Bringing a new baby into the world is an extremely momentous event for both the parents and their new little addition. While most babies make it through the labor and delivery process unscathed, as many as seven out of every 1,000 infants delivered in the United States are born with a birth injury.
Unlike birth defects, which are linked to genetic and environmental factors, birth injuries are often the direct result of a medical professional's negligence or malpractice.
These injuries occur when a doctor, nurse, or other health care worker provides substandard care before, during, or immediately after a birth.
Birth injuries can range from relatively minor to debilitating or even fatal. The most common types of birth injuries include:
- Brachial palsy. Damage to the brachial plexus nerves prevents signals from traveling from the brain to the arm muscles, affecting their use. This injury is known as Erb's palsy when only the elbow and shoulder muscles are affected.
- Paralysis. Nerve damage or the use of forceps during delivery may result in paralysis; facial paralysis is particularly common. Depending on the severity of the nerve damage, paralysis may be temporary or permanent.
- Brain injuries. Lack of oxygen and improper use of delivery tools such as forceps or vacuums can cause long-lasting impairments.
- Cerebral palsy. Caused by damage to the brain before, during, or after birth, cerebral palsy is an incurable disorder that affects body movement and muscle coordination.
- Fractures and broken bones. Clavicle or collarbone fractures are common birth injuries, particularly for babies with broad shoulders or who were delivered in the buttocks first, or breech, position.
- Cephalohematoma. Bleeding underneath a cranial bone can result in a large lump on the head. However, the body usually reabsorbs the pooled blood.
- Caput succedaneum. Bruising and swelling of the soft tissues of a baby's scalp can occurs due to the pressure placed on the head in the birth canal.
- Seizures. Damaged or misfiring nerves caused by lack of oxygen or use of forceps may result in involuntary movements or seizures.
Consult an Experienced Birth Injuries Attorney
Having your infant diagnosed with a birth injury can be frightening. For many parents, the frustration they feel mounts when they learn that their child's injury likely could have been prevented had the doctors or nurses in question provided the appropriate standard of care.
If your child sustained a birth injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Accident and Injury Law Group today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.