With technology growing more advanced with each passing year, having a baby is safer today than ever before. However, birth injuries can still happen. During the course of labor and delivery, complications can occur which can result in various health problems for a newborn as well as emotional issues for the family. Collectively, these complications which occur to a newborn are referred to as birth trauma or birth injuries.
Birth injuries can be severe, with long term consequences. Sometimes trained doctors, nurses, midwives and other medical professionals fail to anticipate, recognize, react and respond properly, fail to notice warning signs, or otherwise deviate from accepted standards of medical care. When a physician does not react quickly and sufficiently to signals of a patient's distress or when substandard care is provided during the pregnancy or birthing process, it becomes a dangerous situation which may have a lasting negative effect on a child.
What are Birth Injuries?
Improper medical care or medical negligence during childbirth may cause physical harm to the mother or the child or both. This type of injury is known as a birth injury. A birth injury can cause broken bones, nerve injury or brain damage, among other injuries. Some common birth injuries include:
- · Cerebral Palsy is permanent medical condition that is due to brain damage which can occur during labor and delivery. Motor skills, senses, muscles, mental development, and many other areas are affected by this disease.
- · Erb’s Palsy is an injury to the brachial plexus, the area where the neck joins the shoulder. Erb's palsy can cause paralysis, limpness or loss of sensation in the arm or shoulder. The symptoms of Erb's palsy vary depending upon the extent of the nerve damage.
- · Brain Injuries have differing levels of severity and affect each victim differently. A child who has suffered a brain injury may have permanent debilitating injuries.
- · Spinal Injuries may cause loss of sensation to certain affected parts of the body, as well as possible motor, bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunctions. In severe spinal cord injuries paraplegia (paralysis from the waist down) or quadriplegia (paralysis from the neck down) may result.
Birth injuries, such as cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy, can be devastating; they present physical, emotional, and financial challenges for a family. The expenses involved are very high due to medical procedures, health care assistants, and assistive devices, as well as the variety of medications, surgeries, and rehabilitation that may be necessary. These conditions can affect every aspect of the victim's life, including relationships with family and friends, employment, and daily activities.
What Causes Birth Injuries?
The most serious birth injuries are those that affect a newborn baby's skull and brain. During birth, the baby’s head is very vulnerable to serious injury. Injuries also take place when excessive force is applied to the baby during delivery, sometimes with forceps, vacuum devices, or through the improper maneuvers in attempting to deliver a large baby in relation to the size of the mother.
Examples of mistakes by medical personnel that can cause a birth injury including:
- · Delaying or failing to recognize the need for a Caesarean Section
- · Failing to detect an umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck
- · Failing to attach enough significance to signs and symptoms of fetal distress
- · Failing to refer a woman with a high risk pregnancy to a specialist
- · Failing to take appropriate steps to avoid premature delivery
- · Failure to act appropriately upon signs of oxygen deprivation to the fetus
The most tragic form of birth injuries are those that could have been prevented with proper care before, during, or after labor and delivery. While no one can change the outcome of these unfortunate events, an experienced lawyer can ensure that your legal rights are protected and that you are justly compensated to sufficiently deal with your child’s injuries and his/her life ahead. If your child has sustained birth injuries, contact an experienced attorney immediately to protect your rights.