No mom heads into the delivery room thinking that her baby will be injured at birth. Yes, complications can and do happen, but we don't expect those complications to have life-long effects.
Unfortunately, birth injuries are more common than you think. Data shows that birth trauma occurs in 29 out of every 1,000 births. The three most common traumas include injuries to the scalp, fracture of the clavicle and other injuries to the skeleton.
The Most Common Birth Injuries
According to a prominent legal site ( https://cogburnlaw.com/medical-malpractice/ ), "A child is extremely vulnerable during birth, and doctors who do not take the appropriate measure of care can harm the newborn. Brain injuries, nerve damage, and broken bones are the result of rough handling, and can lead to a lifetime of pain."
Babies may suffer from a wide range of injuries during delivery, including:
Broken bones and bone fractures are common birth injuries caused by a difficult or complicated delivery.
Brachial Plexus Injuries, or BPI
BPI occurs when there is damage to the bundle of nerves that extend from the upper spine into the neck, shoulders, arms and hands.
In some cases, the damage is mild and temporary. In other cases, the damage is severe and permanent. Permanent damage occurs in about 10% of cases.
With neurapraxia, the mildest form of BPI, the nerve is stretched. With neuroma, a more severe form of BPI, the nerve is torn and cannot heal properly.
Rupture can also occur, which causes the nerves to tear. In the most severe cases, called avulsion, the nerve roots are completely dislodged from the spine. Avulsion leads to complete paralysis.
Excessive pressure during delivery can cause caput succedaneum. This type of injury can cause swelling or bruising of the scalp.
Insufficient blood flow to the newborn and blood oxygen deficiencies can cause perinatal asphyxia. This condition can cause seizures, labored breathing, pale complexion, shock and coma.
The condition may clear up on its own, or it may cause permanent damage.
Increased pressure during birth can also cause subconjunctival hemorrhage, which is a bursting of a blood vessel in the eye. This type of injury usually clears up on its own.
An intracranial hemorrhage occurs when there is bleeding in the skull, usually under the innermost brain covering layers.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are amongst the most severe of birth injuries, and may be caused by:
Traumatic nerve or spinal cord damage
The use of forceps
Spinal cord injuries can cause complete paralysis and neurologic problems.
What Happens if Your Child is the Victim of a Birth Injury?
If your child is the victim of a birth injury, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim if the injury was due to negligence on part of the hospital staff.
To have a shot at winning a medical malpractice case, you must be able to prove:
Duty: The doctor was responsible for providing the patient's care.
Breach: The doctor failed to meet the standard of care by either deviating from normal procedures or failing to perform to acceptable standards.
Causation: The doctor's actions, or inaction, caused the patient's injury.
Damages: The resulted injury due to the doctor's actions or inaction.
If your case has all four of these elements, a lawyer can help you file a claim and obtain compensation for your child's injury.
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