Birth injuries can include any kind of injury to a mother or child during the birthing process. Birth injuries can be temporary or cause long-lasting or even life-long damage. Although some forms of birth injury are unavoidable, it’s thought that nearly 50% of all birth injuries could be avoided with proper identification and planning, according to the Birth Injury Guide. In these cases, it’s possible that medical malpractice might have occurred to cause the injury.
Causes of Birth Injuries
- Premature birth: This is often outside of the control of a doctor. However, if there are indications that premature birth might be a risk, a doctor can prescribe certain medications designed to halt labor
- Delayed birth: This may occur due to a variety of reasons; failure to order a Cesarean section or waiting to order one until harm has already come to mother or child. Failure to pay attention to fetal monitoring strips which can indicate stress on a baby, especially during prolonged labor, is a common reason for delays in delivery
- Oxygen deprivation: In situations where the umbilical cord wraps itself around the baby’s neck or is kinked or prolapsed, oxygen deprivation can harm the baby. Additionally, low birth weights or underdeveloped organs in the baby before birth can also result in harmful oxygen deprivation which could lead to lasting damage for the infant.
- Trauma from impact: Impact on delivery such as a baby being dropped, bumped, or otherwise experiencing a sharp impact during delivery can cause trauma to the baby’s health.
- Infection: If the mother or baby has an infection that goes untreated or improperly treated, this can cause a higher risk of complication, injury, and even death for both mother and baby.
- Abnormal position of baby: Babies born breech, face, brow, or shoulder can all experience birth injuries which may have lasting effects.
- Medical malpractice: Failure to perform a Cesarean section, improper use of forceps, vacuum extractors, labor induction drugs, failure to fetal monitoring strips could all constitute medical malpractice.
Common Birth Injuries
Birth Injuries tend to involve the brain, skull, nerves, spine, skeleton and organs. Immediate symptoms to determine birth injury may include seizures, skull fractures, difficulty suckling or eating, an arched back when crying, and lowered heart rate among many. Common birth injuries include:
- Brachial Plexus Palsy (Erb’s Palsy)
- Bone fractures
- Caput succedaneum
- Perinatal asphyxia
- Intracranial hemorrhage
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage
- Facial paralysis
- Spinal cord injuries
- Cerebral palsy
What You Should Do
First, make note of all the symptoms your baby is experiencing, including video taping. Recall the details of your pregnancy through delivery and make notes. Ensure your baby gets the medical care he or she needs for these symptoms. Gather paperwork and keep it in a safe place.
If you believe there is a possibility that medical malpractice caused injury to your child during birth, it is important that you speak to a qualified birth injury lawyer for professional guidance and representation. Personal injury attorneys who have experience in med mal cases review medical records and offer legal advice to parents at no charge, so there is no reason to remain in the dark when you suspect something happened to you or your child during labor and delivery.