What Is a Birth Injury?

Your child’s birth is one of the most memorable, precious times in your life. All parents hope for a smooth, uncomplicated delivery, but sadly, for some parents, medical complications occur. Seven out of every 1000 babies born in the U.S. today procure some form of birth injury. Over 28,000 birth injuries occur each year. While some of these birth injuries are linked to environmental, biological, or nutrition factors, many more are the result of medical malpractice. Doctors in hospitals, statistically large hospitals, can act negligently to cause birth injuries that often lead to lifetime of problems.

What Is a Birth Injury?

A birth injury is any form of injury occurring to a newborn during childbirth. Birth injuries can occur due to complications during labor and delivery. Birth injuries can range from minor bruising to severe brain damage. Medical malpractice is one cause of birth injuries, but there are many natural and environmental causes as well. A birth injury attorney can examine your case and explore the possibility that malpractice played a role in your child’s birth injury.

What Are the Most Common Birth Injuries?

The ten most common birth injuries are as follows:

  1. Head and brain injuries—these can range from minor bruising due to the use of forceps to bleeding in the brain. Birth complications can result in deprivation of oxygen to the baby, which can lead to seizures or seizure disorders, mental impairment, and cerebral palsy. Brain injuries can sometimes be traced to a doctor’s negligence in timely recognizing fetal distress and performing a c-section.
  2. Fractured bones—a broken clavicle or collar bone is the most common broken bone to occur during delivery. Fractured bones can occur during difficult or breech births. Babies generally recover quickly from this injury.
  3. Cerebral palsy—approximately three out of every 1,000 children born in the U.S. have cerebral palsy. This disorder is characterized by muscle spasms, lack of motor development, and problems with vision, hearing, and learning. There is no cure for this multi-system disorder.
  4. Spinal cord injuries—these injuries occur due to traumatic nerve or cord damage. Spinal cord injuries are quite severe and can cause paralysis as well as neurological problems.
  5. Brachial plexus injuries—this birth injury involves damage to the nerves that go from the upper spine through the neck, shoulder, arm and hand. Damage to these nerves can range from mild to severe. Erb’s Palsy can result from this injury.
  6. Cephalohematoma—this is a collection of blood below the skull bone. It does not pose a danger to the newborn and will resolve on its own.
  7. Facial paralysis—in this injury, the facial nerve is damaged, either temporarily or permanently.
  8. Caput Succedaneum—this injury involves the swelling of the scalp. It is generally caused by excessive pressure during birth.
  9. Intracranial hemorrhage/subarachnoid hemorrhage—this injury includes bleeding in the skull under the two innermost layers. It can lead to long term neurological problems.
  10. Perinatal Asphyxia—this is the deprivation of oxygen to the newborn, frequently occurring when the umbilical cord is twisted. It can have long term consequences on the mental development of a newborn.

These birth injuries, along with many others, can be the result of medical malpractice. Birth injuries are not always easily recognized immediately following birth. If your delivery was not handled properly and you believe your child could have experienced a birth injury, it is best to consult with a knowledgeable birth injury attorney as soon as possible.

At Bailey & Greer, we understand how heartbreaking a preventable birth injury can be. We are a team of compassionate attorneys who will strive to mitigate the financial and mental hardship a birth injury can wrought. Call us today at (888) 470-9143 or locally at (901) 680-9777 to schedule a free consultation.

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