How a Failed Diagnosis Can Lead to Birth Injuries

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“Both mother and child are doing well.” Those are the words families hope to hear after a woman gives birth to her child.

A mother and her child rely on the knowledge and advice of medical professionals who assist over the course of the pregnancy. These medical professionals have the knowledge, training, and experience necessary to care for both the mother and her child, even in the event of a complication. Still, mistakes can occur, and those mistakes may result in overlooking medical issues that are preventable and cause birth injuries. In 2006 alone, one study showed the occurrence of nearly 158,000 potentially preventable birth injuries in the U.S.

A failed diagnosis occurs whenever a healthcare provider fails to diagnose or treat a treatable illness or condition. A failed diagnosis also occurs if the health care provider misdiagnoses a condition as something else. These scenarios may result in birth injuries that cause life-threatening complications or even death. In many instances, health care providers are committing medical malpractice when they commit a failed diagnosis.

Common Birth Injuries

Both a mother and child may suffer birth injuries due to a failed diagnosis. Although the mother and child can heal after some types of birth injuries, this is not always the case.

Some examples common birth injuries to the child include:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Brain damage and developmental delays
  • Infant nerve damage
  • Physical injuries

Some examples of common birth injuries to the mother include:

  • Failure to properly diagnose a “breech”
  • Failure to prevent or control hemorrhaging
  • Failure to diagnose and treat preeclampsia
  • Failure to diagnose and treat maternal diabetes
  • Prolapsed umbilical cord

The above examples identify only a small number of the potential birth injuries both mother and child may suffer.

Reasons for a Failed Diagnosis

Birth injuries are often preventable, and their cause may be traced to one or several instances of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice occurs whenever a medical professional fails to meet the standard of care, meaning that the healthcare professional fails to provide the same level and type of medical care that other reasonable medical professionals with similar experience and training would provide in similar situations. 

Some common reasons for a failed diagnosis include a healthcare professional’s failure to:

  • Properly detect and treat fetal distress
  • Monitor and control oxygen intake
  • Monitor and detect gestational diabetes
  • Order proper screenings and tests
  • Detect fetal distress


Pregnancies that result in a birth injury, either to the mother or the child, are stressful, complicated, and sometimes heartbreaking. Mothers and families affected by preventable birth injuries should be compensated. Here at the Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we want to zealously represent you and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for any and all preventable birth injuries. If you believe that a birth injury to your or your child was preventable, call us at (410) 694-7291 to schedule your initial consultation today.


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