Many different types of birth injuries can occur when a medical professional makes a mistake. In many cases, the victims will require a lifetime of medical care, including adaptive living equipment, counseling, and a wide range of therapies.
At Birth Injury Lawyers Group, we have been fighting alongside families for 20 years. During our practice, we represented a wide range of birth injury case types and recovered over $750 million in awards and settlements for our clients. Contact our legal team today to discuss your options.
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Common Birth Injury Types
The injuries infants experience during birth can range from minor to severe, life-threatening conditions. It is important for parents to be aware of the signs and symptoms of these injuries and seek medical attention immediately if they suspect a birth injury.
Some conditions are preventable and may result from medical negligence or malpractice, while others are unavoidable due to complications during delivery. Healthcare providers must closely monitor the baby’s condition and take appropriate actions to prevent or minimize complications.
The following are common birth injury types:
A pediatrics study looked at 1,200 claims filed on behalf of children. Brain injuries were involved with the highest percentages of claims for all the age groups studied, from 48% in neonates (first month of life) to 36% in children under one year of age.
The reason for such a high incidence of brain damage is that newborns are very vulnerable. The researchers listed many of the reasons why, and many are the same topics we cover here on this blog. Brachial plexus injuries, injuries from tools, infections, and brain damage are all things we see in our practice.
Spina bifida is a congenital disorder where the spinal column does not seal around the spinal cord. Some surgeries can be done to reduce the amount of damage. The earlier these can be done, the better.
A new study shows that fetal surgery may be the best option despite the risks. Fetal surgery is usually performed if the spinal cord and its coverings protrude completely out of the hole in the spinal column. If this problem isn’t fixed, it can block cerebrospinal fluid and pull apart the brain stem.
This happens when the skull does not form correctly and leaves an open hole in the head. Exencephaly exposes the brain to the environment of the womb and causes damage.
According to doctors, most babies born with the condition die within a few hours of birth. The rate of incidence is about 3 in every 10,000 pregnancies.
Seizures in Children
Sometimes parents mistake seizures in their children for epilepsy. While a birth injury can cause epilepsy, there are other factors to consider, like genetics.
Epilepsy comes in many forms, but the key condition usually manifests as two or more unprovoked seizures due to a chronic underlying condition. For example, a child can have a single seizure caused by an injury or other acute trauma. It is not caused by mental illness.
Another difference is that when seizures aren’t happening, people with epilepsy are completely normal. In addition, modern medications can cure epilepsy 70% of the time, so it has a good prognosis.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Most people know that you should not drink while you’re pregnant. Alcohol can cause fetal alcohol syndrome and life-long problems for the child. Also, in extreme cases, babies can die immediately after birth from alcohol poisoning.
Such cases are tragic because the condition can be prevented if the mother receives help. Please, never drink alcohol while you’re pregnant. You’ll greatly improve the health of your unborn child.
Many complications can happen to a mother and baby during pregnancy. One of these is a breech birth. A condition happens when a baby is born in a position that’s not head-first. The condition occurs in about 4% of births and can be very dangerous to both mother and child.
The doctor may try to turn the baby with pressure on the abdomen when this is detected. Ideally, this is done before the mother’s water breaks. However, if it doesn’t happen in time, it may have to be done on the fly, or the doctor may need to perform a C-section.
Babies who are born breech have a higher risk of asphyxia because of the delay in getting the head out of the birth canal. There may also be joint instabilities for a time after birth.
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Other Kinds of Injuries that Can Happen at Birth
Other types of birth injuries include:
- Bell’s palsy
- Birth trauma
- Bone fractures and breaks
- Brachial plexus
- Brain bleeding
- Brain damage
- Brain hemorrhage
- Brain ischemia
- C-section injuries
- Cerebral palsy
- Cervical dystonia
- Cortical visual impairment (CVI)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Dystonia disorder
- Spinal cord injuries
- Epidural injuries
- Erb’s palsy
- Facial paralysis
- Fetal lacerations
- Fetal macrosomia
- Foot drop palsy
- Forceps delivery injuries
- Group B strep infection
- Horner’s syndrome.
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
- Intrauterine growth restriction
- Klumpke’s palsy
- Meconium aspiration syndrome
- Neonatal stroke
- Neurological vision impairment
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN)
- Placental birth injury
- Retinopathy of prematurity
- Skull fractures
- Shoulder dystocia
- Spina bifida
- Spinal cord damage
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage
- Tethered spinal cord
- Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome
- Umbilical cord problems
If you want to learn more about your legal rights, please contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today. Our experienced attorneys will evaluate your case and explain all your legal options and opportunities to seek compensation from the liable party or parties.
If your baby’s birth injury was caused by medical errors or negligence, your attorney will build a case, negotiate a settlement, or represent you in court to obtain fair compensation.
Please contact us even if your child’s condition is not currently listed. Our legal team handles a wide range of cases, including wrongful birth. If your doctor fails to diagnose your child’s severe condition before birth or properly explain the test results, you may have grounds to sue.
Signs to Look for When Looking for Birth Injury Symptoms
Any of the birth injuries listed above can significantly impact your child’s health and development. While some conditions may be unavoidable, many can be prevented with proper medical care.
Here are six signs to look for when detecting birth injuries:
- Abnormal or difficult labor: Prolonged labor, the use of instruments such as forceps or vacuum extractors, or a cesarean section can increase the risk of birth injuries.
- Physical signs: Bruising, swelling, or lacerations on the baby’s head or face, as well as broken bones or nerve damage, can signal a health problem.
- Breathing difficulties: If the baby is having trouble breathing, it could be a sign of a birth injury, such as a collapsed lung or brain injury.
- Seizures: Seizures in newborns, such as brain damage or hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), can be caused by birth injuries.
- Feeding difficulties: If the baby is having difficulties feeding, such as a facial nerve injury or a brain injury that affects the ability to suck or swallow.
- Developmental delays: If the baby is not meeting developmental milestones, it could be a sign of a birth injury, such as cerebral palsy or intellectual disabilities.
Victims may also experience cognitive developmental disabilities, impacting their quality of life. A babies and children intellectual disabilities attorney can help you prepare for your child’s long-term care.
The Role of Newborn Reflexes When Looking for a Birth Injury
In addition to the above signs of birth injury, there are specific reflexes present in babies that disappear soon after birth. If your child lacks these reflexes, it might be a sign that something is wrong:
- Rooting and sucking reflex: These two are related to feeding, rooting, and the sucking reflex. If you touch a baby on the mouth, they’ll turn their heads and open their mouths to look for a nipple. If you press on the roof of their mouth, they will start to suck.
- Tonic neck reflex: A baby lying down with their head turned to the side will extend the arm on the same side and bend the other arm at the elbow. It is thought that this might be a way to keep balance.
- Startle reflex: The startle reflex is one that worries parents because babies may cry after it happens. It’s a reaction to sudden movements. The baby will throw out their arms and legs, then draw them back. This reflex will kick in even during sleep and can wake a baby up.
Not all developmental problems are immediately apparent and may only become apparent as the child grows and misses milestones.
If you suspect your child has suffered a birth injury, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. A doctor can diagnose the injury and provide appropriate treatment to minimize the long-term effects.
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New Tech Can Help Doctors and Parents Identify Birth Injury Types
Detecting developmental problems in babies can be difficult, which is why researchers are constantly looking for innovative solutions.
- Jumpsuits for babies: A company is developing a new jumpsuit for babies that can detect any mobility issues during their development. The four sensors on the jumpsuit’s arms and legs collect information and transmit it to a nearby phone via Bluetooth or data. A phone app stores and logs the information for later medical analysis. It’s made for newborns at risk of disabilities like cerebral palsy.
- AI ultrasound imaging: Artificial intelligence-enhanced ultrasound imaging technologies are superior to human practitioners when identifying birth-related injuries. AI can analyze more data than traditional ultrasound machines and identify health problems more quickly.
- Fetal monitors: Fetal monitors not only detect labor but also notify medical staff of distress in the mother or baby, allowing for more expedited delivery in the event of complications. Premature or sick newborns can benefit from enhanced monitoring, allowing for a faster medical response and better treatment.
Types of Negligence in Birth Injury Cases
Negligence is a term used in law to describe a failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm or injury to another person. In birth injury cases, negligence can occur when a healthcare provider fails to offer the appropriate level of care during the delivery of a child, resulting in harm to the baby or mother.
Negligence can lead to a wide range of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to more severe conditions such as cerebral palsy or brain damage.
- Doctor’s negligence
- Drug-related negligence
- Hospital staff or midwife negligence
- Failure to diagnose maternal infections
- Failure to diagnose folic acid deficiency anemia
- Improper vacuum extraction procedure
Diagnosis errors are common, and there are good reasons why. Children may not be able to explain their symptoms properly, and parents may not know which symptoms need to be reported to a doctor so they can make a diagnosis.
Systems need to be developed so doctors do not have to rely on memory to make decisions. Documentation and structured reminders for things like vaccinations, and tests, improve outcomes because many claims are related to lost or missing test results.
How To Prove Negligence
To prove negligence, the plaintiff (usually the child or their parents) must demonstrate that:
- The healthcare provider had a duty of care to the patient
- They breached that duty by failing to meet the appropriate standard of care
- The breach resulted in harm to the patient
While we hold doctors accountable for their errors, we believe most medical professionals do not intentionally want to harm their patients. However, we will employ all our resources to prove how negligence or medical error changed your family’s life.
For example, we may collaborate with expert witnesses, such as medical professionals. They can testify about the appropriate standard of care and if the defendant deviated from it.
Mothers Affected by Medical Malpractice
Birth malpractice can happen to both the child and the mother. A growing number of women allege that doctors and other medical professionals abused them during childbirth. They claim that they experienced violence during birth, including:
- Unnecessary surgeries
- Unnecessary medications
- Unnecessary procedures
- Verbal abuse
Proving malpractice in these kinds of cases is difficult at present. The goal of the obstetrician is to deliver a healthy baby and keep the mother alive. But while babies left with trauma have a chance in court, abuse to the mother may be ignored. That’s why these women are publicizing their stories.
We hope more women who have experienced a traumatic birth get their stories out in the open. That is the first step to cultural and legal change. With enough evidence, it will be much easier for birth injury lawyers to pursue successful malpractice claims for the aftereffects of a traumatic birth.
Helpful Resources for Parents
Children who suffer from birth injuries may require extensive medical care and therapy, which can be expensive and emotionally draining for parents. Our legal team is dedicated to helping families through this difficult period, and we give clients the tools they need for a better life.
We have prepared an informative Birth Injury Caregiver Guide to assist parents in responding to and meeting their children’s needs. The guide includes helpful financial resources, support groups, scholarships for children with birth injuries, and more.
Call Our Birth Injury Lawyers for Legal Assistance
Birth injuries can be devastating and result in long-term medical expenses, lost income, and emotional trauma for the child and the family. Our birth injury lawyers have the knowledge and experience to navigate the legal system and fight for your rights.
At Birth Injury Lawyers Group, we understand the emotional and financial toll birth injuries can take on families. We are committed to helping you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.