Did you or your baby suffer an injury because of the negligence of an obstetrician-gynecologist (OBGYN)?
The Cincinnati OBGYN malpractice lawyers at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy can review your situation in a free, no obligation legal consultation. If we determine you have a case, we may be able to file a lawsuit to pursue compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages.
Our trusted attorneys know how devastating doctor malpractice can be for infants and their families. In addition to long-term medical expenses, families often deal with a variety of other psychological and emotional issues caused by the injury. This is why we are committed to thoroughly investigating your case to determine the full value of your damages.
What Is Obgyn Malpractice?
OBGYN malpractice is any type of medical malpractice that occurs during pregnancy, childbirth or the postpartum period after the child is born.
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional, such as an OBGYN, fails to provide health care that meets accepted medical standards for the situation, resulting in the mother or her baby suffering an injury. For example, maybe the health care professional in question did not perform a C-section when it was medically necessary, causing the baby to suffer brain damage.
Any medical professional who makes a decision or does anything else to participate in the treatment of a pregnant woman and her baby could potentially be held liable for medical malpractice. Your Cincinnati OBGYN malpractice attorney needs to prove the medical professional failed to meet accepted medical standards and this caused the mother or her baby to be injured in some way.
Types Of Obgyn Malpractice
The Cincinnati lawyers at our firm take cases involving many types of OBGYN malpractice, such as:
Misdiagnosis/Failure To Diagnose
Health care professionals could be held liable for failing to diagnose an illness or medical condition or diagnosing a mother or her infant with the wrong illness. For example, parents may be able to file OBGYN malpractice lawsuits because their child was born with a permanent disability that should have been diagnosed during the pregnancy or soon after, such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, congenital heart defects or spina bifida.
Another type of misdiagnosis case involves delayed diagnosis, which happens when a medical condition is correctly diagnosed but the doctor should have done so at an earlier time.
Some of the conditions that are commonly misdiagnosed by OBGYNs include:
- Ectopic pregnancy – This occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus. Doctors should be able to detect this by conducting a physical exam, along with blood tests and an ultrasound. However, if the condition is not diagnosed, it could be fatal to the mother.
- Cervical cancer – Obstetrician-gynecologists also provide health care that is not related to pregnancy, such as diagnosing cervical cancer. Unfortunately, sometimes there is a delay in diagnosis, which could be fatal. There are also cases where patients have to undergo aggressive treatment because of a delayed diagnosis.
- Chronic hypertension (high blood pressure) – This diagnosis is for women with high blood pressure before pregnancy or the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Chronic hypertension can cause a variety of issues in the mother, including congestive heart failure, stroke, seizures and kidney problems.
- Preeclampsia – This diagnosis is for women who have high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. This condition could impair the baby’s growth or cause the placenta to separate from the uterus before birth.
- Gestational diabetes – This occurs when the mother has diabetes during pregnancy. This can cause high blood sugar that results in an increased risk for many problems in the baby, such as high birth weight, increasing the risk of injuries during the birthing process. The baby could also be born with low blood sugar, increasing the risk of seizures.
Failure To Monitor Or Respond To Fetal Distress
Fetal distress usually means the fetus is receiving less oxygen than it should, a condition that can cause a variety of severe birth defects, like cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, seizures or mental retardation. Fetal distress can also refer to heart problems in the fetus, like tachycardia or bradycardia.
Fetal distress is often caused by low levels of oxygen in the mother’s blood or reduced blood flow due to the umbilical cord being compressed. There are some cases where the fetus becomes tangled in the umbilical cord, resulting in reduced oxygen.
There are several steps OBGYNs can take to monitor the status of the mother and fetus to detect signs of distress:
- Using an ultrasound device to monitor the baby’s heart rate during labor, as a low heart rate could indicate oxygen deprivation
- Doing contraction stress tests to see if the fetus is likely to be distressed during labor and suffer a loss of oxygen
- Noting abnormal movement of the fetus, as this could indicate a low heart rate or lack of oxygen
- Doing continuous fetal heart rate monitoring with an electronic monitoring device
- Continuous monitoring of the mother’s blood pressure to ensure it is not too high
- Measuring the amount of amniotic fluid because low levels could cause a loss of oxygen
If the OBGYN does not take these or other steps to identify or monitor fetal stress, our Cincinnati attorneys may have grounds for a lawsuit over your baby’s birth defects or injuries.
There are also cases where doctors or other medical professionals are held liable for failing to take the appropriate steps to deal with fetal distress. These steps could include:
- Giving the mother oxygen
- Giving the mother fluids intravenously
- Turning the mother on her side to increase oxygen
- Checking for a prolapsed umbilical cord or vaginal bleeding
- Prescribing medication to help lower the mother’s blood pressure
- Inserting fluid into the amniotic cavity to alleviate umbilical cord compression
- Temporarily stopping contractions and delaying labor
- Performing a C-section to get the baby out before it can be injured
Medication can help treat many medical conditions affecting the mother, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Urinary tract infections
- Hormonal imbalances
- Abnormal bleeding
- Urinary incontinence
Your attorney may be able to hold doctors liable for many types of medication errors and oversights when prescribing or administering medication, including:
- Giving a patient the wrong medication
- Giving a patient the wrong dosage
- Prescribing or administering a medication that has harmful interactions with other medications
- Continuing a medication past a certain point when it causes harm to the fetus
- Prescribing a medication to the mother during pregnancy that causes problems with the fetus
Negligent Use Of Delivery Instruments
Sometimes it is necessary to use tools to aid in the delivery of the baby, particularly during difficult births, including births involving babies with a high birth weight. Tools include vacuums and forceps to help doctors remove the baby from the birth canal.
In some cases, doctors need to use these tools to quickly get the fetus out because it could be suffering oxygen deprivation or other issues. Not using these tools could cause the baby to suffer further injury.
However, doctors need to be cautious using these tools because they can cause serious damage. Some of the injuries that could result from improper use of delivery tools include cerebral palsy, shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injuries.
Failure To Perform A C-Section
Sometimes doctors need to perform a C-section to remove the baby before it suffers an injury – waiting for traditional labor could increase the risk of serious injury.
This is why doctors need to carefully monitor the mother and her baby to determine if a C-section is necessary. If doctors wait to do this, they could be held liable for OBGYN negligence.
Doctors should also ensure they have a complete medical history of the mother to help them determine if labor is likely to be difficult. This will help them to make the right decision on when to do a C-section.
If you or your baby was a victim of any of the forms of OBGYN negligence mentioned above, contact our team for a free legal consultation. You could be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering.
Compensation For Obgyn Negligence
If your baby suffers an injury during pregnancy or childbirth, he or she could have lifelong health problems, such as cerebral palsy, heart defects or injuries to the nerves in the neck and shoulder.
These kinds of conditions require extensive, ongoing medical care, including physical rehabilitation, mental therapy, prescription drugs, surgeries, medical equipment and occupational therapy. Unfortunately, some birth defects make it impossible for the child to ever be able to be self-sufficient and take care of his or her own needs. Parents may need to hire help to take care of all the child’s needs.
Our attorneys may be able to pursue compensation for all current and future expenses created by your child’s birth injuries, including:
- Surgical procedures
- Home health care
- Physical therapy
- Durable medication equipment
- Travel to doctors’ appointments
- Medical testing, including blood testing, MRIs, CT scans and X-rays
- Psychological therapy
We may also be able to pursue compensation for physical and emotional pain and suffering experienced by your child and your family. If you are ever unable to work because of your child’s condition, we may able to recover lost wages.
Schedule a free consultation today with an OBGYN malpractice attorney in Cincinnati to discuss your situation. We know how to determine an accurate valuation of all the damages you have suffered. We understand that sometimes pain and suffering can be worth just as much or more than current and future medical bills.
Statute Of Limitations For Obgyn Malpractice Cases
OBGYN malpractice cases are governed by the same one-year statute of limitations as other medical malpractice cases. Under Ohio Revised Code 2305.113, you must file a lawsuit within one year of the date when malpractice occurred, otherwise you lose the right to do so.
However, there are times when victims or their families do not immediately discover malpractice has occurred. In some cases, weeks, months or even years pass before victims find out.
This is why the law makes an exception: the statute of limitations will not begin until you discover malpractice by exercising reasonable care and diligence. This means you have one year from the date you discover malpractice or the date you should have discovered it.
However, there is a four-year statute of repose in these situations. This means you usually cannot file a lawsuit more than four years from the date malpractice occurred, no matter when you discovered it.
However, if you discover malpractice before the four years are up, you will have one year to file a lawsuit, even if this takes you past the four-year statute of repose.
It can be confusing to interpret these different rules and apply them to your case. That is why you should strongly consider meeting with an OBGYN malpractice lawyer in Cincinnati to determine how much time you have to file a lawsuit.
Contact A Cincinnati Obgyn Malpractice Attorney Today
If your baby is a victim of OBGYN malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you and your family suffered.
However, pursuing compensation is a complicated and confusing process. This is why it can be to your advantage to work with an experienced attorney. The Cincinnati OBGYN malpractice lawyers at our firm understand the complexities of medical malpractice cases and what it takes to be successful.
Our firm takes cases on contingency, so the consultation is free and you will not be charged for our services unless you receive compensation.