When are Birth Injuries Caused By Medical Malpractice?
Birth injuries can happen during pregnancy or childbirth if a doctor or other medical professional is negligent in his or her care for the mother and child. They are not the same as congenital disabilities or birth defects; and sadly, birth injuries due to negligence have increased over time.
Birth Injury Statistics
The newest statistics published by The National Center for Biotechnology Information showed that birth trauma increased by 23% – from 25.3 to 31.1 traumas per 1,000 births in hospitals in a Nationwide Inpatient Sample from 2006 through 2014.
Of those, 80 percent of birth traumas were scalp injuries. However, other injuries, including brachial plexus injuries, clavicular fractures, and intracranial hemorrhage, decreased from 5.44 to 4.67 injuries per 1,000 births using the same data sample from the same period.
A similar study from 2004 to 2012 found that birth trauma rates fell from 2.6 per 1,000 live births to 1.9 per 1,000 live births. That study found that the use of instruments, such as forceps and vacuums, also decreased.
Types of Birth Injuries
If a medical professional does not correctly diagnose an issue during the birthing process or improperly uses instruments, a baby might suffer one or more types of birth injuries, including:
- Head trauma, including caput succedaneum, skull fractures, intracranial hemorrhages, and extracranial hemorrhages
- Facial nerve injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Peripheral nerve injuries
- Skeletal injuries
- Facial injuries
- Ocular injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Visceral injuries (spleen, liver, adrenal gland)
Causes of Birth Injuries
A doctor who is negligent in their treatment can cause these types of birth injuries. Many of them result from improper use of a vacuum or forceps. However, a medical professional’s negligence could also happen throughout the pregnancy, including:
- Not monitoring the mother for issues before and during the birth.
- Not monitoring the fetus for problems before, during, and after the birth.
- Misdiagnosis of conditions during pregnancy, including diabetes, preeclampsia, high blood pressure, and other illnesses.
- Waiting too long for an emergency cesarian.
- Incorrect medications, medication dosages, and other medication errors.
- Improper manipulation during delivery, thus causing oxygen deprivation or the forcible use of forceps.
Signs and Symptoms to Look For
Some signs of birth trauma are apparent immediately after birth, and some could take months or even years to show up. If you notice any of these signs or believe your child is a victim of medical malpractice, the Nail Law Firm offers free case evaluations. We are experts in medical malpractice and will help you recover the compensation you deserve and need for your baby’s care.
The list below is certainly not a complete list of birth injury symptoms. Some, such as those related to specific palsies, may take months or years to appear. However, it is a good idea to closely monitor your child’s progress compared to other children of the same age, especially if you notice bruises and marks from the birthing process. It’s important to contact a medical professional if you notice any of the following signs or symptoms:
- The baby seems “floppy,” like a rag doll, and doesn’t seem to have muscle tone.
- The baby needs a ventilator immediately after birth.
- You notice bruises, abrasions, swelling, and marks on the baby’s shoulders, head, and face.
- The baby needs immediate resuscitation.
- One of the baby’s arms seems to be limp.
- The baby develops seizures within 48 hours of delivery.
Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys Can Help
Determining whether a birth injury results from a medical professional’s negligence is complicated. Attorneys work with medical experts in reviewing the mother’s and baby’s medical records to determine if negligence played a part in the child’s injuries.
If you believe your baby suffered a birth injury because of a medical professional’s negligence, contact a medical malpractice attorney at The Nail Law Firm for a free case evaluation as soon as possible. Learn more about your rights and recover the damages you deserve, including medical expenses and pain and suffering.