As families prepare to welcome a new baby into the world, the final event of childbirth is generally viewed as a happy day full of new beginnings. There may be some nerves and stress related to the birth, but for the most part, everyone is filled with excitement and anticipation as they wait to meet their newest family member.
With several important advances in medicine, childbirth has become much safer in the last few decades, but occasionally, complications still occur. Thanks to well-trained and prepared medical professionals, however, most of these complications are dealt with swiftly and carefully. Unfortunately, some doctors or nurses act carelessly or negligently in the delivery room, causing permanent, life-changing injuries to newborn babies.
Which Birth Injuries Are Commonly Caused by Medical Negligence?
Childbirth is a physically strenuous time for both mother and baby, and there is always risk for injury or complication. When doctors act quickly and carefully, they are often able to minimize permanent damage to the baby. In cases of negligence, however, a doctor’s carelessness or rushing could create serious birth injuries, including:
- Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral palsy is the result of damage to the brain, which can occur at any point throughout the pregnancy as the brain is developing, as well as during birth. One of the most common causes of brain injury during birth is asphyxia, or lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain; this often happens when the umbilical cord gets wrapped around the baby’s neck. Doctors are trained to address this scenario quickly, typically by performing an emergency caesarean section. Some either fail to perform a timely C-section, or others panic and try to forcibly remove the baby from the birth canal, causing damage to the baby’s face and brain.
- Brain Damage: While brain damage can happen at any point during the pregnancy, childbirth brain injuries can occur as a result of asphyxia or incorrect use of forceps or vacuum during forced extraction. Brain injuries during birth can cause a number of medical problems, including cerebral palsy, paralysis, and death.
- Erb’s Palsy and Other Brachial Plexus Injuries: Erb’s Palsy is a nerve injury that often occurs when a baby’s shoulder becomes stuck in the birth canal, known as shoulder dystocia. Pressure may be applied in excess to the baby’s head to extract the baby, and the nerves that connect the shoulder and neck may become stretched or torn. This bundle of nerves is known as the brachial plexus, which controls finger, hand, and arm movement. If the nerves are simply stretched, the child may regain movement, but torn or ruptured nerves risk total paralysis of the arm.
Complications can often be aggravated by improper use of medication, such as epidurals or Pitocin, as well as a doctor’s failure to monitor your baby’s vital signs throughout labor. Delayed or improper reactions to fetal distress can also be to blame for your child’s birth injuries.
Medical Negligence and Birth Injury Claims
If your child suffered a serious injury during birth, a doctor’s negligence may be to blame. If it can be proven that the doctor breached the medical standard of care during your childbirth, you may be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages for your case. To find out if your case is eligible for compensation, schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our experienced birth injury attorneys today at 855-947-0707.