Bringing a new baby into the world is one of the most special and exciting things a person can experience in their life. However, it can also be one of the most stressful. Even with modern facilities and cutting-edge medicine, childbirth is a serious matter that involves risks for both the mother and the newborn infant.
The stark reality is that hundreds of thousands of babies are injured each year during childbirth, and often this happens at the hands of negligent medical staff. According to statistics, just under 2 babies out of every 1,000 born will suffer a birth injury. This represents positive growth, however, as the number was over 2.5 less than a decade ago.
Childbirth is inherently stressful and dangerous, and while these dangers can be limited to a great extent with proper medical care, some people will experience issues. Some factors that can contribute to a higher incidence of birth injuries will include:
- Larger-than-average babies (particularly in terms of head size and shoulder width).
- Caesarian section procedures (all surgical procedures have their own inherent risks).
- Premature deliveries.
- A difficult or prolonged labor.
- The infant presents feet first or in some other abnormal configuration.
- The mother’s extenuating health factors.
- The use of potentially traumatic delivery instruments like forceps and vaccum extraction devices.
- Overuse of medications.
- The mother refusing necessary surgeries or other procedures.
Most Common Birthing Injuries
Oxygen deprivation, or perinatal asphyxia, experienced during childbirth can be caused by an obstruction in the infant’s airway or through strangulation when the umbilical cord gets wrapped around their neck. Prolonged oxygen deprivation can lead to the development of cerebral palsy, seizures, comas, and other issues. Your medical provider is responsible for monitoring oxygen levels at all points throughout the process.
Some infants suffer from fractured clavicles while undergoing the physical stress of the birthing process. This most often happens when an infant gets stuck at the shoulder level and is pulled by medical staff.
Spinal cord injury
Damage to the spinal cord may be caused by a single, traumatic blow to the back, neck, or head, or through repetitive stress to the same areas. These sorts of injuries can result in a wide range of long-term mental and physical impairments. Serious spinal cord injuries can sometimes result from a medical provider pulling or twisting too hard while assisting a delivery.
Cerebral palsy impairs a person’s balance and motor functions. As mentioned above, infants can develop cerebral palsy (or other issues) due to oxygen deprivation during childbirth. Head trauma during the birthing process may also lead to cerebral palsy.
Facial paralysis (an inability to move the face, or one side of it) can be caused by serious nerve damage if too much pressure is applied to the infant during birth.
Serious conditions like cephalohematoma and subgaleal hemorrhage are caused by an accumulation of blood under a newborn’s scalp, which can result in anemia, jaundice, or hypotension if not treated quickly and effectively. This can sometimes be the result of using forceps, vacuum assisted delivery, or other delivery instruments too roughly. This can be related to a serious swelling condition called caput succedaneum.
The Brachial Plexus is a nerve system that carries signals between your brain and your arms. Injuries to the plexus can be caused by stretching the infant’s body too much during delivery and can result in permanent physical disabilities.
Protect Yourself Against Birth Injuries and Other Medical Malpractice Issues
If you or your newborn baby have suffered because of injuries sustained during childbirth, you may be entitled to compensation. The medical malpractice and childbirth law experts at Lamar Law Office, LLC can help you develop a legal strategy to get you and your newborn the compensation you deserve.