Broken bones among infants are rarely a life-threatening injury. That said, these injuries are serious and require immediate emergency medical treatment. The extent and location of the injury will determine what treatment for an infant with a broken bone is necessary. More often than not, immobilization of the injured area is enough to allow it to heal.
While medical intervention is necessary, some breaks require extensive treatment. More severe injuries may require surgery. In some unfortunate cases, the consequences of a broken bone are permanent. Prompt, appropriate medical care provides these children with the best chance of a full recovery.
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Frequency of Broken Bones During Childbirth
In general, serious birth injuries are rare. According to Orthopaedics & Traumatology, the most common break during birth involves clavicular fractures. Other skeletal injuries only account for approximately 1.3 percent of all birth injuries.
There are a variety of factors that can lead to a broken bone during childbirth. Some children carry blood disorders that cause brittle bones. With these children, even minor physical trauma could be enough to cause a break. According to Skeletal Radiology, other risk factors include low birth weight, breech presentation, and cesarean delivery.
Most broken bones during childbirth result from medical malpractice. The most common cause of these injuries involves dangerous amounts of force used during delivery, usually involving the use of forceps or suction. Infants that are caught in the birth canal are at higher risk for clavicle injuries, given that part of the body is often difficult to move through the birth canal.
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Symptoms of Infant Fractures
Given the frequency of clavicle and collarbone injuries during childbirth, it is helpful to understand the symptoms of these injuries. Due to their inability to communicate, it is impossible for an infant to identify the source of their pain. With that in mind, the following symptoms could suggest a broken clavicle or other fracture:
- Crying when the affected area is touched
- Inability to move the affected area
- One arm droops lower than the other
- Unexplained lumps beneath the skin
- Pain and swelling
- Unusual deformities
Infant fractures rarely heal without medical intervention, and delayed treatment could lead to permanent health consequences. It is vital to treat these breaks as soon as possible.
Treatment Options for Infants
Regardless of how the injury occurred, the treatment for an infant with a broken bone is generally the same. The first step in the process involves diagnosing the nature and location of the broken bone. Common tests for identifying a broken bone in an infant include MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays. Once the doctor identifies the location of the break, the next step is to apply the appropriate treatment.
For minor fractures and breaks, there is often little a doctor can do other than to allow the injury to heal. These cases often require little more than immobilizing the part of the body that contains the broken bone until the break can heal. For minor fractures, immobilization might not even be necessary. These cases generally require time for the infant’s body to heal itself.
Severely broken bones can require aggressive intervention. When the break occurs in a limb or near a joint, for example, immobilization is necessary. This can be accomplished through splints or casts. Traction might also be necessary.
Some broken bones in infants can require surgery. Surgery is typically limited for instances where a broken bone is at risk of not healing properly. This could result in lifelong health consequences for the infant, including deformity and nerve damage.
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You Could Be Entitled to Compensation for Your Infant’s Broken Bone Injury
The failure to quickly address a broken bone can have permanent consequences for some children. Thankfully, with proper treatment, most children are able to fully recover from these injuries.
The specific cause of your infant’s bone fracture might not be relevant to the treatment they require. However, identifying the root cause of the injury is vital to any personal injury claim. If your child sustained a broken bone during birth due to malpractice, you have the right to hold the negligent medical professional responsible.
You have the right to pursue legal action when your baby is born with an injury. A successful claim could not only cover the cost of their medical treatment, but also address any future needs your child might have due to their broken bone. Let the attorneys with the Birth Injury lawyers Group evaluate your case and assist you with pursuing legal action. Schedule your free consultation right away by calling (800) 222-9529.