How hospital cover-up made minor birth injury a nightmare
Minor injuries, like broken bones, are common during birth. Studies show that, on average, one bone fracture occurs for every 1,000 live births.
Fractured collarbones, for example, are common during birth. According to the MayoClinic, lack of arm movement is the most common sign of a broken collarbone in newborn babies.
Birth injuries of this nature rarely cause permanent health complications and can be easily treated by medical professionals. If left untreated, however, a fractured collarbone can lead to complications, including:
- Nerve or blood vessel damage caused by the jagged ends of a broken collarbone
- Incomplete or incorrect healing, also called "poor union"
- Permanent lump at the fracture site
When medical staff fails to provide treatment, children are put at risk
It's critical that medical professionals take the time to diagnose and treat all birth injuries — even the minor ones. Unfortunately, some medical professionals fail to provide prompt treatment, which puts children at risk of developing further health complications. Some will even go as far as to cover up any wrongdoing on their part by failing to report errors or falsifying records.
One mother from Michigan recently experienced this nightmare first-hand. According to 13abc, a newborn sustained a broken collarbone during birth at ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital.
The mother reported that her newborn daughter began to turn purple. The baby's collarbone was reportedly swollen and bruised and the arm on the side of the injury wasn't moving. The father of the newborn repeatedly requested that an X-ray be performed, but the on-duty medical staff continued to brush it off.
The family was discharged from the hospital two days after the birth. Two days after discharge, however, the mother took the newborn to a pediatrician, who performed an X-ray.
'Clear broke in half''
"We go get the X-ray and I'm standing right in the room with her and I see it come up on the screen, clear broke in half," the mother told 13abc.
The pediatrician who took the X-rays wrote a letter confirming that the broken collarbone was sustained during birth. After 24 X-rays, no other broken bones were found.
The mother returned to the OB Unit at ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital and produced evidence of her newborn's injury from the X-rays and pediatrician's note.
"A doctor let us go, with me pointing it out, I said. And my daughter really does have a broken collar bone, shame on you. Please educate your staff so that nobody goes through this again," she recalls telling OB unit staff.
That night, the family received a knock on the door from Child Protective Services (CPS), who's investigation found no signs of abuse. However, "alleged child abuse" was indicated in the child's medical record. ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital reportedly footed the bill for the CPS visit, but refused to remove "alleged child abuse" from the newborn's medical chart.
What are my legal options in the event of a birth injury cover-up?
A broken collarbone at birth may not seem like a big deal, but the conduct of the medical staff caused harm to the child, as well as the family. Had the child's condition been something beyond a collarbone fracture, this matter could have been far worse.
Medical staff are obligated to take all injuries seriously. When they fail to do so, they should be held accountable. If your child sustained a birth injury and medical staff failed to act or attempted to cover up their wrongdoing, you have the right to take legal action.
An experienced Atlanta birth injury lawyer at Tyrone Law Firm, PC can help you pursue justice. Our highly-skilled and compassionate legal team has investigated birth injuries for more than 15 years and has fought to help families receive the compensation they deserve. To schedule your free consultation, contact us online or simply call our Atlanta law office at (404) 377-0017.