Common Birth Injuries
Many different types of injuries can happen during labor and delivery. While some birth injuries can clear up on their own and pose no long-term risk to the child, others can leave a child with serious disabilities and can affect them for the rest of their lives. Some of the more common birth injuries include the following:
- Brachial Plexus Injuries — Also known as Erb’s palsy, injuries to a child’s brachial plexus nerves result from trauma during delivery when the doctor improperly pulls on the baby. Resulting nerve damage can be relatively minor or can completely disconnect nerves from the spinal cord, leading to paralysis.
- Perinatal Asphyxia — This injury results from significant oxygen deprivation of the child during delivery, which can occur due to compression of the umbilical cord, uterine rupture, placental separation, among other reasons. If a doctor does not identify the oxygen deprivation and act quickly, the child can suffer serious brain damage.
- Intracranial Hemorrhage — Commonly referred to as a brain bleed, a hemorrhage inside the skull can result from improper use of vacuums or forceps, incorrect delivery methods, or other mistakes that can lead to birth trauma. Bleeding can cause the child’s intracranial pressure to increase to dangerous levels and can cause long-term brain damage.
- Spinal Cord Injuries — Damage to a child’s spinal cord can occur from use of forceps or over-stretching. Victims of spinal cord injuries at birth can have permanent neurological damage or may even be permanently paralyzed.
- Cerebral Palsy — Cerebral palsy is a lasting condition caused by brain damage during birth. This disorder can seriously affect a child’s movement and coordination abilities and can cause weak muscles, stiffness, sensory deficiencies, seizures, cognitive impairments, and more.
Children who suffer serious birth injuries may require a lifetime of medical care and may experience physical and/or cognitive limitations. A birth injury has the potential to completely change the life of an otherwise healthy child and their family.
Injuries At Birth Due to Medical Negligence
A doctor is expected to provide care that another similarly trained doctor would provide in a similar situation. When a doctor fails to do this, they can be found negligent and can face a claim for medical malpractice. The following are only some examples of acts during labor and delivery that may be considered to be negligent by the court if an injury resulted:
- Failure to identify serious conditions in the mother of child that may lead to complications during birth;
- Not properly monitoring the child’s oxygen levels, heart rate and other vital signs;
- Not acting quickly enough to perform an emergency C-section or take other action if the mother or child’s health is in danger;
- Not using proper care during the delivery that results in traumatic injuries;
- Not identifying potential health issues in the child following delivery or not providing necessary emergency care for the child;
It is important to understand that not every mistake made by a doctor will lead to a claim for medical malpractice. Simple errors that did not breach the duty of care for medical professionals will not lead to recovery. Instead, you must prove that the doctor fell below the standard of care that should have been provided in that type of situation. The skilled birth injury lawyers at the Joye Law Firm understand how to assess whether medical negligence occurred and whether you have a viable claim for medical malpractice.