Expecting mothers who give birth in hospitals or other medical settings place their unborn child’s life into the hands of medical professionals. These professionals are required to be well-trained, knowledgeable, and experienced. However, roughly one out of every 200 infants born in the U.S. suffers injuries during birth.
In some cases, these birth injuries are unavoidable. Unavoidable birth injuries may be caused by unexpected complications or unforeseen circumstances. In other cases, birth injuries can be the direct result of neglect or malpractice from medical professionals. Families should seek a birth injury lawyer immediately if they feel that their newborn’s injuries were caused by medical malpractice.
Types of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries are injuries that occur to an infant either immediately prior to or during the process of childbirth. In cases of medical malpractice or negligence, birth injuries can occur when medical professionals fail to react to critical issues in a timely manner. A birth injury lawyer can help determine the cause of a child’s birth injury and seek compensation for families.
Birth injuries can be caused by a number of issues, including:
- Preexisting medical conditions in the mother
- Breech position, or fetal position in which the buttocks proceeds the head
- Placental abruption, or premature separation of the placenta and the uterine wall
- Medical malpractice or negligence that leads to fetal trauma or lack of oxygen
Cerebral palsy is one of the most well-known birth injuries. Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that result from damage to a baby’s brain. The condition typically affects the baby’s motor skills, coordination, and nerve function.
The condition may be caused by premature birth, neonatal or maternal infection, or the mother’s use of drugs and alcohol during pregnancy. Cerebral palsy may also be caused by medical malpractice or negligence. In these instances, cerebral palsy may be caused by lack of oxygen, brain trauma during delivery, or untreated conditions such as high bilirubin levels or low blood sugar levels.
Erb’s palsy is also referred to as brachial plexus palsy. Erb’s palsy occurs when the newborn’s shoulder nerves are injured. Erb’s palsy typically occurs during labor and delivery, especially if the infant’s shoulder becomes lodged. The condition may also be caused if a medical professional pulls excessively on the infant’s head during delivery.
Soon after the child is born, symptoms may be present. These symptoms include a limp arm, the inability to move the hand or lower arm, decreased grip, and bent arm that remains held against the body. The infant may experience permanent, partial, or complete function loss in the affected nerves.
Forceps and Vacuum Injuries
In some cases, the fetus is in an irregular position that disables its ability to pass naturally through the vaginal canal. A medical professional may use forceps or a vacuum to gently pull the infant through the canal by its head. Since a newborn’s skull bones are not fully fused together, the head is extremely delicate and fragile.
If a medical professional is negligent, severe injury or death can occur. Forceps and vacuums can cause injuries such as skull fractures and facial nerve damage. Hemorrhage, damage, and swelling may also occur in the brain.
Orlando Birth Injury Lawyers
An Orlando birth injury lawyer can help families recover financial compensation for their child’s medical bills, as well as pain and suffering caused by negligence or malpractice. If your child suffered debilitating injuries during birth, speak with an experienced birth injury lawyer as soon as possible.
For most families, providing day-to-day care and medical treatment for children with long-term disabilities may cause a significant financial struggle. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that caring for a child with cerebral palsy costs more than $900,000 over the course of the child’s lifetime.