Common Types of Birth Injuries
Many different types of birth injuries can give rise to a claim for medical malpractice. Some of the most common birth injuries that occur due to the negligence of healthcare providers include:
- Brachial plexus injuries, which occur when nerves in the neck, shoulder and armpit are damaged. This often causes Erb’s palsy or Klumpke’s palsy, disorders that may result in partial or total paralysis, as well as a loss of feeling in the affected shoulder, hand and arm.
- Cerebral palsy, which is the name for a group of disorders affecting the functions of the brain and nervous system. Symptoms may include cognitive impairment, speech problems, seizures, movement and muscle-control impairments, as well as problems with hearing, seeing and thinking.
- Anoxic birth injuries, which are caused by oxygen deprivation. These may result in perinatal asphyxia and permanent brain damage. The extent of cognitive impairment depends on the extent of oxygen deprivation.
- Torticollis, which occurs when the muscles in the neck are damaged by trauma. Symptoms include a tilting of the neck and asymmetrical facial features.
- Injuries to the head and face. Cranial nerve injuries can cause facial or mandibular asymmetry. Other injuries include subgaleal hematoma, caput succedaneum and intracranial lacerations.
- Injuries to abdominal organs, including liver, kidney and pancreas damage, as well as damage to the bowels.
- Peripheral nerve injuries, which can cause paralysis.
- Spinal cord damage, which is most common in the C5 to C7 region.
- Bone fractures, including femur and clavicle fractures.
These and other types of birth injuries are most likely to occur in prolonged deliveries, when an emergency Caesarean section was ordered, when shoulder dystocia occurred (the baby was lodged behind the mother’s pubic bone), or when a vacuum or forceps delivery was necessary.
For parents who experienced these incidents during delivery or whose full-term infant was placed in the intensive care unit upon birth, recognizing the symptoms of these birth injuries is important. You may be entitled to hold medical providers accountable for their negligence and get the money you need to care for your child.
Determining if Malpractice Caused a Birth Injury
At The Abelson Personal Injury Law Firm, our experienced attorneys can help you determine if your child’s condition is the result of medical negligence. When your child experiences symptoms of any type of birth injury, you should have an independent medical examination performed by a physician other than your labor and delivery doctor. You should also have your medical records reviewed by a qualified professional who can attest to the problems your physician caused.
Identifying birth injuries and linking them to the actions of the physician or other medical provider can be difficult. At The Abelson Personal Injury Law Firm, we have a network of medical experts, and we have extensive knowledge of malpractice claims arising from both common and rare birth injuries.
Call us or contact us online for a free consultation to learn how we can help you get full and fair compensation for the injuries your child suffered during birth.
Giving birth to a child is one of the most joyous experiences in life. That joy can be tempered by the realization that your child has suffered a birth injury. Some birth injuries are minor problems that correct themselves in a short span of time. Others result in lifelong disabilities and require years of therapy and medical treatments. While some birth injuries are natural, some are the result of medical negligence or error. It is the doctor’s responsibility to take a complete maternal history and check for risk factors that may indicate a particularly challenging delivery. It is his or her responsibility to monitor conditions during labor and the birth process, and take immediate action to protect the child’s safety.
Contact us if your child has any of the following birth injuries and you believe medical malpractice was the cause:
- Erb’s Palsy. Erb’s palsy is caused by shoulder dystocia, when the baby’s shoulders are too large for the birth canal and the baby becomes lodged behind the mother’s pelvic bone. Doctors who follow proper medical procedures in this situation can deliver a healthy baby. However, doctors who are unprepared may exert excessive force on the baby’s head as they attempt maneuvers to extract the baby. Stretching or tearing nerves in the shoulder will cause serious, often permanent injury to the infant. A child born under these circumstances may suffer from Erb’s palsy. Children with Erb’s palsy suffer from temporary or permanent paralysis or loss of mobility of the arm, hand or fingers. They may need years or physical therapy and medical treatment.
- Klumpke’s Palsy. Another injury caused by shoulder dystocia, Klumpke’s palsy causes paralysis of the forearm, hand and wrist. The risk during delivery is greatest when the mother is small or when the infant is of large weight. The injury may result when an infant is pulled from the birth canal by an extended arm above the head.
- Cerebral Palsy. During delivery, the doctor needs to monitor the baby’s condition at all time. A lack of oxygen during labor and delivery for the infant can cause cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects muscle movement and the brain. Cerebral palsy takes various forms but often includes difficulty speaking, muscle spasms, a lack of motor control and impaired gross and fine motor skills. Children with cerebral palsy will likely need lifelong medical care.
- Torticollis. Torticollis, which can be caused by trauma during birth, is a condition in which the head and neck tilt to one side. Without extensive therapy, torticollis can result in an asymmetrical face. This injury can occur during childbirth when trauma damages muscles in the neck.
If your child suffers from any of these conditions and you feel that medical neglect or error is responsible, The Abelson Personal Injury Law Firm, may be able to help you obtain the financial compensation you will require to care for your child. The Abelson Personal Injury Law Firm, has substantial experience handling birth injury cases. Attorney Michael A. Abelson has the highest “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell and has received the Lawyer of the Year award from the Trial Lawyers Association of Washington DC. He has also been included in “The Cream of the Legal Establishment” by Washingtonian magazine. Contact us online for a free consultation.