The birth of a child is one of life’s greatest joys. In some cases, however, medical negligence can temper that joy with the prospect of lifelong hardships for parents and suffering for children who are injured during birth. Parents and families of children with avoidable birth injuries endure financial and emotional hardships for the rest of the child’s life. The birth of any child is a life-altering event, but when a child suffers birth injuries life changes in unexpected and radical ways.
Birth injuries can occur for many reasons. Common causes of birth injuries include:
- Improper use of delivery instruments
- Failure to perform a timely c-section
- Failure to monitor fetus and respond to fetal distress
- Miscalculation of the size of the baby
- Failure to diagnose and treat medical problems in the mother
- Administration of improper medications during pregnancy and/or delivery
- Failure to give oxygen to newborns when needed
Brain injuries are normally the result of lack of oxygen or bleeding of the brain. Cerebral Palsy is a common brain injury caused during or before birth. The effects of Cerebral Palsy are life-long, but do not get worse with time. Caused by damage to the cerebrum, this type of brain injury affects the brain’s ability to control movement and often diminishes higher mental faculties. Severity can range from very mild causing a slight awkwardness of movement, to extreme disability rendering the victim fully dependent on others for lifetime care.
Brachial Plexus injuries are injuries that involve damage to a bundle of nerves between the neck and shoulder. These injuries are caused by Shoulder Dystocia which is a condition where the baby’s shoulders or shoulder does not pass through the mother’s pelvis properly causing impact to a baby’s shoulder during birth. There are several types of brachial plexus injuries including:
- Erb’s Palsy – damage to the upper brachial plexus, affects use of shoulder and elbow.
- Klumpke’s Palsy – damage to the lower brachial plexus, affects use of the wrist and hand.
- Horner’s Syndrome – damage to facial nerves, affects eyelids and pupil dilation.
- Complete Palsy – damage to all of the nerves in the brachial plexus.
Brachial plexus injuries are treatable. Treatment usually involves surgery to reconnect nerves, and always includes physical therapy. Each case is unique, and the extent of recovery will vary for each child depending on the severity and type of injury.
Other birth injuries include:
- Bleeding beneath the scalp
- Bleeding inside the skull
- Bruising from forceps
- Clavicle fractures
- Cranial nerve trauma
- Facial paralysis
- Skin irritation
- Skull fractures
- Spinal cord damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Strep infections
- Temporary body paralysis
Any sign of a birth injury should be taken seriously and addressed immediately. Many conditions can be treated successfully if recognized early. If your child has suffered a birth injury you should contact an attorney who specializes in birth injury cases. The expenses associated with birth injuries can be very high, including the cost of medical care and lost wages for parents who must provide full time care to special needs children. It is imperative to seek legal assistance from an experienced personal injury lawyer such as Stipe Law in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma right away to help offset these expenses.