There are approximately two million birth injuries each year in the United States. While most of these injuries are treatable and resolve themselves quickly, some are very serious. In some cases, trauma or injury caused during birth can lead to developmental delays, neurological injuries, and even death.
If your child has suffered a birth injury, you will need a skilled attorney on your side that handles medical malpractice, and more specifically, birth injury cases.
Most Common Causes of Birth Injuries
While births occur every day in hospitals and birthing centers, the delivery process is complex and complications can happen. Risk factors for birth injuries include:
- Size and Weight – There are increased risks for both small babies that are pre-term, as well as for large babies that weigh more than eight pounds.
- Position – Babies that are delivered in the breech position also pose a higher risk for birth injury.
- Difficult or Extended Labor – Called “dystocia,” labor that is prolonged can increase the risk of birth injury.
- The Mother’s Pelvis – Often when the size or shape of the mother’s pelvis cannot accommodate vaginal birth, it can be identified before the child is born. If a physician fails to identify this problem during pregnancy, it can be a factor in a preventable birth injury.
Along with the factors that increase the risk of birth injury, mistakes can be made by physicians, nurses, midwives, and other healthcare professionals. These include:
- Improper or excessive use of forceps or vacuum extractor during delivery
- Failure to respond to fetal distress
- Delay in performing a cesarean section
- Failure to respond to umbilical cord entrapment
- Failure to intubate a newborn requiring oxygen
- Failure of a midwife to obtain assistance from a physician when complications were present
Types of Birth Injuries
Both natural factors and medical mistakes can lead to a variety of birth injuries such as:
- Brachial plexus palsy, Erb’s palsy, and Klumpke’s palsy – Caused from pulling the head or neck during delivery. This can cause permanent paralysis of the arms.
- Cerebral palsy – A range of neurological disorders that permanently affect body movement and coordination.
- Mental retardation – Caused by a lack of oxygen or blood to the baby during labor and delivery.
- Brain injuries – Caused by forceps delivery or vacuum extraction.
- Kernicterus – a form of brain damage caused by untreated jaundice.
Do You Have a Claim?
When there has been a birth injury due to an error on the part of a healthcare provider, the impact can be devastating and life-altering. You may not know where to turn. While deliveries can be unpredictable and some injuries cannot be prevented, sometimes errors are made. When these mistakes happen, the healthcare provider can be held liable for medical malpractice and monetary damages can be sought.
If your child has suffered a birth injury, the first step is to determine if you have a valid claim. This requires the assistance of an attorney who can review medical records and consult with medical experts. At Hodes Milman, LLP , we offer a free consultation.
Obtaining legal representation for a birth injury case can help your family obtain compensation to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, and future care. Call us at (949) 640-8222 to schedule your consultation today.