Ohio Medical Malpractice Attorneys Seek Justice for Injured Infants After Neonatal Intensive Care Errors
We don’t rest until medical errors are brought to light
Few experiences in life are as frightening or heartbreaking as the moment you learn your newborn baby is in danger and requires a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit. Unfortunately, for far too many parents, the worry deepens, as neonatal intensive care errors lead to increased danger and pain for their newborns. At the Eisen Law Firm, our Cleveland medical negligence attorneys provide aggressive representation to parents whose children have become victims of medical mistakes. We fight to ensure your child receives the quality care he or she deserves.
What is neonatal intensive care?
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, more commonly referred to as NICU, is a special area of the hospital devoted to providing care for ill or premature infants. The “neonatal” period commonly refers to the first 28 days of a baby’s life, and it is during this time period that babies may be sent to the NICU for critical care.
The doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lactation consultations and respiratory therapists working in the NICU are expected to be specially trained to deal with the unique challenges of treating newborns.
The specialized care and technology available in the NICU are designed to address a wide range of newborn medical issues, including:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Drug or alcohol use by the mother during pregnancy
- Newborn respiratory distress (due to birth asphyxia or other reasons)
- Infections (such as herpes, group B streptococcus, or chlamydia)
- Aftereffects of fetal distress or nuchal cord (cord around the neck)
- Need for medications, IV fluids, or blood transfusions
- Birth defects or congenital abnormalities such as heart defects
Whatever the factors leading to the need for NICU attention, each and every baby in the specialized care unit should be provided with quality and attentive care throughout their stay. Not all hospitals that deliver babies have a NICU. If your baby is born at such a hospital and needs intensive care, he or she will be transferred to another hospital that has a NICU.
NICU errors are often tragic and devastating
Despite the years of specialized training NICU professionals often receive, serious mistakes do occur within the unit. Like any other medical errors, these mistakes have the potential to change the life of the victim and their family forever.
In the NICU, however, errors carry the added weight of affecting newborns and new parents. Errors that commonly occur within the NICU include:
- Misdiagnosis: Failure to properly diagnose a condition may lead to avoidable pain and suffering for an infant and the infant’s family. A doctor who misses a diagnosis or who provides the wrong diagnosis may be liable for resulting injuries and damages.
- Prescription errors: Allergic reactions, adverse interactions and other prescription issues are incredibly dangerous to all patients, especially infants. Unfortunately, preventable errors in prescribing medications are common. In the case of infants, even “small” errors in medication dosage can cause significant injuries.
- Diagnostic errors: Whether a technician makes an error while performing a test, or a professional fails to interpret properly or to communicate the test’s results, diagnostic errors may lead to improper treatment of the newborn.
- Patient Misidentification: NICU patients are at significant risk of being misidentified and therefore receiving a treatment planned for another patient or not receiving a needed treatment. The risk of misidentification is heightened in NICU patients because they cannot self-identify and because characteristics often used to identify patients (height, weight, hair color, etc.) are so similar among NICU patients.
- Miscommunication: To be truly effective, a medical team must communicate clearly and effectively on all matters relating to the patient. Unfortunately, miscommunication between teams and departments within a hospital and among members of the same team often lead to patient injuries. In many areas of a hospital, the patient can help reduce those errors. For example, an adult patient may remind a nurse that he or she is allergic to a particular medication or that a doctor had said he or she wasn’t supposed to have a particular procedure performed. In the NICU, the patient cannot help prevent such mistakes. It is especially important therefore that doctors and nurses communicate precisely and effectively in the NICU. Written policies and procedures should be implemented to reduce such errors.
- Equipment Issues: NICU patients are often monitored and treated with the use of sophisticated monitors and equipment, including ventilators that are needed to help the baby breathe. When this equipment is not inspected, set up, maintained, connected, or used, babies are put at serious risk of permanent injury, including brain damage and death.
- Treatment or Procedure Mistakes: NICU patients often undergo invasive procedures to assist in their treatment. Mistakes in these procedures often are life-threatening.
If you feel that your child’s medical care team has committed an error or negligence, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
Schedule a free consultation with one of our dedicated Cleveland medical malpractice lawyers if your child was injured in the NICU
The malpractice attorneys at The Eisen Law Firm serve families of NICU malpractice victims in Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, Lorain, Akron, and throughout Ohio. We offer free initial consultations, so contact us today by phone at 216-687-0900 or online.