When newly born babies suffer from physical injury simply from being born, this is referred to as a birth injury (and sometimes birth trauma). Birth injuries can occur as a result of many things. The baby’s size or position during labor and delivery can be a significant factor in birth injuries occurring. Other conditions that may be linked to these types of injuries include:
- Prolonged or difficult labor
- Being born before 37 weeks (premature)
- Abnormal birthing presentation (ex. breech delivery)
- The mother’s pelvis not being adequately shaped or seized for a vaginal birth
- Baby weighing more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces (considered to be a large baby)
- Maternal obesity
Types of Birth Injuries
When a baby suffers trauma during delivery, many severe injuries can occur. Some of the most common types:
Forcep Marks or Bruising
After birth, some babies may have bruises or marks on their face or head. This is typically due to passing through the birth canal and coming into contact with the mother’s pelvic bones and tissues. If forceps were used with the delivery, temporary marks might be visible.
This birth injury usually occurs when the brachial plexus (the group of nerves that supplies the arms and hands) is injured. This happens mostly when there are complications while delivering the baby’s shoulder. As a result, the baby loses the ability to flex and rotate its arms. If the nerve is torn, paralysis is likely permanent. However, if the injury only causes bruising and swelling, movement should return fully within a few months.
Labor pressure on a baby’s face may damage the baby’s facial nerve. Symptoms are usually seen the most when a baby cries because there will be no movement on the side of the face where the injury is present. It is also typical for the eye not to be able to close. Luckily if the nerve was only bruised, paralysis typically improves within weeks. How Veere, if the nerve was torn, surgery may be required.
Can Medical Malpractice Cause Birth Injuries?
According to the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA), medical malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor, or other health care profession causes hardship to a patient through an act of negligence. If a baby experiences a brain injury due to a careless mistake during childbirth, it may be considered medical malpractice. Examples of errors that may cause medical malpractice may be:
- Failure to perform C-section
- Lack of aftercare for mother and/or child
- Excessively pulling on the baby’s head, shoulder, or arms
- Failure to identify risk factors during the pregnancy
- Failure to diagnose a maternal infection
- Improper use of forceps or vacuum delivery
- Failure to run tests before delivery
These mistakes can lead to many types of injuries, some of which include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Newborn jaundice
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
- Spinal cord injury
- Wrongful death
- Shoulder dystocia
Physical and neurological symptoms can be associated with a baby who may suffer from a birth injury. Signs and symptoms to be aware of consist of the following:
- Communication issues
- Floppy or stiff muscles
- Arching of neck and body
- Excessive sleepiness
- Sharp, loud crying
- Feeding difficulties
- Failure to meet developmental milestones like sitting, crawling, and standing
- Inability to move on one side of the body
- Swelling or soft spots on the head
- Blindness or deafness
If you or a loved one suspects your child is suffering from a medical malpractice-related birth injury, seek medical attention immediately. If diagnosed, it can be beneficial to consider working with a skilled attorney as you may be owed financial compensation. Working with an attorney will ensure you know your rights and present the best legal option for you. Here at Warner Law Offices, PLLC, we have a team of experienced attorneys who are dedicated to getting you and your baby the justice you deserve. With years of experience on our side, we have what it takes to fight cases like yours. You don’t have to be alone. Let us help you.