Common Birth Injuries
What is a Birth Injury?
When a doctor or healthcare professional fails to provide skilled or competent care during the mother’s pregnancy or labor and delivery and an infant is injured as a result, it is known as a birth injury claim. The most common avoidable birth injuries are:
- •Brachial palsy: damage to the bundle of nerves that supplies the hands and arms. This condition is most commonly associated with shoulder dystocia (difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder).
- •Brain injuries: oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery can cause cerebral palsy or chronic seizures. Lifelong physical and intellectual disabilities may result.
- •Facial paralysis: pressure on the baby’s face during labor or delivery can damage facial nerves resulting in temporary or permanent facial paralysis.
- •Fractures: fractures of a newborn’s collarbone or clavicle are most common during labor and delivery, particularly with breech delivery or trouble delivering the baby’s shoulder.
- •Cephalohematoma: a traumatic subperiosteal hematoma (a pool of blood) that occurs beneath the skin and above the periosteum of the infant’s skull which may lead to meningitis, jaundice or anemia
- •Caput Succedaneum: swelling outside of the skull, but under the scalp and skin in a newborn, which may be accompanied by bruising. If bruising is present, the infant is at risk of developing jaundice, which can be dangerous if it is not properly diagnosed and treated. There is also a risk for hair loss (alopecia) in a ring shape around the skull.
- •Spinal cord injuries: neonatal cervical spinal cord injuries are usually associated with obstructed labor or difficult delivery.
Factors that Contribute to Birth Injuries
Birth injuries often arise after prolonged labor or childbirth (dystocia), use of forceps, use of vacuum extraction, prematurity, large baby (more than nine pounds), breech delivery or maternal health. Birth injury claims against medical professionals often arise when a medical condition was not properly diagnosed and treated, unrecognized and untreated fetal distress, pulling or excessive stress on the infant during delivery and improperly using instruments.
After discussing treatment options for your infant with your doctor, it is important to get a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney who can help you.