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Victims of Birth Injuries

Birth injury, or birth trauma, is physical damage to the child’s body during the birth/delivery process. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports about 26,000 cases of birth injury annually.

Birth injuries and birth defects should not be confused. Birth defects are acts of nature that, in many cases, cannot be prevented such as Down’s Syndrome or bone deformities. Birth defects can also be caused by the mother’s health or habits like tobacco, alcohol and drug use which may contribute to low birth weight or Fetal alcohol Syndrome. Whereas birth injuries are caused by negligent acts during birth.

A large percentage of birth injuries are caused by medical negligence:


· Failing to perform a C-section when necessary
· Failing to monitor the mother/child’s oxygen
· Failing to diagnose and treat any complications
· Failing to properly use birthing tools (i.e. forceps, vacuum)
· Failing to monitor potential issues with hemorrhaging
· Failing to properly manipulate the child’s body
· Failing, to monitor the baby’s heart rate
· Failing to detect signs of fetal distress during or before birth
· Failing to detect infections or other problems in the mother or baby


List of the Most Common Birth Injuries

These sorts of medical negligence can lead to significant injury, sometimes resulting in lifelong trauma some examples include:

· Brachial Plexus Injuries, including Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy, occur when the bundle of nerves responsible for moving the arm and hand (brachial plexus) is injured. The most common reason for this injury is shoulder dystocia which occurs when the infant’s shoulder is caught behind or under the mother’s pubic bone. If a physician pulls too hard or incorrectly while attempting to deliver the baby, the brachial plexus may be injured.

· Facial Paralysis injuries occur when during delivery, too much pressure is placed on the infant’s face causing nerve damage. These common birth injuries occur when physicians use forceps or a vacuum extraction to deliver the baby. Facial paralysis injuries vary in severity, sometimes the infant is unable to close the eye on the affected side of the face, and in more severe cases, there may be no movement at all on the affected side of the face. If the injury is not too severe, symptoms may subside over time, however, more serious injuries may lead to total paralysis.

· Brain Injuries, including cerebral palsy, chronic seizures and other conditions, occur most commonly when the baby is deprived of oxygen. This can happen when a physician fails to correctly monitor an infant during and after birth. Brain injuries may result from umbilical cord issues, such as a prolapsed cord, allowing the baby to remain too long in the birth canal, or failing to order a necessary Cesarean section. Experts suggest that even mild oxygen deprivation can lead to serious consequences, including intellectual disabilities and long-term physical problems.

· Fractures, most typically a fracture to the clavicle, occurs when a physician pulls on the infant too hard while in the breech position. This can also happen if the physician pulls on the infant’s shoulder forcefully during a prolonged, difficult delivery. Infants usually can’t move the arm on the side of the fracture.

· Cephalohematoma is an injury marked by bleeding underneath the cranium, usually directly under one of the cranial bones. It most often appears several hours after birth when a raised bump appears on the top of the infant’s head. The use of birth-assisting tools is a known cause of cephalohematoma. While the bump usually clears up within a few months, cephalohematoma can cause other risks including jaundice, anemia, hypotension, and in rare cases, meningitis.

· Caput Succedaneum is another of the most common birth injuries marked by intense swelling of the soft tissues in an infant’s scalp; it usually develops as infants make their way down the birth canal. The most common reason for caput succedaneum is improper use of a vacuum extraction tool. Swelling typically reduces within a few days after the injury, however, there are risks to infants who develop caput succedaneum including jaundice and kernicterus, which can cause brain damage.

What You Can Do If You Suspect Medical Malpractice

If you feel you or a family member have incurred needless pain, suffering or additional injury as the result of the carelessness or mistakes of a doctor, medical facility or other medical professional, then you may have a case for malpractice. Medical professionals and facilities are insured for their mistakes. You deserve the experience of The Vrdolyak Law Group.

The best advice we can give you regarding Medical Malpractice is this: if you suspect that you or a family member have suffered as a result of insufficient, improper or inappropriate medical treatment then contact The Vrdolyak Law Group for a FREE CONSULTATION with an experienced Medical Malpractice attorney.

Call 844-4-VLG-LAW

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