What Are Some Common Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries come in many forms, but they are all extremely worrisome because newborn infants are so vulnerable. Here are some of the injuries that can occur during birth:
- Head trauma
- Broken clavicle
- Facial paralysis
- Cerebral palsy (disorders affecting muscles, posture, and/or movement)
- Erb’s palsy (arm paralysis)
- Brachial plexus palsy or Klumpke’s palsy (nerves between the neck and shoulder are adversely impacted during the birth)
- Torticollis, or “wry neck” (neck painfully twisted to one side)
- Neonatal encephalopathy (brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation), aka hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE, and its resulting complications
How Do Birth Injuries Happen?
Birth injuries can occur for a variety of reasons. Some of these injuries (such as congenital birth defects) are inevitable, but others are the result of negligence or malpractice on the part of medical professionals. Here are some of the most common causes of preventable birth trauma:
- Forceps misuse: When used properly, forceps can quicken the birth and reduce the risk of injury. But in the wrong hands, they can worsen or even cause nerve damage or head trauma in an infant.
- Vacuum misuse: See above. Sometimes vacuum extractors are necessary to guide a child along, but if used improperly, they can cause severe injuries to both the child and the mother.
- Delayed C-section: In cases of fetal distress and other emergencies, an immediate caesarean section may be required. If the doctor doesn’t order the C-section in time, injuries may occur.
- Hypoxia: Hypoxia is when the baby’s brain isn’t getting enough oxygen. If a doctor fails to recognize this condition and/or fails to act swiftly enough to remedy it, the child may be left with permanent mental or physical disabilities.
How Do I Know if a Birth Injury Was Caused by Medical Malpractice?
Only a licensed attorney can say for sure if a particular wound was caused by medical malpractice, but here are some examples of negligence on the part of doctors and nurses:
- Failure to conduct sufficient prenatal testing
- Failure to diagnose or treat birth-related problems, infections, etc.
- Failure to observe and respond to changes in the baby’s condition
- Improper usage/dosage of labor-inducing drugs such as Pitocin and Cytotec
- Other errors during prenatal, natal (birth), or postnatal care
How Can a Lawyer Help?
Needless to say, birth injuries can be absolutely devastating to the child, parents, and their loved ones. If someone’s baby has suffered a birth injury, the parent may be able to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for medical bills and other damages. If the trauma occurred because of medical malpractice, a doctor, nurse, hospital, and/or medical device manufacturer might be liable.
A lawyer can help determine if someone should file a birth injury lawsuit. If so, the attorney will help steer the client through the legal process, gathering evidence, reviewing medical records, and consulting medical experts. A skilled personal injury lawyer will handle every aspect of the claim, taking it to trial if necessary. They will build the strongest possible case so the client and their family can focus on healing.
Importantly, most personal injury attorneys are free to hire unless the client wins a settlement or jury verdict, at which point the law firm accepts a percentage of the money recovered.
Birth injuries and their complications can destroy a person’s life. As a result, there are many types of damages one might be able to recover through a lawsuit:
- Medical bills (hospital visits, medicine, therapy, etc.)
- Pain and suffering (physical pain and/or emotional distress)
- Lost wages
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of life’s enjoyment
Full compensation for these damages can help a person get back on track. If you think you or a loved one might qualify for a birth injury lawsuit, please don’t hesitate to contact us.