Birth injuries (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birth_injury) are injuries sustained by a newborn baby before, during, or immediately after birth. While the majority of deliveries produce healthy babies, there are instances when certain factors occur that result in injuries to the newborn infant. These injuries may be mild and only require a minimum of medical care.
However, due to the fragile nature of a newborn baby, there are many types of birth injuries that are serious and could pose serious growth and development delays for the newborn child.
Brain injuries can occur through various ways, but they commonly occur as a result of oxygen deprivation. Cord coiling, physical trauma during pregnancy, and serious infections can all obstruct oxygen flow to the brain and lead to anoxia, hypoxia, birth asphyxia, and related conditions.
One common example is cerebral palsy, which can arise due to maternal infections, infant stroke, and infection. If the doctor failed to perform proper pre-natal examinations, the infant can develop cerebral palsy due to oxygen deprivation. This can also happen when the doctor fails to monitor and detect maternal infections, fails to carry out a maternal C-section as needed, fails to identify a cord coil or prolapsed umbilical cord, or fails to use birth assistance equipment correctly.
Physical injuries, also called muscle-related injuries, are those that affect muscle development and the development of locomotor skills later in life. Common types of muscle-related injuries include brachial plexus, Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy, and shoulder dystocia.
Brachial plexus is a condition that affects the upper portion of the arm and is characterized by weakness and inability to use the arm muscles. Erb’s palsy is a variation of brachial plexus and may be characterized as the total paralysis of the entire arm. Klumpke’s palsy is also another form of brachial plexus that affects the lower nerves of the arm and prevents normal movement of the fingers and wrist. Infants with this condition exhibit a rigid, claw-like formation of the hands.
Shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby’s head and shoulders are trapped behind the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery. When this occurs, the baby may suffer respiratory distress, broken collarbones, brachial plexus fracture, and the like. In severe cases, oxygen supply is cut off and the baby could lapse into a coma.
There are birth injuries that arise from infections caught during pregnancy, as well as during or after delivery. In certain instances, failure of the physician to make an early detection of an infection can be a source of a claim for compensation. A West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer can help with this. Unsanitary delivery conditions, errors committed during delivery, and other lapses in performance of medical professionals responsible for a safe delivery can expose the baby to infection.
Meconium aspiration is a common delivery condition that exposes the infant to infection. This occurs when meconium, a substance that makes up the infant’s first bowel movement, gets into the lungs. This can occur during difficult or delayed deliveries.
Newborns can suffer injuries during delivery. Improper use of delivery equipment, the use of the wrong medication, or the incorrect dosage of drugs can result in severe injuries. For example, improper use of delivery forceps can cause tears on the skin, bruising, broken bones, and even skull fractures. Bruising is very common among newborns, especially during difficult deliveries. It typically appears on the head and the face due to pressure against the mother’s pelvic bone, improper use of delivery forceps or pressure from a vacuum device.
Giving the wrong medication or the wrong dosage can result in toxicity and allergic reactions, just to name a few. Some infants may also suffer hypertension arising from the stress of the delivery.
Legal Counsel for Birth Injuries: Do You Need a Lawyer?
The parents of a baby with birth injuries will naturally want to understand what caused such injuries, what medical solutions are available, the prognosis for the infant, and the extent of medical care needed. Coupled with these is the need to determine the liability of medical health providers if carelessness, negligence, and malpractice can be proven.
In cases like these, parents should consult with a malpractice lawyer who specializes in birth injury cases to see if they have a case so that they can seek the compensation that is due to them.
Looking at a possible medical malpractice incident that caused your baby to suffer birth injuries? Talk to your birth injury lawyer today.