The Leading Cause of Birth Injuries is Poor Hospital Care
Was your baby diagnosed with brain damage, Erb’s palsy, or cerebral palsy that occurred during your pregnancy or the birth? If so, you aren’t alone. In fact, cerebral palsy is the leading mobility disorder that impacts children in the U.S. Also, cases of general brain damage caused by asphyxia during the delivery occur in every one out of 100 births.
Your doctor and nurses understand what needs to be done to try to prevent harm to your baby. They won’t admit any mistakes that are made during your delivery, because then they may be held responsible for the poor decisions they made. Also, hospitals are not likely to accept responsibility for harm to a child unless forced by legal action.
At The Cochran Firm, we have experience investigating and litigating all types of birth injury cases. Our team has the experience necessary to help you navigate through this difficult and complex process.
Other Potential Causes of Birth Injuries
There are other factors that may result in a delayed birth. If your baby’s delivery is put off or delayed, it means they will lose access to blood or oxygen for a longer period of time. If your delivery lasts too long, then the baby may experience brain damage. Unfortunately, there is no way to “fix” this damage, nor will the child recover from it over time.
Some of the main factors that cause birth injuries include:
- The baby’s weight
- A premature birth
- Irregular position of your baby during delivery
- Size of the mother’s pelvis.
Sometimes, even blunt force trauma can cause birth injuries. If delivery is difficult, your doctor may choose to use pressure, vacuums, forceps, and other medical tools to help facilitate the birth. However, if the tools are misused, the baby may experience a force that results in a permanent injury.
In some situations, birth injuries can’t be avoided. However, there are cases where medical malpractice is to blame for any harm that occurs during birth. Doctors have been trained to recognize and properly diagnose issues as they occur. If the doctor does not respond to the situation properly, then a permanent injury may occur. It’s worth mentioning that doctors swear an oath to protect their patients. If they fail to do this, they must face the consequences of their actions.
When you hire our personal injury attorneys at The Cochran Firm, we will work to ensure that you and your child have everything needed for the remainder of your lives. We will also work to ensure that the responsible party is held liable.
What Type of Damages Can You Receive After a Birth Injury?
Usually, birth injuries can result in your recovering two types of compensatory damages. One is economic damages, and the other is non-economic damages.
With economic damages, you can receive compensation for tangible losses, such as medical costs, rehabilitation needs, and your medications. With non-economic damages, the purpose is to provide damages for losses that are more subjective, such as the loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and similar things. Consulting an accident attorney can help you navigate these complex legal matters and ensure you receive the appropriate compensation for your injuries.
Who Is Liable For A Birth Injury?
There are several parties who may be liable for a birth injury. This includes any healthcare providers who are present when the mother is giving birth. For example, a nurse, midwife, or obstetrician may all bear part of the responsibility when a birth injury occurs.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
While there are many different types of birth injuries, some are more common than others. Some of the most common birth injuries are listed here.
If your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, it means they have experienced a complex brain injury that is caused by insufficient oxygen to their brain or an infection. The injury may result in several issues, including spasticity in the legs and arms, cognitive defects, inability to eat, seizures and, in some cases, the inability to breathe on their own.
The potential causes of cerebral palsy are varied. Many babies experience this injury because of mistakes during prenatal care or during the mother’s labor and delivery.
Brachial Plexus Palsy
The nerves of a baby’s arm run from their neck, beneath their armpit, through the armpit, and all the way down their arm. During delivery, the nerves may be torn, which leaves the child with a permanent disability in movement and how the shoulder, hand, and arm grow and develop. This is referred to as a brachial plexus injury or Erb’s Palsy. In many cases, it results from negligence during the birth of the child.
Some of the symptoms that a child may suffer from brachial plexus include:
- Partial or complete arm paralysis
- Claw-like posture of the hand
- Limp limbs
- No or limited muscle control.
The recovery of your child will depend on the severity of the damage when you deliver the baby. In some situations, the symptoms will go away on their own after a few weeks. However, in other situations, the child will require ongoing physical therapy to help with proper recovery. If there is no progress seen after several months of physical therapy, then the child may require surgery.
During brachial plexus surgery, the doctor will use another tendon or muscle from the child’s body to help restore blood flow in the damaged nerves. Sometimes the process is effective and helps to “wake them up” to restore part or all of their function.
Fractured or Broken Bones
Not all broken bones that occur during childbirth are caused by the negligence of a healthcare worker. It’s important to contact our legal team at The Cochran Firm to find out if your situation was caused by negligence.
You may wonder how a broken or fractured bone occurs during childbirth. There are several circumstances that may lead to broken bones. These include (but are not limited to):
- Use of tools
- Mother having a narrow birth canal
- Baby gets stuck during delivery
- Larger newborn
- Trauma at birth.
The most common type of broken bone during childbirth is a fractured clavicle or collarbone. Some of the other bones that are commonly broken during childbirth include the humerus, femur, and depressed skull fracture.
You may be able to tell that your baby has suffered a broken bone during birth if they are fussy or cry when they move. If the baby has experienced a clavicle fracture, then they will likely cry when their arm is moved.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can occur for several reasons during childbirth. In some situations, this type of injury is caused by issues during delivery. For example, in a vertex delivery, excessive rotation or torsion can cause spinal cord injuries. If your baby is delivered in the breech position, excessive traction may cause your baby to suffer a spinal cord injury.
In other situations, undiagnosed cases of spina bifida can cause a spinal cord injury. This is a birth defect that is classified as a neural tube defect. In most cases, it is a condition that can be diagnosed at around the 28-week mark of your pregnancy.
Any time a child experiences a spinal cord injury, it’s considered extremely serious. In some situations, it may even lead to stillbirth or other types of fatal neonatal injuries. Some of the signs your baby may have a spinal cord injury when they are born include:
- Improper respiratory function
- Spasticity issues that look like cerebral palsy
- Symptoms of another type of neuromuscular disorder
- Hypotonia or weakness.
It is important to make sure spinal cord injuries are diagnosed quickly, as they can cause serious issues and injuries to a baby.
This is a condition that refers to blood that collects under your baby’s skin on the scalp. While this condition usually heals in most babies, you should still speak to an attorney to see if compensation is possible.
Usually, this injury will appear a few hours after birth. The most obvious sign of the condition is a raised lump on the baby’s head. Over time, the baby’s body will likely reabsorb it; however, this can take weeks or months to happen.
The biggest risk of this condition is that the baby will be at a higher risk of developing jaundice in the first few days of their life. In some situations, the condition is so severe that it causes hypotension or anemia. Another possible outcome of cephalohematoma is a linear skull fracture.
Some of the causes of this condition include:
- The baby’s head hits the mother’s pelvic bone while being delivered
- The use of a vacuum to help with delivery
- The use of other labor and delivery medical devices.
You should be able to count on your doctor to safely deliver your baby. If your baby experiences a birth injury, it’s a good idea to contact our legal team to find out about filing a claim for compensation.