Understanding Medical Reports in the Context of Birth Injury

One of the most joyous moments in a family’s life—the birth of a child—can quickly become a source of worry and heartache if the baby suffers from a birth injury. If you find yourself in this difficult situation, understanding the medical reports related to the birth can be instrumental in determining whether you have a valid birth injury claim. In this blog post, we aim to simplify the complexities surrounding medical reports in the context of birth injuries in South Carolina.

The Importance of Medical Reports

Medical reports serve as crucial pieces of evidence when it comes to birth injury cases. They contain detailed information about the labor, delivery, and postnatal care. These reports are prepared by healthcare professionals and are designed to be factual, objective records of the events that transpired. They can be particularly revealing if you suspect medical malpractice was a contributing factor to your child’s birth injury.

Common Terms You’ll Encounter

Medical reports often include terminology that can be perplexing for those not in the medical field. Some terms you might encounter include:

  • Meconium Aspiration: The inhalation of a newborn’s first stool into the lungs, which can cause breathing issues.
  • Forceps/Vacuum Extraction: Tools used to assist in the delivery, often noted if they cause any injury.
  • Apgar Score: A quick test performed on newborns to assess their physical condition and immediate need for extra medical care
  • Fetal Distress: A term to describe signs of problems with the baby during labor, such as an abnormal heart rate.

What to Look for in Medical Reports

Timing and Sequence of Events

One of the first things to assess is the timing and sequence of events leading up to and following the birth. Did the medical staff act promptly to signs of fetal distress? Was there an unnecessary delay in performing a cesarean section?

Annotations and Comments

Doctors and nurses often make notes and comments in medical records, which can provide context or explanations for certain actions or decisions. Pay close attention to these.

Medication and Treatment Records

Check if the medication or treatment administered is appropriately documented, including the types of medication, dosages, and timing.

Diagnostic Reports

These include lab results, ultrasound images, and any other diagnostic tests. In cases of birth injuries, the prenatal and immediate postnatal diagnostic reports can be highly significant.

South Carolina Legal Requirements

In South Carolina, medical malpractice claims, including birth injuries, typically have a statute of limitations of three years from the date of injury. The sooner you gather the necessary reports and consult a legal expert, the better your chances will be of filing a successful claim.

How to Obtain Medical Reports

You have the right to request your child’s medical records from the hospital where the birth occurred. Note that there may be fees associated with obtaining copies of these records. Some South Carolina hospitals have an online portal, making it easier to request records.


Medical reports can be daunting to read and interpret, especially when grappling with the emotional stress of a birth injury. However, they are pivotal in building a robust birth injury case in South Carolina. Understanding what to look for in these reports can empower you to take necessary legal steps should you suspect that medical malpractice played a role in your child’s injury.

Armed with the right information and understanding, you can be a more active participant in your child’s care and potential legal proceedings. The medical report is not just a piece of paper; it’s a roadmap that can help navigate the complexities of your specific situation.