Birth injuries are devastating physically and emotionally for the entire family. An occasion such as the birth of a child is filled with hope and promise. A birth injury due to the negligence or carelessness of a medical professional is an all too common occurrence. The most common birth injuries may result in permanent injuries such as cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, retarded neurological development, and an impairment of motor skills.
Such injuries occur as a result of mistakes or complications during pregnancy or labor and delivery and are often the result of the failure of doctors and nurses to recognize the signs and symptoms of distress. Failure to act in a timely fashion or in a proper fashion results in such birth injuries as brachial palsy, fractured bones, and facial paralysis.
Neurological injuries are also common and may result from oxygen deprivation, blood loss, or damage to the umbilical cord. A child born with brain injuries may suffer from seizures, cerebral palsy, and severe mental and cognitive impairment.
Shoulder dystocia is an avoidable birth injury that occurs when one of the fetus’ shoulders is unable to fit through the mother’s birth canal. Shoulder dystocia happens when the baby’s anterior shoulder impacts against the maternal symphysis following delivery of the vertex. Less commonly, shoulder dystocia results from impaction of the posterior shoulder on the sacral promontory. Shoulder dystocia may impact the health of both the mother and the child. Postpartum hemorrhage (11 percent) and fourth-degree lacerations (3.8 percent) are the most common maternal complications, and their incidence remains unchanged by rotation maneuvers or other manipulation. Among the most common fetal complications are brachial plexus palsies, occurring in 4 to 15 percent of infants. There are known risk factors medical staff should take into account when preparing for a vaginal delivery. Risk factors for the mother include abnormal pelvic anatomy, gestational diabetes, post dates pregnancy, and short stature. The risk factors for the fetus include an above-average size fetus (macrosomia), protracted first or second stage labor, and assisted births with forceps or vacuum.
Brachial plexus injury may be related to shoulder dystocia if the delivery becomes difficult in extracting the child’s shoulder from the birth canal. Additionally, brachial plexus injuries may be caused by
- the infant’s head and neck pulling toward the side as the shoulders pass through the birth canal
- pulling on the infant’s shoulders during a head-first delivery
- pressure on the baby’s raised arms during a breech (feet-first) delivery
Brachial plexus injuries may present themselves in different forms such as Brachial plexus injuries usually affect only the upper arm, Erb’s paralysis affects the upper and lower arm, and Klumpke paralysis affects the hand. The infant may also have an eyelid droop on the opposite side. Diagnosis of the type of injury depends upon the level of paralysis.
As experienced birth injury lawyers, we’ve witnessed the devastation to children and their families caused by such negligence. We have an expert team of medical professionals, trial attorneys, and staff to help you if you’ve suffered such a devastating loss. When we meet with you and evaluate your case we’ll thoroughly review the medical records and determine whether your child’s injuries were due to a failure to anticipate birth complications, a failure to recognize fetal distress, an unacceptable delay in ordering a cesarean section, the misuse of forceps or vacuum extraction, or the improper administration of drugs during delivery such as Pitocin.
We’ll be at your side throughout this difficult process and keep you informed. If medical negligence or medical malpractice is found, we will aggressively pursue justice for you. Our firm is committed to child safety and healthy babies.