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Birth Injury Lawyer


Corey J. MowreyWhile childbirth is considered to have become safer and less problematic due to medical and technological advances, serious injury or death can still happen during the birthing process. In certain respects, childbirth is more dangerous since paraprofessionals are being utilized such as physician assistants, maternal nurses, and others who do not have a medical degree. Even residents and family practice doctors have become involved in the labor and delivery process. We have had cases in our office where negligence was based upon a lack of training. In one case, a family practice doctor simply could not deliver the baby in a timely fashion. When an obstetrically trained medical doctor arrived, he was able to get the baby out in less than 30 seconds. Unfortunately the baby died because of the delay.

Labor and delivery rooms tend to be chaotic, and decisions have to be made quickly. If medical incompetence and negligence enter the picture, the consequences can be severe. Birth injuries are a shocking and devastating tragedy, especially in cases when injuries were preventable.

If your baby or child has suffered a birth injury due to the negligent care of the hospital, delivering physician or midwife, neonatal nurses, anesthesiologist or other medical staff, you should seek legal assistance to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Sometimes even nonmedical people may be responsible, holding the healthcare system negligent. In another case our office handled, nonmedical people failed to call the OB on staff in time to prevent a birth injury.

Medical malpractice cases can be very complicated. Symptoms may change over time and evidence and witnesses disappear. Therefore it is important to contact an attorney experienced in birth injury malpractice as soon as possible.

The skilled and experienced Pennsylvania birth injury medical malpractice attorney Clifford A. Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters has spent decades honing his skills and successfully representing Pennsylvania families who have suffered an injury or loss due to negligence and malpractice by medical professionals and hospitals. Our attorneys offer personal attention and loyalty to every client, aggressively fighting for their right to compensation. Whether in settlement negotiations or pursuing a favorable trial verdict, we are thoroughly prepared and committed to achieving a just outcome. With our sizeable staff, we offer strength in numbers while providing top-notch personal service. Cliff Rieders literally wrote the book on medical malpractice. Lawyers from around the state take Cliff Rieders’ courses on medical malpractice which he teaches in both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The leading lawyers in the state are Cliff’s students. Forms that Cliff Rieders has developed from the complaint onward through the legal process are utilized in many counties in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, due to a special Rule, medical liability cases must be brought in the county where the negligence occurred.

We offer a free consultation to examine the facts of your individual situation and determine the best way to proceed with your case. Contact us today if you even suspect your child’s birth injury or death was due to medical negligence by calling (570) 323-8711 or by using our online contact form.

What Are Birth Injuries?

While some babies are born with genetic birth defects, many injuries are caused by preventable trauma during the delivery process or are due to negligent medical care during pregnancy or immediately after birth. The injuries often require expensive treatment, surgeries, or even lifelong care.

Common birth injuries include:

  • Infection
  • Cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy or brachial palsy
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Head trauma, facial injury, nerve injury or hematoma
  • Bone injuries and fractures, including those in the clavicle or collar bone
  • Failure to treat gestational diabetes
  • Failures related to ultrasound and imaging
  • Pitocin administration
  • Failure to supervise fetal monitors
  • Failure to intubate properly.

What Constitutes Negligence?

All through the labor and delivery process, it is essential that both mother and child are monitored for signs of distress and complications. Obstetricians, midwives, and other medical professionals who assist in the birth of a child are held to standards commensurate with national standards. They have a duty to exercise reasonable care for the safety of both mother and child. Appropriate medical care and proper monitoring during the birthing process can eliminate many birth traumas. Preventative measures such as prenatal monitoring of vital signs, avoidance of forceps or vacuum extraction, and use of emergency cesarean sections help reduce birth injuries. In yet another case handled by our office, vacuum extraction was used improperly and caused death. The baby simply could not fit through the birth canal, and yet the doctor used forced vacuum extraction when a C-section was required.

If medical professionals do not follow the proper non-negligent procedures, they and/or the hospital and its employees may be found negligent and liable for any resulting harm.

Common Negligence Situations

There are many things that medical professionals must do during and after birth to make sure nothing goes wrong. The failure to follow these procedures may constitute negligence and incompetence. The following are examples of negligence and incompetence which may be found to constitute medical negligence or malpractice:

  • Failure to monitor, detect, and respond to distress in the mother or fetus
  • Oxygen deprivation to the fetus during labor and delivery
  • Leaving the fetus in the birth canal for too long
  • Forceps or vacuum injuries used improperly
  • Failure to diagnose the need for a cesarian section, to order a cesarian section when needed, to properly perform a cesarian section, or performing a cesarian section unnecessarily
  • Failure to detect and respond to an umbilical cord around the fetus’s neck, breech presentation of the fetus, and/or placental complications
  • Pulling or stretching of a baby’s neck during a head-first vaginal delivery
  • A midwife’s failure to refer a patient to a hospital when necessary
  • Failure to call a specialist for high-risk pregnancies
  • Failure to use proper delivery techniques to prevent injury to the fetus or mother
  • Anesthesia errors and failure to recognize anesthesia reactions
  • Causing uterine rupture by improperly applying pressure to the mother’s abdomen or improperly using drugs such as Pitocin
  • Failure to recognize and manage preeclampsia or eclampsia (toxemia), which can lead to seizures
  • Giving the wrong medicine or wrong dose.
  • Failing properly to treat gestational diabetes

Winning a Lawsuit or Obtaining a Legitimate Settlement

To win a lawsuit or obtain a legitimate settlement, you and your attorney must show that the duty of care was breached because of the negligent actions or inactions of the medical professionals or facility and that this breach caused the injury or death. There is also a concept called corporate negligence. The entire medical establishment, such as a hospital, may be liable for negligence or incompetence due to a systemic failure, such as not having correct protocols and procedures in place or properly monitoring medical staff.

There is a time limit for filing medical malpractice claims in Pennsylvania, which is generally two years, although there may be additional time allowed for medical injuries involving children and where the injury was not immediately known. Statute of limitations issues are very important. Pennsylvania has a discovery rule which can toll (stop) the statute of limitations from running, but Pennsylvania also has a statute of repose which is seven (7) years. A minor must bring a case within two (2) years of reaching majority. When a statute of limitations begins to run and when it expires is of course crucial to be determined.

Also, Pennsylvania law considers comparative negligence. Any damages you may have sustained may be reduced if you have done something to contribute to the problem — for example, if you have gone against medical advice.

Infographic: Birth Injury Types and Statistics
Infographic PDF

Trust Our Firm for Honest Answers

If your newborn has suffered from birth injuries that you suspect were due to a healthcare professional’s negligent behavior, your next step should be to consult Cliff Rieders at Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters.

Cliff Rieders wrote the book on medical malpractice that lawyers use in the state.

Cliff teaches the subject of medical malpractice at seminars attended by the leading lawyers in the state. Cliff Rieders is recognized as an outstanding authority in the medical malpractice field. Cliff has even testified before the legislature on medical malpractice laws. Based in Williamsport, our attorneys at the Rieders Travis Law Firm serve clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania, offering a free consultation on all personal injury matters. More than that, we offer you experience, knowledge, compassion, and a long history of results.

Set up your free consultation today by calling (570) 323-8711, or use our online contact form.

Attorney Cliff Rieders

Attorney Cliff RiedersCliff Rieders is a Nationally Board Certified Trial Lawyer practicing personal injury law. A large part of his practice involves multi-district litigation, including cases related to pharmaceuticals, vitamin supplements and medical devices. He is admitted in several state and federal courts, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. Rieders is the past regional president of the Federal Bar Association and is a life member of the distinguished American Law Institute, which promulgates proposed rules adopted by many state courts. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. As a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, he served on the Board for 15 years.

Not only has Rieders held many highly esteemed, leadership positions, he authored legislation related to the Patient Safety Authority and the Mcare Act, which governs medical and hospital liability actions in Pennsylvania. He authored texts upon which both practitioners and judges rely, including Pennsylvania Malpractice Laws and Forms, and Financial Responsibility Law Issues in Pennsylvania, the latter governing auto and truck collisions in Pennsylvania. In addition, he wrote several books on the practice of law in Pennsylvania regarding wrongful death and survivor actions, insurance bad faith, legal malpractice claims and worker rights, among others. Rieders also serves as a resource to practitioners as a regular speaker for Celesq, an arm of the world’s largest legal publisher, Thomson Reuters West Publishing.

As recognition of his wide range of contribution to his profession and of his dedication to protecting the rights of his clients, he received numerous awards, among them the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, the Milton D. Rosenberg Award, the B’nai B’rith Justice Award, and awards of recognition from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. [ Attorney Bio ]