A “birth injury” may occur when a baby is injured from complications during labor and delivery. Medical error can cause these birth injuries, or greatly increase their severity and/ or permanence.
Birth injuries range from mild to severe. Some of the minor injuries are bruising and swelling from passage through the birth canal or the use of forceps. More serious injuries can sometimes occur that result in broken bones, loss of arms and hand mobility and brain damage.
Some of the most common causes of birth injury are:
- The baby’s position. “Breech birth” is when the baby is in an unusual position when the baby’s bottom is down or traverse (in a sideways position). These positions make vaginal birth risky.
- The size of the baby and the size of the mother’s pelvis. When a baby is more than eight pounds birth injury is more likely. On the other extreme premature babies are also more susceptible to injury.
- Difficult labor. Prolonged labor can lead to oxygen deprivation.
Medical errors can increase the chances and severity of injuries. Failure to anticipate birth complications from a larger baby or a breech baby may lead to fractured bones, especially the collar bone.
A baby’s shoulders may impair its passage through the birth canal depending on size of the baby and the mother’s pelvis. The baby may then suffer from Erb’s Palsy where a group of nerves that control movement in the arms and hands is injured and causes weakness or paralysis in the arms or hands.
Delay in ordering a cesarean section during prolonged labor can lead to oxygen deprivation, which can cause brain damage, Cerebral Palsy or death.
If a physician failed to recognize these factors and your child suffered a birth injury, speak to an attorney in your area who is experienced at handling these difficult cases. An attorney can evaluate whether a birth injury was caused by negligence. If a doctor or nurse was negligent in the care and birth of your child, an attorney can help you seek the compensation you deserve.