Giving birth is an exciting and awe-inspiring experience. While most births
go smoothly, sometimes babies are harmed during the birth process. When
they have serious injuries, parents may need to bring a
birth injury lawsuit forward against the doctor, hospital, and others who may be responsible.
To know whether this is necessary in your particular case, it is important
to understand the most common types of birth trauma and what they can
mean for your child.
If the umbilical cord gets wrapped around the baby’s neck during
delivery, or the placenta separates too early, oxygen deprivation may
occur. Maintaining constant vigilance and acting quickly should signs
of oxygen deprivation arise is the responsibility of medical personnel.
Failure to discover the problem or respond in a timely manner can cause
serious harm to the baby.
Brachial Plexus Injury (Erb’s Palsy)
Injuries to the brachial plexus can happen when a baby is “stuck”
in the birth canal and additional force must be used to deliver the child.
For example, if the doctor tugs on a baby’s arm, the nerves there
may be injured. Mild injuries to the brachial plexus may heal within a
few weeks or months, but permanent nerve damage may also occur from this
type of injury, resulting in Erb’s palsy, a type of paralysis to the arm.
Fractures and Broken Bones
The chance of broken bones and fractures during birth exists, especially
for larger babies or babies born to mothers with a narrow pelvis. Some
deliveries are much more difficult than others, and when a baby is turned
the wrong way or must be forcibly extracted from the birth canal, the
chances of injury or trauma are higher. Depending on the location of the
fracture or the break, this type of birth trauma can be very harmful.
It is the responsibility of medical personnel to determine if and when
birth becomes too difficult and a cesarean section would be in the best
interest of both mother and child. Failure to move forward with a c-section
in a timely manner can be considered negligence if a c-section would have
likely prevented broken bones or other injuries.
This injury comes about from damage to the facial nerve during delivery.
It can happen naturally from pressure as the baby’s face pushes
against the vaginal wall, but it can also happen from medical professionals
using forceps during the delivery process. Nerves that are simply bruised
will typically heal up on their own, but if the nerve is torn, it may
be necessary for the baby to have surgery to restore proper facial muscle
function. In some cases, the nerve damage is too great and cannot be repaired,
leaving the child with a permanent injury.
Cerebral palsy is a very common birth injury that is often not attributed to the birthing
process because parents may not notice symptoms of this condition until
the child is older. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the newborn’s
brain during birth, often from oxygen deprivation, and can result in lifelong
difficulties with motor function, hearing, vision, speech, intellectual
development, and autonomic nervous system function.
When blood accumulates under the membrane that protects the baby’s
skull due to a difficult delivery, it may appear as soft lumps that will
grow larger in the hours after birth. Often, these accumulations of blood
will resolve on their own over a few weeks or months. However, very large
ones may cause a breakdown of too many red blood cells at once, which
can lead to jaundice and other complications.
If your baby has sustained an injury during birth, it can be frightening
to realize that there is a problem. If your child is older and you begin
to notice symptoms of cerebral palsy or other conditions, they may be
attributed to any issues your baby had during birth.
Don’t hesitate to contact a birth injury lawyer if your baby has
a significant birth injury. At The Mellino Law Firm, we have experience
working with families whose lives have been changed forever by serious
birth trauma, and we can help you obtain the compensation you need for
your child’s care and other damages you may have suffered. Call
today for a consultation at (440) 333-3800 to
discuss your case in detail.