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What are the birth injuries that result from medical malpractice?
When a mother is expecting a child, she rarely expects the process to go awry. The dream of seeing a beautiful little face in her arms is often enough to get her through the contractions and delivery. However, the reality can be vastly different. Medical accidents do happen, and no delivery is without its risks. While vaginal birth has its own dangers, C-sections are not risk-free either. Despite the medical advances and the availability of the latest medical technology, accidents do happen. The only thing parents can hope is that these happen to someone else!
Several factors can indicate the health status of the mother and child during the pregnancy. Sometimes, the medical professionals miss these signs or do not address the issues immediately. As a result, the risks of birth injuries increase during or shortly after labor. People often try to narrow birth injuries down with extensive categorization and descriptions, but, in reality, birth injuries can be of various types. Even with the most up-to-date setups, both vaginal birth and C-section can result in one or more birth injuries to the child and/or the mother. Depending on the circumstances and the nature of the injury, you may have the right to file birth injury medical malpractice lawsuits. Consulting an experienced attorney always helps to draft a strong case against your healthcare provider. Visit medical malpractice birth injury attorneys to find out more about birth injury medical malpractice lawsuits.
What causes birth injuries?
The human body is complicated, and several complex factors can influence the health of the newborn and the mother. Here are the different conditions that can lead to birth injuries –
- Prolonged labor.
- Dystocia or difficult labor and childbirth.
- Breech deliveries that create abnormal birthing presentations for the mother.
- Babies who weigh more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces make vaginal birth difficult and painful.
- Premature labor and birth. All premature babies require extra care since their bones are fragile and their immunity is low.
- The vaginal canal of the mother may be smaller or narrower than the size of the baby. Cephalopelvic disproportion is diagnosable by tests by the third trimester.
What are the common birth injuries these situations create?
The presence of multiple factors that increase the risk and challenges during birth increase the probability of birth injuries. Not all birth injuries are severe and permanent. It is typical for the mother and child to face a few challenges during birth. The risks associated with the delivery increase if there are complications during pregnancy. However, not all birth injuries qualify for medical malpractice lawsuits. Here are some of the most commonly documented birth injuries in the US –
- Cephalohematoma – it is not as common, but cephalohematoma usually goes away on its own. It happens when there is bleeding under the cranial bones of the newborn. It presents itself hours after delivery as a lump on the baby’s head. Most cephalohematomas take between 14-days and two months to disappear. However, some babies may develop jaundice as their bodies break down the excess RBCs in the hematoma.
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage – it is the breakage of blood vessels in the baby’s eyes. It is common and does not leave a lasting impact on the child’s vision. The redness in and around the white part of the eyes usually dissipates within a week or two.
- Caput succedaneum – it is the swelling of the soft tissues on the baby’s head. It can happen when he or she travels through the birth canal. While swelling should subside within a few days, some babies show extensive bruising that takes weeks to heal.
- Bruising and forceps marks – it is one of the most common birth injuries in babies. They show signs of bruising on their heads, shoulders, and faces. The forceps usually leave temporary marks on their soft tissue and skin for a while. The use of vacuum extraction during delivery can also leave bruising on the scalp or lacerations.
- Brachial palsy – the brachial plexus can sustain an injury during vaginal birth. It usually happens when the shoulder dystocia causes temporary bruising of the nerves. In that case, the baby regains the ability to move or flex the arm within a few months. However, tearing of the nerve can result in permanent damage.
- Facial paralysis – there are times when high pressure on the baby’s face causes facial nerve damage. It is common during vaginal birth, but the injury becomes visible when the baby cries. The condition is reversible if there is only bruising of the nerve. If the nerve suffers from tears, surgery may be necessary.
- Fractures – the newborn can sustain fractures of the clavicle. It is common during breech delivery or arduous labors. Fractures heal upon proper medical attention, but initially, the newborn is unable to move his or her arm on the side of the fracture.
What are some birth injuries and traumas that qualify as medical malpractice?
Unfortunately, not all of these injuries are treatable or curable. Some of these injuries are permanent. For example –
- Oxygen deprivation – just like adults, all babies require oxygen to survive. The deprivation can result in compromised functions of different organs. Inadequate oxygen supply to the brain can damage the newborn’s cerebellum. Oxygen deprivation can lead to many permanent damages to the child’s brain, including cerebral palsy.
- Preventable cerebral palsy – cerebral palsy can result from injuries during birth. According to the American Pregnancy Association, around 20% of the cases of cerebral palsy arise from injuries sustained from injuries during or after birth. With assistance from experienced lawyers and a medical team, it is now possible to prove that your child’s cerebral palsy is a result of medical negligence.
- Paralysis – the application of excessive force or the incorrect use of forceps during delivery can lead to permanent damage to the peripheral nervous system of the baby. Child paralysis is not common, but an unfortunate birth injury that qualifies for medical malpractice lawsuits.
Parents of infants who have experienced birth traumas have numerous questions regarding their rights, wellbeing, and compensation. It is essential that you find the right medical malpractice lawyers, who can help you draft a successful lawsuit against your doctor and medical professionals.
Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt LLC