In 2011, a Michigan jury awarded $144 million to Kimberly Van Slembrouk for the injuries caused by Beaumont Hospital to her baby daughter during birth. The baby suffered irrevocable injuries when the hospital staff declined to perform a caesarian section and proceeded with a natural delivery. This story illustrates the potential size of damages in birth injury medical malpractice suits. This was the largest malpractice award in Michigan's history.

There are two general categories of the causes of birth defects: natural causes related to delivery complications and medical malpractice causes.

Natural causes for birth defects

  • The baby’s size — when a baby weighs more than 8 pounds, thirteen ounces, a birth injury is much more likely
  • Cephalopelvic disproportion — when the size and shape of the mother’s pelvis is not adequate to deliver the baby naturally, injuries occur
  • Prolonged labor often causes injuries to the baby
  • The baby’s position — a breech birth (feet first) is more likely to result in a birth injury

Although these are natural causes of birth injuries, the size and magnitude of the injuries could be mitigated by effective medical intervention or aggravated by negligent or improper medical attention.

Malpractice related injuries

  • Labor and delivery errors — These includes the inappropriate use of medical equipment such as vacuums or clamps, or failing to maneuver the baby through the birth canal properly
  • Anesthesia errors — Doctors utilizing anesthesia in error can cause permanent damage to infants during delivery
  • Medication errors - Ineffective use of medication during immediately preceding pregnancy, during pregnancy or during delivery can hurt the infant

Many of these injuries evolve from risks that could have been avoided through proper discussion between the mother and doctor and examinations to follow-up concerns.

If you feel that your baby suffered birth injuries at the hands of ineffective or even dangerous medical care, consult an aggressive medical malpractice attorney for advice.