When a woman finds out that she is pregnant, her most significant desire is to deliver a safe and healthy baby. Unfortunately, for many women in the United States, this does not always happen. In fact, out of every 1,000 babies born in this country, statistics reveal that 6 to 8 are born with a birth injury. This results in roughly 28,000 children born with a birth injury each year, which also means there are lots of mothers who are unable to take home healthy babies.
With one tiny error or an ounce of negligence, a baby can instantly go from perfectly healthy to permanently damaged. It can be terrifying to think about, but the reality is that it happens to babies and mothers across the country, every single day.
Infant Spinal Cord Injuries
One of the most common birth injuries is spinal cord damage. Infants can suffer from spinal cord injuries when some type of blunt force trauma occurs or there is a medical condition that affects their spine. To provide a better explanation, let’s dive into this a little further.
During childbirth, a lot of pressure is placed on a baby’s body as it travels through the birth canal and into the world. However, this is precisely why the skulls of infants are not yet fully formed, so that their heads can transform as needed for a safe delivery. In a routine childbirth, a baby can easily withstand all the pressure it experiences. Unfortunately, things can quickly go wrong if forceps or vacuum extraction are used during the delivery process. If the baby is in an abnormal position or these medical tools are not used properly, the baby can be left with severe spinal cord injuries.
Babies who are born with spina bifida can also be at a greater risk for spinal cord injuries. Spina bifida is a condition where a child’s spinal cord does not develop properly, leaving gaps in the spinal column. Fortunately, spina bifida can often be detected before an infant is born (through a sonogram, blood test, or maternal amniocentesis). However, if the condition is undetected or misdiagnosed, the baby can be more susceptible to spinal cord injuries at birth.
Another of the most common birth injuries is cerebral palsy. Infants who suffer from cerebral palsy face a disorder that impacts their brains and results in motor deficiency. When a portion of an infant’s brain is damaged, the outcome can be either partial or complete muscle paralysis. Children born with cerebral palsy can experience abnormal reflex responses, poor muscle tone, limited coordination and control, and/or issues with their oral motor skills.
While it is possible for an infant to develop these problems before birth, cerebral palsy is frequently a result of medical malpractice. The following factors increase a child’s chances of developing cerebral palsy:
- Injuries sustained from the use of forceps or vacuum extraction
- Oxygen depravation
- Being pulled out too forcefully
- Going through a labor process longer than 18 hours
Grounds for a Personal Injury Lawsuit
In order to file a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of a child who has suffered from a birth injury, you must first be able to prove that medical negligence took place. Did your doctor miss important details on your sonogram that could have indicated something was wrong? Was your doctor careless during the childbirth process? Was the hospital poorly equipped with the necessary equipment that could have delivered your baby faster? Did your doctor fail to make the life-altering decision to deliver your baby via cesarean section instead of continuing with a vaginal birth?
Delivering a baby that must deal with severe impairments throughout his or her life is a devastating experience. Even worse, losing a baby during childbirth is absolutely heartbreaking. If this has happened to you or a loved one, you have every right to receive compensation for all your damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Ross Feller Casey has established a reputation as being the top birth injury law firm in Pennsylvania. Contact our experienced birth injury lawyers today for a free case evaluation.