A birth injury is an injury that the child suffers before, during, or right after their birth, leading to some kind of disability. These injuries range from mild to severe, and while some are temporary that can be treated quickly, others can cause permanent damage to the child.
Many factors contribute to birth injuries, but medical malpractice is oone of the most common. Medical negligence occurs when the doctor fails to meet the standard of care they are expected to provide. It may happen due to inexperienced or negligent staff failing to read the signs, equipment mishandling or delay in labor.
Here are some common birth injuries caused by medical negligence.
#1 Brachial Palsy Injuries
Brachial palsy injuries cause damage to the brachial plexus, i.e., the nerves responsible for the movement of arms and hands. The most common cause of brachial plexus injuries is shoulder dystocia. When the fetus’s shoulders are stuck in the mother’s pelvis during delivery, and the doctor pulls a stuck fetus too hard, it can cause damage to the baby’s brachial plexus.
There are different types of brachial palsy injuries, such as global palsy and Horner syndrome, and Erb’s palsy.
The effects of these can be mild and temporary or be severe, leading to complete paralysis. If you believe your child suffered any neck or shoulder during delivery due to negligence of the medical staff, then you can file an Erb’s palsy lawsuit. Although filing a lawsuit will not cure your child, it will help you get compensation for treatment and future medical expenses.
Hypoxia occurs when a child experiences a lack of oxygen during delivery, leading to serious problems such as brain damage or organ failure. It can occur when the medical staff fails to monitor the fetus’s heart and oxygen rate during delivery. Oxygen flow can also decrease due to issues such as prolapsed umbilical or placental abruption.
Prolapsed umbilical cord refers to when the umbilical cord leaves the uterus before or after the baby during birth. Whereas placental abruption is a condition where the placenta separates from the uterus’s inner wall, resulting in oxygen deprivation for the baby and heavy bleeding for the mother.
Some studies suggest that even mild oxygen deprivation can lead to serious neurological issues such as intellectual disabilities and long-term physical problems.
#3 Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is caused by an injury to the brain during birth, leading to a lifelong condition affecting the child’s ability to control their muscles. Newborns with cerebral palsy may have problems maintaining their posture and balance later in life. Brain damage during delivery that leads to this condition can be caused by:
- Improper use of medical equipment such as forceps or vacuum extraction
- Hypoxia, i.e., oxygen deprivation
- Failure to treat jaundice
Unfortunately, there is no cure for cerebral palsy yet, however, treatments such as speech and physical therapy and social and emotional development can alleviate the symptoms.
Newborn babies are prone to infections and contagious diseases, and it is the doctor’s and medical staff’s responsibility to provide proper care to avoid any problems. Failure to provide proper care or delayed/improper treatment of infections can lead to severe complications, which can even be life-threatening.
Symptoms of infections in newborn babies may include jaundice, rashes, vomiting, persistent crying, irritability, and diarrhea.
A child can suffer from a fracture i.e., broken bones, if the doctor uses too much force while delivering the baby. It commonly happens when the child is feet first or buttocks first, or if it is prolonged and difficult labor.
The most common type of fracture is clavicle fracture, commonly known as collarbone fracture. Other types of fractures may include arms, legs, or even skull fractures, leading to brain damage and hemorrhage. However, most fractures are treatable, and the baby will be completely fine after the treatment.
Cephalohematoma is an injury that causes bleeding under the cranium, i.e., between the baby’s skull and the scalp. It occurs when pressure is applied to the baby’s head which causes rupture of blood vessels in the scalp, and the most common cause of this is improper usage of medical instruments such as vacuum or forceps during delivery.
A cephalohematoma usually appears after a few hours of birth in the form of small bumps on top of the baby’s head. In most cases, these bumps disappear on their own after a few months without the need for any medical intervention. However, it can increase the chances of contracting diseases such as amenia, jaundice, hypertension, and even meningitis in some cases.
#7 Facial Paralysis
Facial paralysis may occur when too much pressure is put on the baby’s face during delivery resulting in damage to the facial nerve. The child will be unable to close their eyes or control the facial movement of the affected side. It usually occurs due to the usage of medical instruments such as forceps and vacuum extractors during a difficult delivery. In case of mild injury, it can clear up in a few weeks however, serious injury can lead to permanent damage such as total paralysis of the face.
Birth injuries can be temporary and treatable; however, some birth injuries such as cerebral palsy can cause permanent damage to the child. Birth injuries are often caused by medical negligence and can be avoided by consulting good and responsible medical staff. If your child suffered from a birth injury due to medical malpractice, you should consider filing a lawsuit. It would compensate you for the medical expenses of your child’s treatment and may save other children from suffering the same fate.