Whenever an infant is harmed by the actions or inactions of a doctor or other healthcare professional, medical malpractice may have occurred. The top 10 most common birth injuries associated with medical malpractice stem from injuries sustained during childbirth and include the following:
– Out of every 1,000 children born, 2-3 may have cerebral palsy, characterized by lack of motor skill development, weak muscles, and muscle spasms. In many cases, cerebral palsy is the result of damage to the brain that occurred during birth. Improper monitoring of the laboring mother, inadequate birth techniques, and failure to monitor fetal distress during labor all cause extreme hypoxic episodes, which can lead to cerebral palsy. While surgery may help the child, there is no cure and cerebral palsy often requires a lifetime of therapy. Cerebral palsy can lead to additional health issues such as vision and hearing impairments, learning disabilities, and speech problems.
– If an infant’s face has too much pressure placed on it during the delivery period, damaged facial nerves can result. Facial paralysis is more common when forceps or vacuum extraction is used to pull the baby out. The baby may have no ability to move the affected side of the face at all, including closing the eye.
– Oxygen deprivation during delivery can lead to brain injuries. In turn, these brain injuries can cause cerebral palsy or chronic seizures. When the doctor fails to monitor the infant during and after birth, or allows the baby to remain in the birth canal too long, brain injuries may result. Physical problems, as well as intellectual disabilities, can be the lasting consequences of even mild oxygen deprivation.
– A birth injury marked by bleeding under a cranial bone is known as cephalohematoma. A raised bump may appear several hours after birth, possibly from the use of forceps. A cephalohematoma may clear up within a few months but brings other risks such as meningitis, jaundice, anemia, or hypotension.
– These injuries involve damage to the nerves that go from the upper spine to the neck, shoulder, arm, and hand. This damage can be temporary or can result in a permanent disability. The mildest form of such an injury involves the stretching of the nerve, while more severe cases involve torn or ruptured nerves which fail to heal correctly. In extremely severe cases, complete paralysis results when the nerve roots are totally dislodged from the spine.
– Bone fractures can occur during a complicated delivery, particularly a fractured collarbone. While such fractures generally heal on their own, the baby may need to be immobilized to treat the fracture.
– This may occur when the baby receives insufficient oxygen. This can happen when an oxygen deficiency in the blood exists, or when there is insufficient blood flow to the baby before it is born or immediately after it is born. A baby with a pale complexion or labored breathing or one which experiences seizures, shock, or even coma, could be suffering from perinatal asphyxia.
– Swelling of the scalp or portions of the scalp, which appear bruised or discolored are the hallmarks of caput succedaneum. Caput succedaneum is usually caused by pressure on the scalp during the delivery, possibly from the use of forceps. Caput succedaneum is not life threatening and generally heals on its own.
– When bleeding occurs in a baby’s skull, under the two innermost layers of the brain covering, the baby may be suffering from subarachnoid hemorrhage or intracranial hemorrhage. A subconjunctival hemorrhage can occur when a blood vessel in the eye bursts, and is the result of pressure variations during the birth.
Spinal Cord Injuries
– These are among the most serious of birth injuries, and may be due to the overly forceful use of forceps that cause nerve or cord damage. Paralysis and neurological problems often result.
Contact Our Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers – Experts in Birth Injuries
If your child suffered a birth injury, and you believe the injury was due to the negligence of a doctor or other medical professional, it is important that you speak to an attorney at McLaughlin & Lauricella immediately. Our attorneys can assess your potential case and determine whether the treating medical professional(s) failed to recognize and respond to fetal distress, whether a condition was not properly diagnosed, or whether delivery instruments were used too forcefully.