Broken bones can happen naturally during the childbirth process. However, in most cases, infant broken bones and fractures are preventable. If your newborn suffered a broken bone during labor, delivery, or shortly after, you may be eligible to pursue damages for their injuries. And the legal professionals at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group can help.
Our lawyers for infants with broken bones can help you hold the doctor or hospital liable for the pain your newborn endured. We start by providing a free case review to analyze if medical malpractice played a role in your child’s birth injuries. If so, we help you take legal action and collect a fair settlement on behalf of your infant.
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Infant Broken Bones Lawsuits and Injury Cases
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to provide an acceptable standard of care, and a patient suffers preventable injuries as a result. For example, in the case of infant broken bones, a doctor may use too much force during delivery or fail to recognize a condition that significantly increases the risk of fractures.
In a birth injury lawsuit, an attorney can evaluate the facts of your case and review all your legal options. You may be eligible to pursue damages that include:
- Medical care costs
- Physical therapy
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
A birth injury attorney enlists the help of medical expert witnesses to build a strong case. The witnesses testify that a duty of care existed and the delivery team breached proper protocols during the birth. A birth injury lawyer can also collect additional evidence to prove the extent of your damages and ensure you receive fair compensation on behalf of your infant.
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Common Types of Broken Bones or Fractures That Occur During Birth
In general, there are two main types of fractures:
- Simple fractures
- Compound fractures
In simple fractures, the bones remain inside the skin, while compound fractures involve broken skin. Most infant broken bones are simple fractures. There are also several other subtypes of bone fractures, although not all of them are common in infants. They include:
- Single non-displaced fractures
- Stress or hairline fractures
- Torus or buckle fractures
- Comminuted fractures
- Compression fractures
- Displaced fractures
- Greenstick fractures
- Segmental fractures
- Single fractures
Greenstick fractures are one of the most common broken bone injuries in young children. They occur when an infant’s bones are abnormally soft and therefore do not break in the same way that more mature bones might.
Common Fractures in Newborns
The labor and delivery process is strenuous and can lead to broken bones or fractures in a newborn. Fractures in infants most commonly affect the:
- Clavicle (collarbone)
- Humerus (upper arm)
- Femur (upper leg bone)
Broken bones and fractures can cause discomfort and pain when your baby moves. However, they usually heal with time and proper medical care. For example, arm or leg bone fractures might require a loose splint or a cast.
What Causes Broken Bones in Infants?
Most broken bones and fractures that occur during delivery are preventable if the doctor and medical staff:
- Assess the child’s risk of having easily broken bones during the pregnancy
- Carefully monitor both the mother and baby during the delivery process
- Take steps to reduce the risk of a complicated or prolonged delivery
Taking action includes scheduling a cesarean section (C-section) or calling for an emergency C-section to ensure a safer delivery. This is key if the baby is exceptionally large or there is evidence to suggest cephalopelvic disorder (CPD).
Preventable infant broken bones may also occur when a doctor yanks or pulls too hard on the newborn. In addition, the improper use of forceps, vacuum, or other birth-assisting tools also leads to broken bones and birth injuries.
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Pursuing Compensation for Broken Bones Medical Malpractice
If your child sustained injuries due to a medical professional or entity’s negligence, a birth injury lawyer can help you seek financial recovery through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Our attorneys walk you through the legal practice to ensure you receive a fair settlement for your child’s medical treatments, pain and suffering, and any other losses they incurred.
An infant broken bones lawyer will establish who is at fault for your child’s birth injuries. The liable party can include:
- The hospital in which your baby was born
- Doctor, nurse, or midwife involved in your delivery
- Medical specialists such as laboratory technicians and anesthesiologists
- Pharmaceutical companies or pharmacists
- Medical device manufacturers
Next, your attorney will compile evidence to prove how the liable party breached their duty to provide safe medical practices, resulting in your child’s injuries. Your lawyer will use evidence to build your claim and pursue compensatory damages from the negligent party or insurance provider. If the liable party refuses the settlement, your lawyer can take your claim to court.
How to Tell If Your Newborn Has a Broken Bone or Fracture
All broken bones are considered fractures regardless if the break is a small crack or a large tear. Some of the symptoms of a bone break you might notice in your infant are:
- Bones that look out of place
- Obvious swelling
- Tenderness when touched
- Lack of movement with specific ligaments
- Limbs bent at abnormal angles
When your baby suffers from a broken bone or fracture at birth, it requires immediate attention. First, your baby’s broken bone will be diagnosed using a visual exam, X-ray, CT scan, and MRI. Then, your baby’s medical team can determine what caused your infant’s break or fracture.
From there, you can decide if you need to file a birth injury lawsuit and pursue damages for your child’s injuries.
How Do Broken Bones or Fractures Occur During Birth?
Broken bones or fractures can occur during the birth of a newborn with certain genetic conditions that result in fragile bones. More commonly, however, these types of injuries occur because of excessive force, like pulling and tugging, while moving the child through the birth canal.
In some cases, broken bones form during pregnancy, which increases the risk of severe injuries during the delivery. And in other circumstances, such as when a birth becomes complicated by shoulder dystocia, the doctor will pull on the baby’s hands or head to remove them from the birth canal. If the doctor pulls too hard, they can break the child’s bones.
How Does Shoulder Dystocia Complicate a Birth?
Shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby’s head passes through the birth canal, but their shoulders get stuck inside the mother’s body. The medical condition requires additional maneuvering to deliver the baby safely. Unfortunately, the maneuvering can lead to a variety of birth injuries, including fractures and broken bones.
Shoulder dystocia is more common in large infants and can result in collarbone, arm, and leg fractures. In some cases of shoulder dystocia, your physician might recommend a C-section delivery to avoid causing additional harm to the baby.
How Do Forceps Cause Broken Bones During Delivery?
Forceps are medical instruments that resemble a large set of salad tongs. During a forceps delivery, a member of your health care team uses the forceps to guide your baby’s head out of the birth canal.
Your doctor might opt for a forceps delivery when your labor is prolonged or stops progressing despite your best efforts at pushing. However, according to Mayo Clinic, a forceps delivery carries risks that include:
- Perineum pain
- Genital tract tears
- Difficulty emptying your bladder
A forceps delivery also carries severe risks for your newborn, including:
- Facial injuries
- Temporary facial palsy or facial paralysis
- External eye trauma, Bleeding under the skull
- Skull fractures
Symptoms of Infant Broken Bones
It can be tricky to determine if your infant has a broken bone or another type of injury in some cases. Parents should request X-rays or other medical imaging tests if their child:
- Has significant swelling, especially in the collarbone, leg, or elbow
- Cannot be comforted and starts crying when you touch the affected area
- Shows difficulty or reluctance to move an affected limb
- Has a deformity in the affected area
The faster you recognize the symptoms of infant broken bones, the sooner your child can receive professional medical care.
Infant Broken Bones Diagnosis
Doctors diagnose broken bones in infants the same way they do with adults: by using medical imaging. A medical X-ray displays the break location and the type of fracture that occurred.
The most common areas that doctors diagnose infant bone breaks include:
- The clavicle, or collarbone
- The femur
- The humerus
Most infant breaks only require a splint, cast, or harness to hold the bone in place while it heals. But more severe or displaced breaks, however, may require traction, closed reduction, or surgery.
Treating Broken Bones and Fractures in Infants
When broken bones or fractures occur during birth, you want your child to have a fast diagnosis and speedy recovery. Your child’s medical team will order tests that allow them to visualize your baby’s bones and determine the best treatment for your infant’s broken bones.
These tests might include MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays. Once the location and type of broken bone are discovered, a doctor may use a splint or cast to help your child’s bones remain immobile while they realign. If your child has a very small fracture, they may not require a splint or immobilization.
Infant Broken Bones Frequently Asked Questions
Parents of infants with broken bones and fractures have many questions that they need answering. We have listed some of the most frequently asked questions below to help you better understand your legal options.
If you are unsure of how to proceed with your broken bones claim, let the legal experts at The Birth Injury Lawyers Group help. We offer free case consultations to review your position, establish liability, and determine what steps you need to take next.
How Do I Know if My Baby Has Infant Broken Bones?
Parents need to know if their baby has a broken bone in order to seek professional treatment. If you notice a deformity and swelling, especially when paired with inconsolable crying and reluctance to move the affected limb, you should demand medical attention and imaging for your child.
Can Infant Broken Bones Be Fatal?
Infant broken bones are unlikely to be fatal, and most heal without causing lasting damage.
However, without an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment, you run the risk of your child’s bone healing incorrectly. This is known as malalignment, and it can cause lifelong deformities and impairment.
Who Is Liable for Infant Broken Bones?
Depending on the circumstances of your infant’s birth injuries and broken bones, you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the delivery staff, the hospital in which your child was born, or a third party.
Determining liability in a medical malpractice claim is difficult, but an infant broken bones attorney can help. These legal experts analyze the facts of your case and make sure every at-fault party is held accountable for your child’s damages.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for an Infant Broken Bones Case?
When an infant suffers a preventable broken bone due to doctor or hospital negligence, the child’s parents have the right to pursue damages on the baby’s behalf. However, there are time constraints you must adhere to, and the deadlines vary between states.
In addition, there may be special rules that apply due to a statute of repose or because the injured party was a minor. That’s why it’s best to pursue these types of claims with a qualified birth injury lawyer in your corner.
When your attorney reviews your case, they help you understand your statute of limitations and ensure everything gets filed on time.
Infant Broken Bones Glossary Terms
Navigating a broken bones claim is complex, especially for parents unfamiliar with the medical terminology used to describe their child’s injuries. To help you better understand your case, we outlined some of the most common broken bones glossary terms below.
Malalignment occurs when a bone heals without the two ends of the bone being in perfect alignment. The misalignment causes excessive strain to the joints around the bones and can lead to deformities and lifelong impairments.
Osteogenesis imperfecta in children is a rare genetic bone disorder. Also known as brittle bone disease, the medical condition causes the child’s bones to break easily.
Osteogenesis imperfecta is a genetic disorder that is present at birth. It occurs when a child is born with abnormally soft bones. Symptoms of osteogenesis imperfecta include short statures, curved spines, bone deformities, breathing problems, discolored teeth, and easily bruised skin.
Children born with Osteogenesis imperfecta have a high risk of suffering from bone fractures.
A greenstick fracture occurs when a bone breaks and cracks rather than separating into two separate bones. The majority of these types of fractures occur in children under ten years of age. They are most common in infants and toddlers because their bones are still developing and, therefore, more flexible than adults.
Infant Broken Bones News
Unfortunately, broken bones in infants are not uncommon. The injuries can stem from medical malpractice, child abuse, diseases, and other causes. We have outlined some broken bones injury headlines below.
Father Accused of Horrific Abuse Against Infant That Left Broken Bones
A baby’s body is very fragile during the first months of life. The bones are soft and take time to harden. Only after this time will a baby be able to crawl and walk without causing permanent damage. A horrific story from NBC News shows what can happen to the bones of a newborn child when a parent assaults their child.
A father received battery and child neglect charges after an ER visit. The one-month-old had several bruises and bone fractures, including a broken arm, foot, and two broken legs. But, even more horrifying, the doctors said that these injuries were not recent.
After questioning the father, police learned he suffered from intermittent explosive disorder and experienced abusive rages. The father admitted to forcing a pacifier into the baby’s mouth and holding down the child’s arms and legs.
Baby Born With Rare Disease That Causes Brittle Bones
Broken bones in an infant can stem from medical trauma, but some rare diseases can also cause a baby’s bones to be incredibly brittle. Five-month-old Mya was diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a bone disease that causes fragile bones. The mother’s doctor discovered the condition when he saw that the baby’s femur was broken before she was born.
The baby’s bones are so brittle that sneezing and giggling can cause a fracture. The mother says Mya has to be held like fine china to prevent further fractures. OI cases are rare, and the condition can be mild and improve through puberty. But there are other types, like in this case, where a baby has exceptionally fragile bones and is at risk of developing malformed bones.
This story shows that, in some cases, broken bones are not directly caused by negligent medical professionals. However, doctors should take measures to ensure the baby has healthy bones during the pregnancy stage. That way, they can create a safe delivery process to prevent additional fractures during birth.
Former ER Physician Denies Abusing His Child
A former ER physician denied physically abusing his foster child after doctors declared that he did. The physician brought his one-month-old foster child in for an examination after noticing his left arm wasn’t moving correctly. The man was co-sleeping with the child and believed he broke the child’s collarbone after rolling onto him in the middle of the night.
The doctors claim they noticed additional bruising that looked like pinches and a bruise on the lower back. However, imaging showed a broken bone, and a nurse practitioner specializing in child abuse evaluations believed that co-sleeping did not cause the injuries.
Co-sleeping can cause broken bones in infants, and parents need to understand how fragile a young child’s bones are during their first months of life. However, forceful trauma is a leading cause of injuries in young children, and abusive parents can face life in prison if convicted of these types of crimes.
Review Your Case With an Infant Broken Bones Birth Injury Lawyer in Your State
At the end of your pregnancy, you should not have to worry about delivering a baby with broken bones or other types of injuries. But, if this happened to you, you and your family deserve to understand the cause of your newborn’s injuries. And that’s where the Birth Injury Lawyers Group can help.
Our infant broken bones attorneys become your ally in helping you recover financial compensation for treating your baby’s birth injuries. Speak to a legal expert from our birth injury law firm now to set up a free consultation. We are the dedicated lawyers you can trust to hold negligent parties accountable for your newborn’s injuries.