Birth Injury

Oregon Birth Injury Lawyers

Awaiting the birth of a new child is a time filled with anticipation, excitement, and hope.  An unanticipated birth injury to your child, however, can be devastating.  Some birth injuries are recognizable immediately upon birth and others parents may not notice for months after the birth.  Many birth injuries are permanent, irreversible, and can impact the child’s development, health, and well-being for life.  While some birth injuries are unavoidable, others can be the result of a doctor or medical provider’s improper oversight, negligence, and/or departure from the normal standard of care.  Physicians, hospital staff, and nurses can all be responsible for birth injuries.

Do I have a medical malpractice case for my child’s birth injury?

If your medical provider or doctor departed from the normal standard of care in the delivery of your child and doing so caused your child to have a serious birth injury, you may have a medical malpractice claim.  Often times, it will not be initially clear if you have a strong claim and will take a thorough review of your child’s medical records and the mother’s prenatal care records for a Oregon medical malpractice lawyer to be able to determine if you have a case.  Thus, if you suspect that your child has been the victim of medical malpractice and was seriously injured during birth or before birth, your first step should be to contact a lawyer who focuses on birth injuries and request the medical records.

Types of Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Claims

There are many different types of birth injuries that can occur prior to delivery or during delivery.  Below is a list of some of the most common birth injuries:

  • Cerebral Palsy
    • Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
    • Athetoid Cerebral Palsy
  • Brachial plexus injury
    •  Erb’s palsy
    • Klumpke’s palsy / Klumpke’s paralysis / Dejerine-Klumpke Palsy
    • Shoulder dystocia
  • Death or serious injury, related to incorrect dosage of medicine or use of an improper medicine
  • Facial paralysis / Facial nerve palsy
  • Drug-related injuries
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Brain stem damage
  • Brain injury from oxygen deprivation, lack of blood flow, or trauma
  • Umbilical cord strangulation or umbilical cord compression
  • Perinatal Asphyxia, neonatal asphyxia, birth asphyxia

Potential Causes of Birth Injuries

During labor, the doctor or midwife should consistently monitor the fetus for warning signs that a cesarean section (C-section) might be necessary for the safety of the baby and mother. Common warning signs include fetal distress or an umbilical cord prolapse. If the doctor ignores these warning signs and attempts to deliver the baby without a cesarean section, the baby could suffer a birth injury.  Brain injuries commonly occur when a a doctor does not pay attention to fetal distress signals which can show that the baby’s heart rate is lowering and the baby may be struggling to get enough oxygen.  If the doctor or midwife does not pay attention to these warning signs and either fails to perform a c-section or causes an undue delay in ordering the c-section, a serious birth injury can occur.

Warning signs that Malpractice may have occurred

If your baby was seriously injured in the birthing process, there are often warning signs that perhaps malpractice could have occurred.


Extended Labor and/or prolonged use of pitocin:  Often times when the mother labors for a prolonged period of time or is given pitocin (a drug frequently used to induce labor) for an extended period of time, it is not uncommon for the baby to become injured in the labor and delivery process.


Use of Forceps or vacuum extractors:  During complicated births, many physicians may opt to use assisting tools, such as forceps, to help deliver the infant. If these tools are improperly used, however, they can result in severe complications to the infant. The two most common types of assisting tools are forceps and vacuum extractors. Forceps help guide the infant out of the birth canal and are used when the mother experiences difficulty pushing the infant out on her own. Forceps increase the risk for facial injuries, skull fractures, bleeding, and seizures. Vacuum extractors can also help pull the infant out, but can also increase the risk for skull fractures if used improperly.


Failure to diagnose a treatable condition:  A physician’s failure to diagnose a treatable condition can also lead to a birth injury. This commonly occurs when a physician fails to treat maternal infections, such as Group B Strep (GBS). GBS is harmless to adults, however, an infection can result in severe injuries or even death if it is passed onto newborns. Around 25% of women are infected with GBS and it is commonly found near the vagina or rectum. Since a significant percentage of women carry GBS, physicians should provide GBS screening as part of their routine procedures.

Hospital and Midwife Liability for Birth Injuries

Although doctors are usually responsible for birth injuries, negligence from hospital staff and midwives can also cause medical malpractice as well.  Midwives and nurses who negligently deliver babies or fail to monitor fetal signs of distress have been held found liable for medical malpractice.  Other times, birth injuries have occurred when a hospital staff member fails to pick up the infant without supporting the head. This is a dangerous practice because many newborns have weak necks, making them more susceptible to brain damage and suffocation if handled incorrectly.

Common Birth Injuries Resulting from Medical Negligence

The most common birth injuries include: caput succedaneum, cephalohematoma, bruising, facial paralysis, brachial palsy, and fractures.

Caput succedaneum occurs when the infant’s scalp swells upon delivery, and is usually caused by delivery through vacuum extraction. Cephalohematoma occurs when there is bleeding underneath the cranial bones. Babies delivered with birth-assisting tools can develop bruising or marks from the use of these tools. The use of forceps can also cause facial paralysis, since they place pressure on the infant’s face. Brachial palsy usually occurs when the physician pulls the infant’s head too hard after it’s shoulder has became stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone.

Advocates for those whose loved ones have suffered birth injuries in Oregon

If your baby has suffered a birth injury, contact the Oregon medical malpractice attorneys at Kuhlman Law, LLC for a Free Initial Consultation. We stand up for victims of birth injuries and handle medical malpractice cases on a contingency fee basis. Call today for a free case analysis at (541) 385-1999.


We handle cases throughout Oregon including: Bend, Portland, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Medford, Deschutes County, Central Oregon, Sisters, Redmond, Lake Oswego, Hillsboro, Multnomah County, Washington County, Hood River, Clackamas County, Oregon City, Jefferson County, Crook County, Coos Bay, Lane County, Albany, Douglas County, Yamhill County, Tillamook County, Clatsop, Columbia Klamath, Wasco, Madras, Prineville, Crook, Lane, Pendleton, Umatilla, La Grande, Albany and Vancouver, Washington.

    For a free case evaluation, fill out the form below

    The use of the internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

    OR Call
    Bend, Oregon: (541) 385-1999
    Portland: (503) 479-3646
    Minnesota: (612) 444-3374

    Our Office

    Kuhlman Law, LLC
    160 NW Irving Ave, Suite 203
    Bend, OR 97703