Preparing to have a child is often one of the scariest and most exciting times in anyone’s life. When it comes time to bring the baby into the world, many births run smoothly for the mother and infant. But what happens when things go wrong? Who should be held accountable for birth injuries? Our Charleston birth injury lawyers are prepared to find you the much needed answers to those questions.
Why Birth Injuries Occur
Birth injuries can lead to serious, lifelong consequences. According to the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report, six to eight of every 1,000 infants are born with a birth injury. Women between the ages of 25 and 34 are more likely to sustain a birth injury when they have a birthing tool-assisted delivery.
There are a variety of factors that may contribute to birth injuries. Unfortunately, many of these factors revolve around negligence or errors made by healthcare providers and other medical staff. Errors can occur during delivery if the delivery is forced or delayed. If a mother is struggling, her doctor may decide to use forceps, a vacuum, or forced pressure to speed things along. This puts the infant at risk. If delivery is delayed for any reason, the mother and infant could suffer greatly.
Birth injuries can also occur as a result of mistakes made during pregnancy. If a condition is missed during testing or the fetal growth isn’t properly monitored, the likelihood of a dangerous premature delivery is higher.
The Ten Most Common Birth Injuries
- Bone Fractures. Bone fractures can occur during complicated deliveries. The collarbone is most susceptible to breaking on an infant in this situation. In the event a break does occur, it may heal on its own or require immobilization.
- Brachial Plexus. When a newborn sustains a Brachial Plexus injury, the nerves that go from the upper spine to the neck, shoulder, arm, and hand have been damaged. The damage can be mild and temporary; however, in severe cases, the injury can be permanent. When the injury is mild, the nerves have only been stretched. When it’s severe, the nerves have been torn or ruptured – which can result in paralysis.
- Caput Succedaneum. When delivery tools like forceps are used during birth, an infant may sustain a head injury called Caput Succedaneum. The infant will have a noticeably swollen scalp, which may appear to be bruised or discolored.
- Cephalohematoma. Forceps can also cause another head injury called Cephalohematoma. This birth injury causes bleeding under the cranial bone. A bump is likely to appear several hours after birth. While this injury may clear up within a few months, it puts the infant at risk for developing more severe conditions like meningitis, anemia, hypotension, and jaundice.
- Cerebral Palsy. Two or three out of every 1,000 children have cerebral palsy. This condition is sustained when the mother is improperly monitored during labor, fetal distress isn’t dealt with properly, or inadequate birthing techniques are used.
- Facial Paralysis. This type of injury can be temporary or permanent, depending on the severity of damage. When an infant’s face has had too much pressure placed on it during delivery, the facial nerves can be damaged. The infant may be unable to move the affected side of the face at all. Forceps and vacuum extraction can cause this injury.
- Hemorrhage. An infant can suffer from subarachnoid or intracranial hemorrhaging if there are significant pressure variations during birth.
- Oxygen Deprivation. Oxygen deprivation can occur if the doctor fails to monitor the infant during and after birth, or if the baby stays in the birth canal for too long. The infant may sustain injuries that can lead to cerebral palsy or chronic seizures. Even mild oxygen deprivation can lead to physical and intellectual disabilities.
- Perinatal Asphyxia. This injury can occur if an infant has an oxygen deficiency in their blood, or if there was insufficient flow to the baby before or after it was born. Signs of Perinatal Asphyxia include seizures, pale complexion, labored breathing, shock, and coma.
- Spinal Cord Injuries. Spinal cord injuries are the most severe birth injuries. They are often caused by nerve or cord damage, meningeal tears, or forceps. The infant may suffer from paralysis and neurological problems, as a result.
If your child suffered a birth injury, our medical malpractice lawyers are here for you. We will investigate your claim and build the best case possible to get you the compensation you deserve for what you’ve been through. We represent individuals all throughout West Virginia. Contact us today for a free consultation.