What Is Birth Injury and What Can You Do?
Do you believe that your child may be showing signs of a birth injury? Are you concerned about your child’s future and whether or not this injury could have been prevented? Is your doctor, another medical professional, or the hospital to blame? At Birth Injury Center, we work to answer your questions concerning all types of birth injuries, liability, and what you can do next to help your child and yourself as you move forward.
By definition, a birth injury is any trauma suffered by a baby during childbirth. Some common birth injuries include but are not limited to cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, shoulder dystocia, Klumpke’s palsy, and infant brain damage. So what are these injuries? How do they occur? And who’s to blame?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Cerebral palsy (CP) is caused by abnormal development of the brain or damage to the developing brain that affects a child’s ability to control his or her muscles.” Cerebral palsy can be congenital, but it may also occur through a birth injury or may be acquired due to injury or brain damage that occurs over 28 days after birth.
Cerebral palsy may occur due to birth injury in a number of ways, including but not limited to:
- A brain infection, such as meningitis.
- Head trauma during childbirth.
- Cerebrovascular accidents causing issues with blood flow to the brain, such as brain bleeding, a problem with blood clotting, or stroke.
Some of these causes may not be the fault of a doctor or medical institution, but others could be causes for a medical malpractice birth injury lawsuit. This include failure to:
- Monitor fetal heart rate before or during childbirth.
- Detect or properly treat an infection during pregnancy that could cause cerebral palsy, such as meningitis.
- Detect a prolapsed umbilical cord.
Other times a doctor may be responsible for this may include failing to perform a medically necessary cesarean section or delaying the decision to perform this procedure for too long. Negligence and/or unreasonable mistakes made during childbirth, typically involving forceps or vacuums, may also lead to cerebral palsy.
Erb’s palsy affects the brachial plexus, a network of nerves located near the neck that are the origins of all of the arm’s nerves. As a type of brachial plexus palsy, Erb’s palsy affects the movement, strength, and/or feeling in the shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers of one or both arms. Symptoms include loss of feeling in the affected arm, weakness in that arm, and/or total or partial paralysis in that arm.
Erb’s palsy can be caused by complications during a difficult labor and delivery. If there is a breech presentation, the labor goes on for a long period of time, or the baby is large, the brachial plexus may be stretched and damaged during childbirth, causing Erb’s palsy.
Other Types of Birth Injuries
Cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy are by far not the only potential birth injuries that may occur due to negligence or medical malpractice. Others include but are not limited to other brachial plexus injuries, shoulder dystocia, Klumpke’s palsy, and others.
Other brachial plexus injuries will have similar symptoms to Erb’s palsy, and damage may be temporary or permanent. Shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby’s head is able to pass through the birth canal and out of the vagina, but the shoulders remain obstructed. This can cause a very difficult and/or slow labor, which can lead to a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain, injury to the brachial plexus, and other injuries to either the baby or the mother.
Klumpke’s palsy – also called Klumpke’s paralysis – is another type of brachial palsy. Due to damage to specific nerves in the brachial plexus, Klumpke’s palsy can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms, including severe pain, weakness or impaired mobility in the affected shoulder, arm, hand, or fingers, as well as stiff joints, muscle atrophy, and other distressing symptoms.
If you are worried that your baby has suffered from any of these birth injuries or any other trauma during childbirth, you may have legal recourse against your doctor, one of the other medical professionals present at the time of birth, or the medical institution itself. Contact us today for a free consultation.