Birth injuries that babies commonly sustain include seizure disorders, which can require lifelong medical care and assistance. Families may be financially and emotionally unprepared to care for a baby suffering from a seizure disorder. If your baby developed a seizure disorder and you suspect it was the result of medical malpractice, you should consult DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. Our Syracuse birth injury attorneys can discuss whether you have a viable basis to bring a lawsuit for damages.Birth Injuries
Seizure disorders involve uncontrolled electrical disturbance within the brain. Birth injuries that can contribute to seizure disorders include improper use of forceps or vacuum, asphyxia, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, placental complications, prolonged labor, or brain infections. Tests that doctors may perform to detect seizure disorders include MRIs, EEGs, and CT scans. Other factors include breathing difficulties, feeding difficulties, lethargic behavior, low Apgar scores, unusual movement in the extremities, breathing difficulties, delivery that requires fetal resuscitation, and bluish coloring upon being delivered. A birth injury during labor and delivery will also be considered in making this determination.
Seizure disorders may be temporary or recurring. A child with a seizure disorder may exhibit convulsions, sensation disturbances, movement disturbances, and neurocognitive impairment. A partial seizure only affects specific parts of the body. Episodes are more severe with generalized seizures. They can result in loss of consciousness and loss of bladder and bowel control, along with involuntary movement.Liability
In order to establish your doctor’s liability for your baby’s seizure disorder, you’ll need to prove it’s more likely than not: (1) you and your baby were owed a professional standard of care, (2) deviation from the professional standard of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. Experts may need to testify about the professional standard of care, whether your doctor departed from the professional standard of care and causation. It may also be necessary to retain experts who are able to testify about the long-term costs and effects of a baby’s seizure disorder.
The professional standard of care depends on how reasonably competent doctors in the same specialty and geographic region as the defendant would have treated a patient in similar circumstances. If a reasonably competent obstetrician-gynecologist in Syracuse would have performed a C-section instead of proceeding with a difficult delivery that required the use of forceps, your OB-GYN may be liable for malpractice especially if the baby sustained brain damage from a forceps injury and developed a seizure disorder as a result. Deviations from the professional standard of care can include a failure of doctors to diagnose or treat a condition that results in oxygen deprivation or failure to anticipate a complication such as cephalopelvic disproportion that could result in a difficult or prolonged delivery. One of the most common causes of seizures is hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, which occurs when a baby was deprived of oxygen at birth due to a ruptured uterus, fetal distress, prolonged labor, cord compression, or another medical emergency.
In most cases, an expert must be retained in the same specialty as the defendant prior to filing a lawsuit. With the complaint, the plaintiff’s lawyer needs to file a certificate of merit attesting to a consultation with an expert familiar with the facts and issues of the case about whether the claim is meritorious.Damages
You may be able to recover a wide range of economic and noneconomic losses arising out of your baby’s seizure disorder. These include not only losses being experienced at the time of the lawsuit, but also future losses. Depending on the severity of a seizure disorder, future losses could include lifelong care, special education to addresss developmental delays, medication, and medical care.Consult a Syracuse Attorney
If your baby developed a seizure disorder as a result of medical malpractice, you should talk to the experienced lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. We can investigate whether your baby sustained a birth injury caused by medical malpractice and advocate for damages on behalf of you and your child. We represent babies and families in Rochester, Syracuse, and other Upstate New York cities. These cities include Oswego, Lyons, Oneida, Cooperstown, Binghamton, Auburn, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Watertown, Ithaca, Utica, Elmira, Lowville and Herkimer. Call DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 315-479-9000 or complete our online form.