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What Types of Birth Injuries are Under Medical Malpractice?

Posted on November 27, 2016

The birth of a child is one of the most beautiful miracles of life, but complications can arise before and during labor that result in an injury to the baby. When these situations occur it is important to understand the legal rights to afforded to both the baby and it’s parents.

What Causes Birth Injuries?

mother in hospital after delivering babyBirth Injuries occur due to a complication in the delivery process. They are typically caused by lack of oxygen or head trauma during the delivery. Complications can be caused by the doctor’s use of an improper technique or medical device during delivery. They fall under medical malpractice when they are caused by a doctor’s negligence, or failure to act in a manner in which a reasonably competent physician would have under the circumstances. Examples of this include when a physician uses a device such as forceps or a vacuum that harms the baby during delivery.

Types of Birth Injuries

Brain Related Injuries

Brain related injuries usually arise from lack of oxygen at birth, which can result in sever consequences. Cerebral palsy (CP), is a brain related injury that affects around 800,000 children. Sadly, this injury can usually be prevented with corrective preventative measures take by the physician. Other common brain related birth injuries include:

  • anoxia
  • hypoxia
  • birth asphyxia
  • perinatal asphyxia

Muscle Related Injuries

Common muscle related and physical injuries include:

  • Brachial Plexus – This happens when the upper extremity of the arm is injured during delivery. Symptoms include weakness in the arm and inability to use certain muscles in the arm.
  • Erb’s Palsy – Erb’s Palsy is a form of Brachial Plexus, but it affects the nerves in the upper arm. In some cases, infants loose total feeling in the affected arm.
  • Klumpke’s Palsy – This is a form of Brachial Plexus that causes damage in the lower nerves of the arm, wrist and fingers.
  • Shoulder Dystocia – This birth injury is caused by the infant’s head and shoulder getting trapped behind the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery. This is very uncommon but serious. Along with the risk of maternal hemorrhaging and uterine rupture, the baby may experience difficulties when breathing, a collarbone fracture, cerebral palsy, a brachial plexus fracture, and in some instances, death.

If your child was injured during delivery, you have the right to compensation. Contact us about your case.