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Obstetric Errors

Syracuse Lawyers for Birth Injury Claims

Medical mistakes that affect a newborn can be devastating. An obstetric error can transform what should be a joyous occasion—the birth of a baby—into devastation for an entire family. Very few people are fully prepared for the costs associated with serious birth injuries. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our Syracuse birth injury attorneys are here to help those whose children have suffered birth injuries because of obstetric errors. We have recovered over $100 million in compensation for clients.

Obstetric Errors

Certain risks arise in connection with labor and delivery. A newborn can be injured at birth even if the physician’s assistant, doctor, nurse practitioner or certified midwife did everything that should have been done. However, when a health care provider’s actions don’t meet the applicable standard of care during pregnancy or delivery, and you or the baby were injured because of that failure, you may be able to recover damages through a birth injury lawsuit.

Obstetric errors that might fall below the standard of care include failure to monitor the pregnancy, failure to conduct appropriate tests, failure to diagnose gestational diabetes, failure to rate a patient as high risk, failure to conduct proper screening tests, failure to diagnose and treat preeclampsia, and labor and delivery errors. Obstetric errors can cause substantial injuries, including neurological impairments, Erb’s palsy, cerebral palsy, perinatal asphyxia, spinal cord birth injury and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.

Each of these medical conditions has different potential causes, and may require extensive medical care and rehabilitation. Cerebral palsy, for example, can be caused by delivery delays, fetal distress, lack of oxygen to the fetus’ brain, and infections. Sometimes developmental delays are the result of obstetric errors. Developmental delays occur when a child is facing difficulties with learning to walk, crawl, or talk. In order to give rise to a birth injury claim, it needs to be shown that the developmental delay is directly linked to an injury that happened during birth.


To establish an obstetrician’s liability for birth injuries, you will need to show: (1) the obstetrician owed a professional duty of care, (2) breach of the professional duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. Proving an obstetric error was a breach of the professional duty of care will usually require you to retain a credible and knowledgeable expert, which a skilled medical negligence attorney can help you find. Experts in obstetric error cases are usually board-certified OB-GYNs who can evaluate the particular circumstances of your case in order to offer opinions about what a reasonable obstetrician would have done under the same or similar circumstances so as to determine whether the defendant’s behavior deviated from that standard.


Damages for obstetric errors are usually compensatory, meaning they’re intended to make a plaintiff whole. They can include both economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses related to birth injuries can be enormous depending on the severity of the injury. They may include rehabilitation costs, medical bills, emergency room care, out-of-pocket costs, therapy costs, and medical equipment. Noneconomic losses can include pain and anguish and loss of enjoyment of life. In some cases, obstetric errors cause harm to both a baby and his or her mother. It may be possible to recover compensatory damages for maternal injuries in these situations.

Unfortunately, sometimes obstetric errors cause fatal birth injuries for a newborn or maternal death. In these cases, you may be able to recover damages for wrongful death as a personal representative for the estate of a decedent or as a spouse or parent.

Dedicated Birth Injury Attorneys in Syracuse

If you were injured or a loved one was killed as a result of obstetric errors, you should discuss your situation with an experienced trial lawyer. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents those harmed by obstetric errors and other instances of medical malpractice in Syracuse, Rochester, and across Upstate New York, including in areas such as Ithaca, Cooperstown, Canandaigua, Binghamton, Auburn, Wampsville, Lyons, Elmira, Oswego, Herkimer, Utica, Oneida, Watertown, and Lowville. Call our firm at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form.

Client Reviews
"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
"I highly recommend DeFrancisco & Falgiatano - Charlie represented me for a medical malpractice case. He is the best of the best. He is friendly and I am very happy with the representation he provided." Roger N., Oneida, NY