A delayed birth is caused by a wide range of circumstances that prevent a child from being delivered during the optimal time frame. Such causal factors include a delayed caesarian section, medical negligence, a defective piece of medical equipment, hypoxia, and improper medical equipment use. These factors can lead to long-term medical conditions and even wrongful death when the delivery is delayed for too long.
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A Closer Look at the Causes of Delayed Birth
Below you will find a quick breakdown of the most common causes of delayed birth.
- A delayed caesarian section. According to the 2018 National Vital Statistics Report on births, 31.9 percent of all registered births that year were caesarian section. When there is a delay in ordering an emergency C-section for a child suffering fetal distress, a delayed birth can occur. Such situations are marked by a sudden drop in the mother’s temperature, leading to the infant’s heart rate slowing down. Other conditions that may require an emergency C-section include bleeding from placenta abruption, placenta previa, uterine raptures, slowed labor, cord prolapses, and other delivery problems. Medical practitioners are trained to recognize when a mother needs a C-section delivery. When they fail to do so, they can be held liable if their breach of duty results in injuries for the mother and/or child.
- Medical negligence. The typical medical negligence that often leads to a delayed birth is misdiagnosis, that is when the doctor examines the patient but fails to diagnose the correct illness. This type of negligence can put the mother and/or child at risk during delivery since preventative measures were not taken. Another medical negligence that can result in a delayed birth includes a delay in diagnosis, which allows the condition to worsen since the mother or fetus does not receive the proper treatment. Hospital staff or a nurse failing to relay important information about the patient to the doctor or delivery team before the birth of the child can also be categorized as medical negligence.
- Improper vacuum use. When a doctor fails to use a piece of medical equipment correctly during delivery, it can lead to a delayed birth. This is often seen with the vacuum. In difficult labor, when the mother has problems expelling the fetus from the birth canal, doctors may use a vacuum to assist her. This piece of medical equipment is latched onto the baby’s head or shoulder and used to gently guide them out of the birth canal. It is the delivery team’s responsibility to place the vacuum properly on the infant. Failure to do so can lead to severe injuries for the mother and/or child.
- Improper use of forceps. Another piece of medical equipment that, when improperly used, can result in a delayed birth is the forceps. The attending delivery doctor may use the forceps to bring the child along if they are improperly positioned in the womb. Using the forceps inadequately can lead to oxygen deprivation, fetal distress, and nerve damage in the child’s neck or chest. These conditions have been linked to cerebral palsy and other birth injuries.
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Symptoms of a Delayed Birth
In a delayed birth, the infant suffers birth trauma from being in the birth canal for too long. This trauma explains why neurological injuries are often associated with a delayed birth. As a parent of a child born in a delayed birth, you must watch out for developmental delays or missed steps in general development as they grow older, especially during the toddler and preteen stages. However, the symptoms to watch out for immediately after a delayed birth include:
- High-pitched crying
- Arched back while crying
- Delay in sucking between 24 – 48 hours
- Limbs moving in an asymmetrical manner
Common Injuries Associated With a Delayed Birth
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), birth injuries account for 20 percent of death in infants. Generally speaking, the birth injuries associated with a delayed birth are permanent disabilities and long-term injuries. The most common include:
- Erb’s palsy
- Cerebral palsy
- Facial paralysis
- Klumpke’s palsy
- Shoulder dystocia
- Torticollis (wry neck)
- Asperger’s syndrome
- Brachial plexus palsy
- Brain damage or head trauma
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
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A Birth Injury Lawyer for Your Case
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group understands everything you are going through and can represent you if you decide to take legal action. We can also help fight for compensation for your losses. For a free case review, call us at (800) 222-9529 to speak to a member of our team.