Common Birth Injuries That Are Considered Avoidable (AKA Medical Malpractice)

- Chris Roy
LA Birth Injury Attorney

Most expectant parents hope for a delivery with as little drama as possible and dream of taking a healthy baby home from the hospital.. Fortunately, most parents see this dream realized, but some do not because their child has experienced an injury either during the laboring process, during delivery, or immediately after delivery. In many cases, these injuries are avoidable. Doctors or other medical staff may fail to adequately monitor the mother or infant during this process, or may mishandle medical equipment, or make other poor medical decisions that may give parents of injured children grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit on behalf of their child.

Possible Birth Injuries

According to a report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, there were more than 157,000 injuries to mothers and newborns in 2006 that could have potentially been avoided. Stanford Children’s Health reports on some of the more common causes of birth injuries which can have long-term effects on both the child and their family.

Head Injuries – Two main types of head injury are relatively common during the birth process. Caput Saccedaneum  occurs when the soft tissues of the baby’s scalp swell as they are travelling through the birth canal. This happens most often when vacuum extraction is utilized during delivery. Cephalohematoma, or bleeding under the baby’s cranial bones, manifests as a lump on the infant’s head hours after birth. It may linger for up to three months and may also cause the baby to develop jaundice.

Facial Paralysis – In some cases, excessive pressure is applied to a baby’s face, sometimes with forceps, and this can cause nerve damage. Babies who experience this paralysis may not be able to close the eye on the side of their face where the injury has occurred. In some cases, the nerve damage is only a bruising which heals, and movement capabilities are restored. If the nerve is torn, however, the child may need surgery.

Brachial Palsy – Brachial palsy is caused by damage to the nerves that are connected to the hands and feet. It occurs while the baby is being rotated during the delivery process, and the baby loses the ability to flex and rotate the arm. Bruising of these nerves results in months of limited mobility. If the nerves tear, the damage can be permanent. In either case, parents and other caretakers must help the infant with exercises in order to maintain their child’s range of motion.

Fractures – Most of the fractures that happen to a baby during labor and delivery affect the clavicle or collarbone. Breech deliveries are a common reason for this to happen. Other birth injuries include Hypoxia and Laryngeal Nerve Injury. With hypoxia (oxygen deficiency), a variety of complications may be present during the labor process, and some may even be present during the course of the pregnancy. Reduced uterine perfusion, fetal sepsis, and/or cord compression are just a few situations that can result in fetal distress. Babies born in these situations may be given low Apgar scores after birth, and up to 13% may develop cerebral palsy. Laryngeal nerve injuries can cause babies to be hoarse or to have a hard time swallowing. In some cases, respiratory problems can occur. Whether your child’s injury during birth was relatively minor or is one that causes a long-term disability, if it is one that could have been avoided, you deserve to be compensated for your or your child’s suffering and any additional expenses you may have. A malpractice attorney can help you review the circumstances that surrounded your labor and delivery, and help you determine whether medical personnel reacted appropriately.

In addition to information provided by Sanford, the website Patient.info examines some of these injuries, as well as others that can happen during labor and delivery.  If you have questions about this topic or suspect that your baby suffered harm due to negligence during delivery, call the Chris J. Roy, Jr. Law Firm. Chris J. Roy, Jr. will carefully examine all possible avenues for compensation to make sure you get the best recovery possible. An experienced litigator, he takes pride in helping victims of medical negligence throughout Louisiana. For help with your legal claim, contact the firm today for a free initial consultation by calling 1-318-987-8170 or filling out this online form.