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Birth Injuries And Obstetric Malpractice

When we talk about “birth injuries,” we are generally speaking of injuries sustained by a child during the birthing process. Not all of these injuries are permanent, but those that are often require years, even a lifetime, of care. These types of injuries are sometimes called birth traumas, and they include injuries like:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Brachial Plexus Injury, such as Erb’s Palsy or Klumpke’s Palsy
  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE
  • Shoulder dystocia

Labor and delivery negligence can also lead to birth injuries. Labor is a difficult process even when everything goes perfectly. A doctor or attendee who is negligent to your needs during labor or delivery can cause irreparable damage to the mother and the child. We routinely handle cases involving:

  • Forceps Injuries
  • Pitocin and antibiotics Errors
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Skull Fractures During Birth
  • Vacuum Extractor Delivery Injuries

After the baby enters the world, he or she and the new mother need extra TLC after delivery. Both are more susceptible to infections, and many mothers are overcome by feelings of sadness – even at this happy time in their lives. Doctors, nurses and hospital staff who fail to monitor newborns and new mothers, thus missing clues to changes in their health or behaviors, may be guilty of post-partum negligence, which can lead to injuries as well.

What Causes Birth Injuries?

Not all birth injuries are caused by negligence; some are the result of genetics, and the signs may not always show up on pre-term tests. However, the leading causes of birth injury related to negligence include:

Medical malpractice. Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in this country, and they contribute to the number of birth injuries we see in West Virginia every year. Failing to monitor mother and child, or to diagnose symptoms of an underlying problem, or making a mistake with a birth chart: all of these are considered acts of medical malpractice.

Delayed birth. When the birthing process has gone on for too long, the mother and the baby can go into distress. This will elevate the baby’s blood pressure, and puts pressure on the skull as well. Delayed C-section injuries are among the most common, and the most dangerous, types of birth injuries there are.

Oxygen deprivation. When the fetal brain is denied oxygen, it can lead to permanent brain damage or even death. Babies who are delivered too young, or who have the umbilical cord wrapped around their necks, or who should have been delivered by C-section as opposed to vaginally, are at an increased risk of oxygen deprivation.

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