One of the most devastating forms of medical malpractice is negligence that results in birth injuries. Bringing a new life into the world should be an exciting time for parents. The nursery is decorated, the adorable outfits are purchased, the name is picked, and parents are ready to love their sweet baby. Unfortunately, not all births have a happy ending. In fact, approximately 28,000 babies suffer from a birth injury each year in the U.S.
While each labor and delivery is unique, you still deserve to have quality care from attentive medical professionals. During the labor and delivery process, both baby and mother are in a vulnerable position. This is why parents go to great lengths to select the best doctors and facilities to deliver their babies. But no matter how great your healthcare providers are supposed to be, negligence can and still does happen.
Types of Birth Injuries
Before we can discuss pursuing legal action against negligent medical professionals or facilities, it is important to understand the various types of birth injuries that exist.
Physical and Muscle-Related Injuries
When a newborn suffers from a physical injury during labor and delivery, most parents and healthcare providers will immediately recognize that something has gone wrong.
- Brachial plexus occurs when the upper extremity of a newborn’s arm is injured. This typically causes weakness in the arm, and the baby may also be unable to utilize certain muscles in the arm. It has the potential to impact the hand and shoulder as well.
- Erb’s palsy occurs when the nerves in the upper arm of a newborn are damaged. This condition can range from weakness in the arm to complete paralysis.
- Klumpke’s palsy occurs when the nerves in the lower arm of a baby are affected. This condition results in permanent injury to the arms, wrists, and fingers. Additionally, the hand will typically take on a claw-like shape.
- Shoulder dystocia occurs when labor is obstructed because the baby’s head and shoulders are unable to pass through the mother’s pelvic bone. Infants trapped in this position can have trouble breathing, and death can occur in severe instances.
Other physical injuries can occur in how the baby is delivered. If forceps, vacuum extractors, or other tools used to assist in delivery are used negligently, they can leave lasting injuries on an infant. Injuries from these tools can range from broken bones to skull fractures.
When a baby experiences a brain-related injury during birth, the complications involved may not be immediately apparent. Most instances of brain injuries are a result of oxygen deprivation, and the most prevalent brain-related birth injury is cerebral palsy. In the United States, approximately 10,000 infants born each year will develop cerebral palsy. Sadly, many of these instances could have been prevented.
Brain-related birth injuries due to oxygen deprivation can be caused by numerous factors. In some instances, the doctor or labor and delivery nurses fail to notice that there is a problem with the umbilical cord. A delayed response or complete failure to identify this issue can be extremely detrimental to a new life. In other situations, an infant can become deprived of oxygen if the medical team allows a mother to attempt a vaginal birth for too long. While a vaginal birth is beneficial for many reasons, an emergency cesarean section could be necessary to deliver a baby safely and quickly.
Your Experience with a Birth Injury
If you suspect that your baby died because of a birth injury, you now have the important decision of whether or not you want to pursue legal action to hold your healthcare providers accountable. If you are thinking about filing a medical malpractice claim, it is vital that you first consult with an experienced attorney. In order to prove your case, you will need to demonstrate that your medical providers and/or healthcare facility failed to provide adequate medical care to your baby throughout the labor and delivery process.
Ross Feller Casey has an unrivaled record of winning all types of serious birth injury lawsuits, including those involving death of newborns. For a free evaluation of your case, contact one of our experienced birth injury attorneys today.