive pressure ventilation (bagging)
- Brain dysfunction caused by oxygen deficiency (hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy)
- Infections acquired from the mother, most commonly Group B strep or herpes
- Circulatory problems caused by a repairable heart defect or in a vessel leading to or from the heart
- Low or abnormal blood sugar
- Jaundice or high bilirubin levels (kernicterus) due to incompatible blood types during prenatal development
- Meningitis acquired during the nursery stay
Many instances of negligence and malpractice occur because the hospital or ward is understaffed, thus making it close to impossible to pay proper attention to each and every newborn in the neonatal unit. There also might be circumstances where general pediatricians who are not trained to deal with very sick babies are in charge of the nursery and cannot deliver the necessary care. Additionally, nurses may not have adequate training to recognize the signs and symptoms of an impending problem, thus missing a critical window of opportunity to prevent the newborn from becoming ill or permanently disabled.
Sommers Schwartz attorneys have successfully handled numerous neonatal malpractice claims. We have access to specially trained neonatologists, pediatricians, and neonatal nurses who review all aspects of the medical care that were rendered, and if the proper care and support was not provided, we can identify the mistake and hold accountable those responsible for causing harm to your newborn child.