Birth injuries occur when the mother and/or the unborn baby receive an injury during either the delivery or during labor. In most cases, these birth injuries are unavoidable and not due to the negligence of a medical or healthcare professional.
However, it may have been. In these situations, the doctor or other medical professional may have chosen a treatment that was incorrect or medically inappropriate or has failed to use the proper skills required during and after childbirth. In these cases you may wish to hire an attorney and file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
These situations aren’t common but are known to happen across the country. In general, most injuries occur during the delivery process. They may range from simple complications that snowball into lifelong issues to the loss of life during childbirth.
Dozens of different injuries may occur during the delivery process. These are some of the most common:
- Erb’s palsy
- Hypoxic-ischemic Encephalopathy
- Subconjunctival Hemorrhage
- Birth fractures
- Caput Succedaneum
Erb’s Palsy, otherwise known as brachial plexus birth palsy, is a nerve-related injury. It occurs when the newborn’s shoulder or neck is stretched too far during the delivery process.
Over one year, it’ll affect roughly one to two out of every 1,000 babies born.
When this palsy occurs, damage can result in a cluster of nerves that are located near the neck. This may cause loss of motion, weakness, or numbness in the arms of newborns. Most of these babies will eventually recover and begin to feel sensation within the arm. They’ll even eventually be able to move it normally as well.
However, there are levels of severity when it comes to Erb’s Palsy. Some newborns may need to undergo physical therapy and surgery may be necessary as well if improvement doesn’t occur within the first three to six months of the infant’s life.
Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is a medical condition takes effect if a newborn’s brain doesn’t receive an adequate flow of oxygen. This can be an extremely severe condition.
Possible damages can result in:
• The death of brain cells
• Permanent brain damage
• A plethora of developmental issues
• Cerebral palsy
• Death, if left untreated
A subconjunctival hemorrhage occurs when small blood vessels within a newborn’s eye begin to rupture. Normally, it presents as a small red patch on the white of a baby’s eye.
This occurs by several pressures placed on the newborn’s body during delivery. Usually, this birth injury will resolve itself without intervention after one or two weeks. In this case, the injury doesn’t occur and the baby will be left unharmed from the condition for the rest of their lives.
However, there are some instances when the baby won’t get better and further treatment will be needed. If the condition doesn’t improve within two weeks of birth, the child should be immediately taken back to a hospital for further care. In this case, medical malpractice may have occurred and a suit may be able to be considered.
Birth fractures are exactly what they sound like, fractures of the bone during the delivery process. This isn’t quite as uncommon as you might expect. Babies are fragile beings are broken/fractured bones are common enough. This is especially true if a doctor is negligent and is too rough during the delivery process.
The most common fractures that occur happen to the collarbone or the clavicle of a baby. However, fractures may occur anywhere within the skeletal system of a newborn.
Some of these fractures are indeed unavoidable, but they may also occur when a doctor would have had a reasonable opportunity to spot a probable complication. In this case, the doctor should opt for a C-section delivery right than a traditional birth.
When a doctor recognizes these complications but still doesn’t opt for more medically appropriate treatment, negligence may have occurred.
Caput succedaneum is known as the swelling of a newborn’s scalp. This is typically caused by the pressure put on the baby’s head during a prolonged or difficult delivery process. Normally, this complication arises when the delivery process is being done head-first. However, it may also happen during a vacuum extraction procedure.
Sometimes, this type of injury is unavoidable due to the nature of birth. In most cases, the condition will alleviate itself within a few days of childbirth. Swelling may also be seen with the injury.
If the condition doesn’t improve within the first week, seek medical attention, and look for further treatment options.
Cephalohematoma is also a birth injury that occurs as a result of vacuum extraction.
With this injury, blood collects between the skin and the cranial bone of a newborn. Typically, this condition will resolve itself within a few weeks to three months of childbirth. However, it may sometimes be a precursor to jaundice.
Take careful note of the condition of your newborn if this occurs and patiently wait for symptoms to alleviate. If the condition doesn’t improve after three months, additional treatment will be necessary.
Fetal deaths are the worst-case scenario for any expecting mother and their family.
When this occurs, medical malpractice may very well be the root cause of the issue. The difference with these cases is that they’re typically filed as wrongful death cases.
It should be noted that, in some states, a wrongful death action may only be presented when the baby died during or soon after the childbirth. More often than not, a fetus that dies within the utero won’t be considered separate from the mother. However, this is a complex issue and the matter may vary from state to state.
In the end, the issue of fetal death and wrongful death cases occur in one of two ways:
• The mother survives but the fetus sustains injuries which lead to death within the utero or at the time of delivery
• The fetus dies before or during childbirth because the mother also lost her life
Contact our Lawyers if your Child was the victim of a Birth Injury to help you seek fair compensation for your Childs lifelong medical needs. Our Attorneys are available 24/7 on 215 735 4800