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Birth Injuries


The Maine birth injury lawyers at Briggs & Wholey are dedicated to helping individuals and families affected by negligence at birth. We have successfully handled all types of cases involving birth injuries caused by medical malpractice. Our firm provides the highest quality legal representation to injured clients throughout the State of Maine.

Pregnancy and delivery have inherent risks. But qualified physicians and innovative technology have largely eradicated complications that once killed mothers and caused infant injury and death. Giving birth in a developed nation should not have the same risks as having a child in a third-world village. But it does if the doctor is negligent. Even with all the fancy tests and ultrasounds, physicians are still human and make mistakes while delivering a baby. In the United States, these preventable accidents are known as “negligence” and result in liability. Obstetricians, nurses and other health care providers who make careless mistakes in the delivery room are responsible to compensate a child or family for any injuries they cause.

Examples of preventable birth injuries include:

  • Fetal distress/ Brain damage
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Nerve damage
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Facial paralysis
  • Fetal death
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Intracranial bleeding
  • Hematoma, hemorrhage
  • Forceps or vacuum scars

Birth injuries are often irreversible and can affect a child and a family for life. These injuries can easily be prevented by a doctor’s anticipation of complications and preparation for difficult labor. Obstetrics is a specialty and safely delivering babies is a physician or midwife’s job. Neonatologists in an intensive care unit for newborns may be involved. Lack of preparation and failure to take appropriate action is often the cause of birth injury. Doctors often take too long to order a “C-section” or respond to fetal distress. Nurses are sometimes too anxious to administer Pitocin and inducing labor before the baby is ready can cause fetal injury or death. Physicians can be too aggressive in their use of forceps or vacuum extractors. They may pull the arm too hard, injuring nerves that cause paralysis of the arm.

Like other states, Maine holds obstetricians and midwives to a professional specialty standard of care. Their treatment of patients must meet a certain level required by professional standards. Injury caused by negligence in the delivery room falls below this standard. When this happens, medical malpractice law provides a legal recourse to injured victims who can hold the offending parties liable. Negligent parties may include the careless doctor, an unsupervised nurse, and the hospital where the injury occurred. Because the hospital employs the staff, it may be liable for the negligent conduct of its workers. Establishing fault can be difficult because hospitals and administrators often try to hide their mistakes. Medical records, which often reveal errors by healthcare providers, are sometimes altered by negligent providers.

Under Maine law, negligent parties are liable in damages to the mother and/or child injured during the pregnancy and delivery. In negligent deliveries, both the mother and child may be injured. Careless administration of labor-inducing drugs can cause fetal distress and brain damage to an infant from lack of oxygen. The costs to resuscitate the infant and keep the baby in the hospital are bills the negligent party must pay. Birth injuries can also have long-term effects on the child. Erb’s palsy is caused by early trauma to a network of nerves near the neck and may result in permanent loss of motor function. Loss of oxygen to the brain may also cause cognitive dysfunction or learning disabilities that require special education and lifetime care. Proving future costs to raise a disabled child is therefore crucial in a birth injury case.

If you or your child has suffered a birth injury, the experienced Maine birth injury attorneys at Briggs & Wholey can help. We have obtained millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for injured clients throughout Maine. Our seasoned attorneys and highly-trained staff are especially qualified to handle complex birth injury claims. Ms. Wholey Briggs draws on her extensive experience as a registered nurse. In addition, attorneys at Briggs & Wholey network with the national birth injury experts and stay current with changes in birth injury medicine and law. Because of our impressive track record and dedication to service, we are recognized leaders in personal injury law. At Briggs & Wholey, we do more than provide a legal service; we devote ourselves to knowing you and helping you recover the compensation that you and your loved ones deserve. For a free consultation, call our law firm at (888) 596-1099, or contact us online .

Donald Briggs C. Donald Briggs, III Feb. 7, 1954 - Sept. 7, 2014 Your dedication and hard work continue...