Birth injuries are caused by medical carelessness before, during, or after childbirth. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 7 out of 1000 children are born with a birth injury.
Mainly birth injuries occur due to complications during the pregnancy that might or might not be related to a healthcare provider’s negligence. They range from mild to severe and are often very expensive to treat.
Here, we bring you a list of different birth injuries for which you can seek legal counsel and claim damages with the help of an attorney. An experienced and specialized birth injury lawyer helps you better understand your position during the case and the damages you are liable for. Seeking adequate damages enables you to access suitable treatment options for your child. It may help you with your medical expenses.
1. Brachial Plexus Injuries (Erb’s Palsy):
Erb’s Palsy happens when the nerves running through the neck, spine, shoulders, arms, and hands are damaged during childbirth. It is often caused due to prolonged labor and other medical complications during the delivery that require the use of tools like vacuums and forceps. Suppose the baby weighs more than 8 pounds or has broader shoulders than what can fit through the birth canal. In that case, they are more likely to suffer from Erb’s Palsy. Moreover, improper hand usage by the healthcare provider during the delivery can also result in a brachial plexus injury.
Some symptoms of brachial plexus include full or partial paralysis, a weak grip, muscle contraction, weakened limb bending towards the body, and claw-like hands.
Its treatment varies according to the severity of the injury and often takes about six months in newborns. However, if the case is more severe, it might lead to lifelong disability. In both of these cases, you can contact an Erbs Palsy lawyer so they can guide you regarding the legal aspect of a medical claim and the financial compensation that you are liable for. It will ultimately help you provide better healthcare services to your baby.
2. Brain Damage:
It is the most common birth injury. Babies delivered with forceps or vacuum are usually at a greater risk of suffering brain damage than those born naturally. If a healthcare provider uses too much pressure using forceps, they might put stress on the baby’s fontanels. It might result in mental and physical disabilities.
Some common symptoms of brain damage include a malformed spine, a smaller head or skull, a prominent forehead, irritability or fussiness, seizures, distorted facial features, abnormal eye movements, and stiffness in the neck.
Mild nerve damage can easily be treated in the first few months post-birth. Surgery is another option if there are severe skull fractures or nerve damage.
3. Cerebral Palsy (CP):
Cerebral Palsy usually occurs due to a lack of oxygen for the baby during childbirth. It can be due to a limited supply of oxygen via the umbilical cord. It is also caused by abnormal brain development or a brain injury that affects their motor abilities and hinders their muscle control.
The symptoms of cerebral Palsy vary from patient to patient. Common symptoms include abnormal brain development, delayed milestones, and lack of control of motor functions.
A person who has severe cerebral palsy may need special equipment to be able to walk and special care, sometimes, for the rest of their lives. Those suffering from mild cerebral palsy walk differently and usually don’t need exceptional help.
One crucial thing about Cerebral Palsy is that it usually doesn’t worsen over time. However, there might be a change in symptoms due to environmental triggers.
People who suffer from CP have intellectual disabilities, problems with hearing, vision, speech, scoliosis, and contractures. They might have a combination of these problems or all of them simultaneously.
Diagnosing CP early on is extremely important and will pay off for the newborn in the long run. Doctors might engage in developmental monitoring, developmental screening, and developmental and medical evaluations. Parents should seek treatment services for their children as soon as possible after the diagnosis.
You can take legal action against the healthcare providers for their negligence if they are liable. It will help cover the treatment cost and provide your baby with the required special gear.
4. Neonatal Intracranial Hemorrhage:
Intracranial hemorrhage is bleeding within the brain or the area between the skull and the brain tissue. It can permanently damage the newborn’s brain if not treated within time. Cerebral Palsy is the probable lifelong medical condition for newborns suffering from intracranial hemorrhage.
Some causal factors for intracranial hemorrhage are medical negligence, aneurysm, brain tumor, macrosomia, high blood pressure, prolonged labor, and premature birth. In case of medical failure, you have the right to take the responsible party to court and ask for a financial settlement to help you treat your child.
Intracranial hemorrhage is usually seen in surgical delivery and when doctors use tools like forceps and vacuum during birth. It can lead to brain trauma. Improper delivery techniques are also a cause.
There are several signs and symptoms that you can watch out for to determine whether or not your baby has intracranial hemorrhage. It includes swelling of the head, a bluish skin tone, irritability, poor feeding, and a very high-pitched wail.
Treating neonatal brain hemorrhage in babies involves a medical examination for head trauma, usually by ultrasound. The bleeding, if diagnosed, is then graded ranked according to its severity, one being the least fatal and four being the most. Babies diagnosed with a Grade 4 Neonatal Intracranial Hemorrhage usually need surgery or medication to prevent a fatality.
5. Facial Paralysis:
Cranial nerves and spinal cord damage usually cause facial paralysis. It can happen due to improper rotation or mishandling of the newborn during childbirth. It is also caused due to the misuse of forceps and vacuum during birth and epidural anesthesia. It can result in the baby being unable to move the affected side of their face for the rest of their life.
The symptoms of facial Palsy include uneven facial structure during crying, the mouth not moving down in the same manner on both sides, and lack of eyelid closure on the affected side of the face.
Treatment options include non-surgical therapies with botulinum and steroid medication to reduce and, in some cases, eradicate facial paralysis. However, consulting a physical therapist is essential for adequately treating the newborn.
While the percentage of newborns suffering from birth injury is relatively low, it is still a pressing concern for healthcare professionals and expecting mothers. Hence ensure that you choose a renowned and adept healthcare professional. In case of any of the injuries mentioned above, consult a lawyer to help you navigate the legal process of suing the responsible party and seeking a financial settlement.