Childbirth is the conclusion of a human pregnancy with the emergence of a newborn infant from its mother’s uterus.  There are considerable risks associated with childbirth, and therefore emotion and panic is not uncommon for doctors, midwives, nurses and labouring mothers.  Unfortunately, there are many different ways that an infant can be injured before, during and immediately after labour and delivery.  In most cases, childbirth ends with a perfectly healthy newborn.  However, although relatively rare, there are some injuries to a fetus or newborn that are due to medical malpractice, when a doctor, midwife or nurse makes a mistake.  When a medical mistake is made consequences can result in birth trauma, which affects the entire family.


The term birth trauma refers to harm that occurs to a baby just prior to, during or following childbirth.  Some forms of birth injuries may only last a few days, while other forms may result in permanent symptoms for the duration of the baby’s life.

Some of the most common serious injuries sustained as a result of birth trauma include:

  • Delayed birth causing blood pressure and stroke or cardiovascular issues;
  • Oxygen deprivation resulting in brain injuries;
  • Broken bones;
  • Brachial plexus injuries (paralysis of the arm at birth);
  • Erb’s palsy (damage to the C5-C6 motor roots resulting in paralysis of the upper arm);
  • Spinal cord injuries;
  • Head trauma;
  • Cerebral palsy (neurological disorder that permanently impacts motor skills and muscle co-ordination); and
  • Seizures.


It is important to expectant mothers and their babies that the medical professionals that they rely upon and put their trust in follow the requisite standards of care when dealing with pregnancy, labour and delivery complications.  

Doctors, midwives, nurses and other medical professionals should be cognizant of complications that can lead to birth injuries.  It is the job of these professionals to do everything within reason to prevent harm to the mother and the baby, which includes providing proper prenatal care and referring the expectant mother to appropriate specialists if birth injury risk factors are discovered.

When birth trauma injuries could have been prevented but occurred due to the negligence or mistake of a medical professional, parents may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against the responsible party or parties.

Babies who suffer injuries as a result of birth trauma may require a lifetime of medical care, which can be devastating for their parents, both financially and emotionally. 

As medical malpractice cases are often complex, it is important to prove the following four key elements in order to be successful:

  1. The existence of a patient-provider relationship.
  2. A deviation from the standard of care:  There are medical standards in place within each profession that define acceptable medical treatment under similar circumstances by prudent health care professionals.  Any instances where the actions or lack of action do not adhere to those medical standards is considered a deviation from the standard of care and may be considered medical malpractice.
  3. A causal link that harm resulted from the deviation of the standard of care:  You may only claim medical malpractice if the violation or deviation from the standard of care resulted in harm to the patient. 
  4. Damages that resulted from the harm incurred:  In general, in order to pursue a medical malpractice claim, a patient must prove that the injury resulted in significant damages, which may include an unusual amount of pain, loss of income, suffering, hardship or significant past and future medical bills. 


If you think that medical malpractice contributed to your child’s birth injuries, the most important first step is to retain an experienced birth injury and medical malpractice lawyer to represent you.

Your lawyer will obtain all of your child’s medical records and you can help by keeping a journal of all symptoms, complications, costs and appointments that your child has attended and any other information that can be helpful to prove that your family has suffered as a result of the negligence of medical professionals.

If you or a loved one have suffered injuries because of a negligent doctor, nurse, midwife or medical professional, it is essential to understand the legal options that may be available to you.  The legal team at Cuming & Gillespie LLP are well equipped to handle cases involving birth trauma and help you recover damages from the responsible parties.  We can assemble a team of legal and medical experts to ensure that you put forth the strongest case and receive the compensation you are entitled to. 

With over 20 years of experience, the award winning lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP have handled many different types of medical malpractice claims, and have the experience and knowledge to evaluate your case and help you decide whether you should pursue a claim.  Call us at 403-571-0555 or online today to book a free consultation.