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New York Subdural Hematoma

During childbirth, the fetal head travels through the birth canal and encounters an extreme amount of pressure. In many instances, the pressure causes only swelling and bruising of the scalp. This bruising and swelling heals within days without medical treatment. At times, complications arise during delivery, such as the birth of a large fetus or abnormally shaped pelvis, which necessitates the use of forceps or a vacuum extractor to ease the delivery. Our New York Birth Injury Lawyer team at Stephen Bilkis and Associates, PLLC has learned, if not properly operated, a vacuum extractor or forceps may lead to a birth defect, such as subdural hematoma or intracranial hemorrhage.

A subdural hematoma is an accumulation of blood between the protective dura mater and the brain. The accumulation of blood raises intracranial pressure, which can compress the brain and lead to brain damage or death. Our New York Subdural Hematoma Injury Lawyer staff has discovered the accumulation of blood may also cause brain irritation and lead to an infant seizure.

A subdural hematoma can produce signs and symptoms within minutes or weeks following the birth injury. Vomiting is one of the signs and symptoms of a subdural hematoma, along with:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Seizure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Disorientation
  • Altered respiratory pattern
  • Amnesia

This injury can lead to fetal seizures within a couple of days after delivery. Every infant suffering from a subdural hematoma requires supportive measures, as in intravenous fluids, to maintain body fluid levels. The findings of our New York Subdural Hematoma Lawyer staff have revealed a severe subdural hematoma often requires surgical measures to alleviate the symptoms.

In many cases, the injury  occurs from an Ob/Gyn error, doctor error, nursing error or labor and delivery negligence. If a medical professional fails to deliver a proper level of standard of care or improperly uses a medical device, they may be held accountable for medical malpractice. In order for there to be a cause of action for negligence, there must be four elements present. First, there must be a duty owed to the patient. This can be via a physician, nurse, EMT, x-ray technician or other health care professional. This can also include the hospital. A case called Mduba v. Benedictine Hospital 32 .D. 2d 450 (1976) established this. In this case, the court held that a hospital can be held accountable for the actions of the doctor, even if the doctor was not an employee of the hospital at the time.

Next, it must be shown that this duty of care was breached in some way, either by action or inaction. This breach must have caused an injury to the plaintiff, and the injury produced damages.

It is important to note that if you feel you may have a medical malpractice case, it is important to speak with our office without delay. There are specific time deadlines within which you must file a claim. If this deadline is not followed, the plaintiff will lose their right to sue altogether. This is called the statute of limitations. In New York, this law is set out in NY C.P.L.R. 214-a. In the state of New York, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim is 2 ½ years.

It is very important to note that the time for this deadline starts running at the time of the mistake was made, not the time it was discovered. This distinction is somewhat unique to New York and a handful of other states. In fact, 44 states have a different rule, where the time frame states running at the time the error is discovered.

This can be particularly critical in a case of medical misdiagnosis. There is a famous case out of New York that illustrates the difficulty with this law. The concept is known as Lavene’s Law. It is about a woman who went to the emergency room ill and received a chest x-ray. Unfortunately, the x-ray technician missed a mass in her lungs. Three years later she returned to the emergency room and was diagnosed with end-stage lung cancer. Her daughter was unable to sue because three years had lapsed from the time of the medical mistake.

If your child is suffering from a subdural hematoma, contact our New York Injury Lawyer at Stephen Bilkis and Associates, PLLC. Please call us at 800.696.9529, online or contact one of our New York City offices in Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens, the Bronx or Brooklyn, our New York office in Westchester County or one of our Long Island offices in Nassau County or Suffolk County.