Birth injuries occur on a daily basis within the United States. A birth injury can be any type of damage or injury afflicted to a baby before, during or slightly after the child’s birth. A birth injury to a baby can occur due to the baby’s size or the position during labor and delivery.
How Do Birth Injuries Occur?
Complications throughout the course of pregnancy or labor can result in a wide variety of injuries for a newborn baby. But birth injuries can, also, tragically, be sustained if mistakes are made or if there is carelessness before, during, or immediately after the birth. These mistakes could be caused by various types of medical negligence and/or mis-diagnosis. The end result could range from minute to deadly. Some of the many types of birth injuries are: Cerebral Palsy, life-long bodily injury, and heart conditions. Some of these injuries can result in the death of a child or mother.
Types of Birth Injury:
- Brachial Plexus Damage. A weakness or paralysis in the arms and shoulders caused by excessive stretching or pulling. Most of these injuries heal fully within 6 months, but those that do not often require extra surgery to fix nerve damage.
- Cranial Bleeding. Caused by a ruptured blood vessel in the brain. This is much more common in very premature babies. Deformity or damage to the skull during birth is a common cause of cranial bleeding and can result in a loss of oxygen to the brain, resulting in further brain damage.
- Bone Fracture. Fractures anywhere on the body can occur when the infant is either mishandled or is experiencing complications in the birthing process. Some complications include larger-than-normal size or an abnormal birthing position.
- Facial Nerve Injury. Often the face comes in contact with either the mother’s pelvis and/or forceps used by the doctor. On occasion this contact can result in a damage of nerve tissue, made apparent by uneven facial movements (especially during crying).
- Perinatal Asphyxia. Asphyxia generally refers to a lack of oxygen, and in this particular instance a lack of oxygen that occurs while birthing takes place. It can be caused by genetic abnormalities that cause weakness, infection, negative reaction to drugs, or pressure on the umbilical cord. Asphyxia Newborns often have trouble breathing and appear pale and weak.
- Skin Lacerations. Depending on the force needed to deliver the baby, skin contusions and lacerations can occur. This can come from doctor’s equipment or contact with the mother’s pelvis/other internal body parts.
- Cerebral Palsy. Caused by trauma to the brain during the childbirth procedure. Cerebral Palsy often includes a loss of movement and nerve functions. Generally Palsy will not get better or worse over time – the damage is set during the time of birth. Some common causes of Palsy include improper forcep usage and leaving the baby in the birth canal for too long.
Causes of Birth Injury:
The above injuries, and other rarer problems occur for a variety of reasons, some of which cannot be helped by medical professionals.
First, genetics and predispositions play a huge role in complications. It’s important to be aware of any medical issues that frequently (or even infrequently) occur in your family.
Another cause is bad parental decision making. If parents opt to use drugs and alcohol during pregnancy (among other bad habits), they put their child at risk before the birthing process even begins.
Baby position, size, time of birth (being early, late) and other variables are important when figuring out how to handle childbirth. These things are among the most common complications that occur.
Finally, medical error can result in injury at birth. Misuse of technology, drugs, equipment, or technique can result in almost all of the injuries listed above.
We Can Help:
Many of these conditions require life-long medical care which can be financially debilitating to the child’s family. If you or a loved one has been affected, you need an attorney who will fight for your child’s future. You need an attorney who has the experience and expertise to obtain the highest verdict possible. We are ready to assist you with your legal needs. Please feel free to contact us online or call 1-800-603-6833. All consultations are free of charge.