Birth trauma refers to damaged tissues and organs of a newborn child. It may include short-term and long-term consequences that include physical and cognitive damage. Birth trauma and birth injury in a newly born baby have physical, emotional, and financial consequences that affect the entire family.
If your family experienced birth trauma that was caused by medical malpractice or negligence, you might be able to recover compensation for medical bills, lifecare costs, and other damages. To connect with a birth injury lawyer, please call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at 1-800-222-9529.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-800-222-9529
Birth Trauma Lawsuits and Injury Cases
The first step in seeking potential compensation in a birth injury lawsuit is to determine the cause of the birth trauma or injury. If a healthcare provider or facility did not uphold a standard level of care through negligence, abuse, or omission, you may be entitled to compensation.
Common examples of medical malpractice in a birth injury case include:
- Inadequate or lack of prenatal testing
- Improper use of labor-inducing drugs and anesthesia
- Failure to diagnose in-utero conditions such as placental abruption, umbilical cord entrapment, infection, or premature membrane rupture.
- Insufficient testing during pregnancy (for example, blood sugar testing)
- Failure to refer high-risk patients to specialists
- Insufficient health monitoring for fetus and mother
- Unsanitary or inadequate labor and delivery practices
It can be challenging to prove medical malpractice in a birth injury lawsuit. An attorney from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group can tell you about the statute of limitations, naming liable parties, and recoverable damages.
Damages in a birth injury lawsuit include monetary and intangible losses. A birth injury lawyer will evaluate your baby’s health and expected prognosis and seek damages that may include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Other healthcare costs including occupational therapy, counseling, in-home care, special vehicles or equipment, and home modifications
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Reduced quality and enjoyment of life
To find a birth injury lawyer near you, please call 1-800-222-9529.
Birth Trauma Lawyer Near Me 1-800-222-9529
Birth Trauma Types
Birth Trauma Causes
Birth injuries may be caused by medical errors during delivery. They can also be caused by something that happened during pregnancy. Birth trauma may be caused by:
- Cephalopelvic disproportion that makes vaginal birth extremely risky
- Prolonged or difficult labor or delivery
- Breech birth (buttocks first) or other abnormal birthing presentation
- Improper use of forceps or vacuum that increases the risk of oxygen deprivation, nerve damage, fetal distress, and other birth injuries
- Delay or errors during a Caesarian section
- Umbilical cord entanglement with oxygen deprivation
Birth Trauma Symptoms
- Caput succedaneum may occur with vacuum extraction and cause bruising or swelling in the head.
- Cephalohematoma is a hemorrhage underneath one or more of the cranial bones. Some babies develop jaundice if enough red blood cells break down.
- Facial paralysis from forceps or vacuum during delivery and may need surgery to repair torn nerves.
- Brachial palsy can prohibit flexing and rotating of one arm if the group of nerves in the arms and hands are injured. This nerve damage is sometimes permanent.
- Erb’s palsy may cause partial or total paralysis in one or both arms because of nerve damage during childbirth.
- Torticollis (also called wry neck, or loxia) is a disorder of the neck that causes the head to tilt to one side and is usually caused by abnormal positioning in the womb.
- Brain damage can be caused by a lack of oxygen to the fetus during labor and childbirth and is proven by failure to react normally to stimulus, failure to thrive, and other symptoms.
Birth Trauma Diagnosis and Treatment
Some diagnostic tools include:
- Benchmarks for height, weight, and physical and cognitive development
- Computer imaging tests
- Hearing and vision tests
- Blood tests
Treatment options vary and may include:
- Corrective and reconstructive surgery
- Neonatal therapeutic hypothermia
- Respiratory therapy
A birth injury lawyer can determine if you are entitled to compensation. The Birth Injury Lawyers Group can help you find the right lawyer in your area. Please call 1-800-222-9529.
Birth Trauma Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Know if My Baby Has Experienced Birth Trauma?
Birth traumas often are accompanied by a health crisis during labor or delivery. This may include slowing of a fetal heartbeat, oxygen for the mother, or an emergency C-section. Other injuries can be diagnosed soon after delivery. Others may take a few months or even several years to diagnose. Parents who suspect that their newborn or older baby may have a birth injury should consult a specialist.
Is Birth Trauma Fatal?
If the trauma involves a skull fracture, severe neurological damage, brain damage, or heart failure, the birth trauma may be fatal.
Who Is Liable for a Birth Trauma?
A birth injury lawyer will examine the circumstances during the pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Birth trauma cases are usually complex and could involve several liable parties.
What Makes a Baby More Susceptible to Birth Trauma?
Some risks for birth trauma may be reduced with proper prenatal care from a trained medical professional. Other risk factors include a baby with a birth weight greater than eight pounds and premature babies.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Birth Trauma?
How long you have to file a birth trauma lawsuit varies depending on the state where your child was born. Each state has its own laws that apply in these cases, including a statute of limitations, a statute of repose, and the possibility of tolling for minors. Your attorney can help you understand the deadlines that apply in your case.
How Can Birth Trauma Affect a Child’s Brain Development?
Oxygen supply is vital to brain health. If an infant experiences oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery due to asphyxiation, it can cause serious health problems, including impacts on their brain development.
One such outcome of this type of trauma is the development of a permanent, lifelong brain injury called cerebral palsy, a group of disorders that affects muscle tone, posture, and movement.
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Birth Injury Glossary Terms
- What Is a C-Section? Cesarean section, also known as C-section, or cesarean delivery, is the surgical delivery of a baby through an incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus.
- What Is Hypoxia? Hypoxia is the lack of enough oxygen in the tissues to sustain bodily functions.
- What Is Anoxia? Anoxia is the result of hypoxia and is a lack of oxygen in all or part of the body.
What Is Birth Trauma?
Birth trauma is when a baby suffers a physical injury during the birthing process. It is also commonly referred to as a birth injury. Though birth trauma is uncommon, it still occurs in approximately .2% of live births in the U.S., according to the report in StatPearls Publishing.
There are certain situations in which birth trauma is more likely to occur, such as in cases of the baby’s size in comparison to the mother’s pelvis or birth canal making a vaginal delivery challenging. In these cases, doctors often need to use tools to help the mother deliver the infant, such as forceps or a vacuum. They may even use their hands to help the mother safely deliver the child.
While these methods of delivery have been used effectively for a long time, if the doctor exerts too much force or is not careful with the birthing tools they are using, birth trauma can occur.
Some other examples of situations where there is an increased likelihood of a birth injury are:
- Baby is born too early or is not head first in the birth canal
- Labor is unusually long
- Mother is extremely overweight
- There is a c-section
COMMON TYPES OF BIRTH INJURIES
The most common types of birth trauma include:
When the brachial plexus, the nerves that run from the spine through the back of the neck and shoulder, suffers injuries, a palsy may develop. It often occurs when the doctor has trouble getting the baby’s shoulder through the birth canal, and the group of nerves is stretched. While this type of injury only occurs in one or two of every 1,000 babies delivered, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, it can create lifelong weakness or even paralysis in the arm if the nerves are severed from the spinal cord completely.
This condition is more common in babies delivered through vacuum extraction than those delivered through a c-section or regular vaginal birth. It is a swelling of the tissues in the baby’s scalp. Some babies also exhibit bruising. The swelling and bruising usually go away within days with no further problems.
Facial paralysis can occur because of damage to facial nerves caused by pressure from delivery or because of damage caused by the forceps during delivery. Usually, the injury is most apparent when the baby cries, and there is no movement on the side of their face where the injury occurred. Paralysis generally improves over the course of several weeks if the nerve was only bruised. However, if the nerve was torn by forceps, a surgical procedure may be necessary.
Fractures can occur during delivery, usually to the collarbone or clavicle. This type of break typically occurs because of delivery challenges due to the baby’s shoulders or because the baby was in a breech position. Fortunately, this injury usually heals quickly and generally does not require more than a splint to limit movement while it heals.
This type of injury occurs when a blood vessel breaks in the baby’s eye or eyes during delivery. This type of birth injury is extremely common, and the redness typically goes away within seven to 10 days.
Sometimes, because of birth trauma, small blood vessels are ruptured, and blood accumulates under the scalp. A raised bump appears on the infant’s head because of the accumulation of fluid, generally within several hours of birth. The body reabsorbs the blood over time, although it can take up to three months, and some babies develop jaundice as a result.
Bruising or Forceps Marks
An infant can also be delivered with bruising on the face or head because of coming into contact with the mother’s pelvic bones during delivery. If the doctor used forceps or vacuum extraction, the infant may have lacerations on the head or scalp or bruising on its face.
RECOVERABLE DAMAGES AFTER A BIRTH TRAUMA
If you believe that the negligence of a healthcare provider caused your infant’s birth trauma, you have the right to pursue compensation for your losses. Some possible recoverable damages could include:
- Surgical procedures
- Doctor’s examinations
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages from time away from work caring for your infant
- Consultations with specialists
- Pain and suffering
THE BIRTH INJURY LAWYERS GROUP IS HERE FOR YOU
We understand how overwhelming it can be to discover on the day your child is delivered that they suffered an injury because of trauma that occurred during delivery. It can be even more devastating to realize that the injury could have been prevented and that it was the result of a healthcare provider’s negligence. However, you are not alone. Our team can evaluate your case and help you understand what your options are for recovering compensation. For a free, no-risk case review, contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 261-9292.
What Causes Birth Trauma?
Birth trauma refers to any situation where a baby is injured during delivery. Some of the most common causes of birth trauma are when devices like forceps or a vacuum are used to deliver an infant, if the baby is large, born prematurely, or is not in the proper position in the birth canal. Birth trauma can also occur if the shape of the mother’s birth canal makes a vaginal birth difficult.
While some cases of birth trauma are unpreventable due to natural complications in the birth process, other times, doctor negligence causes birth trauma. If a doctor fails to take proper precautions to avoid a difficult birth, or if they directly apply excessive force on a baby, they could injure the infant.
Negligent doctors who harm their patients may be liable for those injuries in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
TYPES OF BIRTH TRAUMA
Birth trauma occurs more frequently than many people realize. According to StatPearls Publishing data from 2012, birth trauma occurs in approximately 1.9 of every 1,000 live births.
Some common forms of birth injuries include:
Brachial Plexus Injury
The brachial plexus is the group of nerves near the neck that allow the shoulder, arm, and hand to move. Sometimes during delivery, the doctor will have trouble delivering the shoulder. In an effort to get the shoulder through the birth canal, the brachial plexus nerves may be stretched to some degree, causing an injury referred to as Erb’s palsy.
While children with a mild or moderate case of Erb’s palsy may be able to make a full recovery, children with torn or ruptured nerves may require surgery and could face permanent symptoms of this condition.
If a child’s oxygen supply is cut off by the umbilical cord being compressed or wrapping around their neck, organs that require oxygen can be harmed, including the brain. Some children who receive brain damage due to oxygen deprivation in delivery develop cerebral palsy. This condition can have life-long effects on a child’s mobility, muscle control and strength, and more.
Facial paralysis often occurs because of pressure on the facial nerves during delivery. It can also occur if the doctor uses excessive force with forceps. If a nerve was severed, the baby may require surgery.
A fractured collarbone or clavicle are possible injuries that a baby can suffer during a delivery.
HOW MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CAN CAUSE BIRTH TRAUMA
While some birth traumas are unpreventable, other times, they are caused needlessly by doctor negligence. This can occur if:
- A doctor failed to screen the pregnant mother for a difficult birth and suggest a safer alternative, such as a cesarean section
- A doctor’s negligence allowed the baby’s oxygen supply to be cut off during delivery
- A doctor used excessive force on a baby, either manually or with a birth tool such as forceps or a vacuum
If a doctor injured your child by taking these or any other negligent actions that fell below a reasonable standard of care, they may be liable for medical malpractice.
TYPES OF RECOVERABLE DAMAGES IN A BIRTH INJURY LAWSUIT
If you can prove that medical malpractice caused your child’s birth injuries, you may be able to recover damages. The damages that may be available in such a medical malpractice lawsuit generally depend on the severity of your child’s injuries and the other financial impacts on your life. They may include:
- Medical costs like hospital stays, doctor examinations, specialist consultations, physical therapy, and surgical treatments
- Future costs of medical care
- Lost wages for time away from work spent caring for your child
- Out-of-pocket expenses your family incurred as a result of your child’s injuries
- Pain and suffering
- And more
GETTING LEGAL HELP AFTER A BIRTH TRAUMA
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group understands how overwhelming it can be to learn your child suffered a birth injury. It can be even more devastating to learn the injury was preventable.
If you believe that doctor negligence is what caused birth trauma in your delivery, the Birth Injury Lawyers Group may be able to help you. We represent families in settlement negotiations and medical malpractice lawsuits for a wide range of birth injuries.
Call us today at (800) 261-9292 for a free case review with a member of our team.
Keep in mind that the time you may have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in most states is limited by a statute of limitations. Many states also have extensions to the standard deadlines for birth injury cases where the victim is an infant. To discuss what specific deadlines apply to your case with a member of our team, call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today.
What Is the Most Common Type of Birth Trauma?
Brachial plexus nerve injuries are among the most common type of birth trauma that can happen to infants. The brachial plexus is the network of nerves near the shoulder that allows the shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers to move. A brachial plexus nerve injury, usually referred to as Erb’s palsy, typically occurs because the doctor has trouble getting the shoulder through the birth canal at delivery, and the nerves in the shoulder become stretched as a result.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, one or two of every 1,000 babies has this condition. There are varying degrees to which this injury can occur, though it is most often a mild form. The four degrees of Erb’s palsy are as follows:
- Neurapraxia: This is when the nerves at the shoulder are stretched but not actually torn. They usually heal on their own within a few months, although physical therapy will likely be necessary to encourage mobility throughout the healing process.
- Neuroma: This is when the nerve fibers are stretched to the point that some become damaged, and scar tissue develops at the site of the injury. That scar tissue can apply pressure to the healthy nerves that remain, causing complications.
- Rupture: When a rupture occurs, the nerve is completely torn. Surgical intervention is necessary.
- Avulsion: This occurs if the nerve is torn away from the spinal cord. While it is possible to repair some of the damage using nerve grafts, the full function of the arm may never be fully restored.
OTHER COMMON TYPES OF BIRTH TRAUMA
Though birth injuries are not common, some of the more frequent types of birth injuries that occur outside of Erb’s palsy include the following:
- Caput succedaneum: This condition occurs when the tissues on the baby’s scalp swell as it moves through the birth canal, and more often as a result of vacuum extraction. There are typically no long-term complications from caput succedaneum, and the swelling goes away on its own within a few days.
- Marks and bruising: If a doctor uses obstetrical forceps to deliver a baby, they can leave bruises or marks on the baby’s face. Bruising can also happen as a result of a vacuum extraction. In both cases, the marks and bruising are temporary and go away eventually.
- Cephalohematoma: This condition develops when there is bleeding between the skull and the fibrous material covering it. While it can cause the baby to experience jaundice as the red blood cells break down, it usually goes away a few weeks or months after the birth.
- Fractures: Fractures of the collarbone or arm can occur if the doctor has trouble delivering the baby’s shoulder or if the baby is breech. While a baby may need to wear a splint to limit mobility, the injury typically heals quickly on its own.
- Facial paralysis: Sometimes, pressure on a baby’s face during delivery injures the facial nerves. This is most likely to happen because of damage from forceps during delivery. The paralysis typically improves within a few weeks, particularly if the nerves just bruised. However, if the nerves tear because of the pressure from forceps, the baby may need surgery to repair the damage.
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage: This is a condition where a blood vessel breaks in one or both of the infant’s eyes. While the red band across one or both eyes can be troubling for parents, this type of injury is extremely common and usually goes away within ten days.
RECOVERABLE DAMAGES A BIRTH TRAUMA
Some common types of damages you may recover in a birth trauma case are:
- Medical costs for surgical procedures, physical therapy, and appointments with specialists.
- Lost wages, if you need to take extra time away from work to care for your child.
- Pain and suffering.
- Out-of-pocket expenses you incurred because of your child’s injury.
GETTING HELP WITH YOUR BIRTH TRAUMA CASE
Even if the birth trauma that your child suffered is only temporary, you are likely going to extra doctor’s appointments or even seeing specialists because of their condition. You may also be taking them to costly physical therapy appointments to help them regain or improve their movement.
The cost associated with these appointments can add up quickly. Parents are often still trying to wrap their minds around the type of birth injury their child suffered and do not understand the full financial implications for their family.
That is where we can help. If your child’s birth injury resulted from a healthcare provider’s negligence, we can help you hold them responsible for their actions. For a free, no-risk review of your case, contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 261-9292.
Can a Traumatic Birth Affect the Baby?
Traumatic births can affect a newborn in virtually every area of life, from cognitive setbacks to issues with physical development and beyond. When people ask, “Can a traumatic birth affect the baby?” they may mainly be concerned with physical and mental defects. The truth is that traumatic births can also have profound psychological effects on a child.
This is due to stress and other mitigating factors surrounding any injuries they may have sustained during the traumatic birth. For example, a child born with a disability may face bullying when they enter school, causing untold damage to their self-esteem and overall psyche.
ISSUES ASSOCIATED WITH TRAUMATIC BIRTHS
Traumatic births can alter the entire outlook of a baby’s life, potentially affecting their social skills, as well as their physical and mental health. Typically, the types of psychological behaviors shown from children who have gone through birth trauma can include:
- Excessive aggression and anger.
- Difficulty eating, resulting in subsequent weight loss.
- Separation anxiety and general nervousness.
- And more.
Further, traumatic births have been known to cause many disabilities to the mind and body, which vary in severity based on the type of trauma involved. These injuries can be permanent, but early medical intervention may give the child a better chance of making a recovery. Examples of birth injuries include, but may not be limited to:
- Cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, and other types of nerve damage.
- Caput Succedaneum and Cephalohematoma, which may lead to jaundice if left untreated, and potentially result in a serious type of brain damage called Kernicterus.
- Vision and hearing loss.
- Broken bones.
- Head fractures and spinal cord injuries.
- Brain damage, sometimes caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain.
- Paralysis to various parts of the body, including the face.
Research from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1 out of every 345 children in the United States has cerebral palsy. As for conditions like jaundice, Harvard Medical School estimates that 50-75% of all newborns will develop the condition, in many cases brought on by bruises to the child’s body during birth. Fortunately, victims who suffer birth trauma from negligent medical professionals may be entitled to take legal action against the responsible parties.
WHAT CAUSES TRAUMATIC BIRTHS?
Traumatic births can happen on their own, sometimes due to preexisting conditions, but many cases occur due to medical negligence. These causes of medical malpractice are a large contributing factor to nerve injuries, which can result in conditions like Erb’s palsy and cerebral palsy.
Further, some traumatic births occur when hospital staff does not take enough care to prevent a traumatic birth from occurring, rather than causing it directly. Examples of this would include:
- Not positioning the baby for a safe birth.
- Allowing children to be born head-first even though they are too large or heavy.
- Not giving the mother a C-section when needed.
- Failing to prevent the umbilical cord from wrapping around the child’s neck.
- Administering negligent medications.
- Failing to recognize warning signs in prenatal exams.
- Allowing the birthing process to carry on for too long.
There are also more direct causes for these traumatic births as well, from the staff handling the baby too roughly. Examples of this may include:
- The use of forceps, vacuum extractions, and other dangerous tools to extract a newborn.
- Pulling the baby too hard, which can injure the head, neck, shoulders, or other vital areas
TRAUMATIC BIRTH INJURY LAWYERS
Here at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, our attorneys work exclusively on birth injury cases. If you or a loved one had a child born with birth-related injuries, our attorneys can represent your case against the negligent hospital staff. When a parent has to ask, “Can a traumatic birth affect the baby?” it is a scary moment they should never have had to face. It is all the more angering knowing that many of these traumatic births occur because of hospital staff failing to uphold their oath to protect their patients.
For more information about what a traumatic birth lawyer does for their clients, contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 261-9292 for your free case review. We can begin gathering information on your case as soon as we learn more about your unique circumstances.
What Types of Birth Trauma Affect a Baby?
There are many types of birth traumas that can affect a baby. Some of the most common types are brachial plexus injuries, fractured bones, facial paralysis, and oxygen deprivation.
Some forms of birth trauma can result in medical conditions that could require extensive treatment or have life-long effects on a child. When these injuries occur because of doctor negligence, the family may be able to recover compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
VARIOUS BIRTH TRAUMAS AND THEIR EFFECTS
Some common forms of birth traumas include:
Brachial Plexus Injury
This is where the group of nerves near the neck are stretched or torn, impacting the mobility of the shoulder, arm, hands, or fingers. Brachial plexus injuries can occur in situations where the doctor has trouble delivering the shoulder and pulls on the child to pass them through the birth canal. Erb’s palsy is a type of brachial plexus injury.
Fractured bones are another birth trauma that can be caused by difficult deliveries. While fractures may heal quickly, they can cause pain and require additional treatment.
Facial paralysis can occur if pressure on the face during delivery or the use of forceps bruises or even tears a nerve. If the nerve was torn by forceps, surgery may be necessary.
If the baby experiences oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery, there can be a wide range of complications for different systems. Oxygen deprivation is one of the causes of cerebral palsy, a group of disabilities that impact a child’s ability to control muscle tone, movement, and posture.
COMMON REASONS FOR BIRTH TRAUMAS
While birth traumas can occur in any situation where the physician is not maintaining the proper standard of care, there are circumstances that may increase the likelihood of an injury. They include situations where the:
- Baby is large, premature, or not head-first in the birth canal
- Labor is long or difficult, such as instances where the contractions are not strong enough to deliver the baby
- Doctor uses a vacuum or forceps to deliver the baby
- Mother should have a cesarean section, but the doctor does not order one
HOW THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS CAN IMPACT YOUR CASE
Every state has a statute of limitations that impacts the length of time you have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. In general, if you do not file your claim within the predetermined amount of time, you may be barred from recovering any amount of compensation for your losses via a lawsuit.
There may be extensions to the standard deadline for birth injury cases due to the victim being a child. While the length of time does vary from one state to the next, a law firm that handles birth injury cases can explain how the statute of limitations could apply to your claim.
RECOVERABLE DAMAGES IN A BIRTH INJURY CASE
The damages that you may be able to recover for your birth injury claim depend on the details of your case, such as the severity or permanency of the injuries and the extent of financial losses you have experienced. Pain and suffering may also be a consideration.
The following types of damages may be recoverable in birth injury cases:
- Medical costs like surgical procedures, specialist appointments, hospital stays, ambulance rides, medication, and physical therapy
- Estimated future costs of medical care
- Lost wages from time you have spent away from work caring for your child
- Out-of-pocket costs you incurred as a result of your child’s injury
- Pain and suffering
- And more
If your child suffered a serious injury during delivery and passed away as a result, your family may be able to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Depending on what state you are in, some possible recoverable damages in a wrongful death case may include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical costs left to your family
- Pain and suffering
- And more
THE BIRTH INJURY LAWYERS GROUP MAY BE ABLE TO HELP YOU
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group represents families in a variety of birth injury cases. We understand what types of trauma affect a baby and may be able to build a case that medical malpractice caused your child’s birth injury when we represent you.
We also understand how overwhelming it can be facing a serious birth trauma. Many parents we work with experience long-term financial impacts from their child’s injury. Even if your child’s injury heals over the coming months, the cost of physical therapy appointments and specialist consultations can quickly add up.
If you believe that your child’s injury was caused by a doctor’s negligence, you may be able to hold them responsible and pursue compensation in a birth injury case. For a free review of your case, contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 261-9292.