A birth injury can devastate you and your family during what should be one of the happiest moments of your life.
Although you may recover financial compensation with the help of a birth injury lawyer, that may be little comfort in the context of a lifetime of possible treatments or complications that you will now need to handle.
Knowing that your child’s injury came about because of medical negligence or neglect only amplify your pain, suffering, and disappointment.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that a birth defect occurs every 4½ minutes in the United States, impacting about 1 out of every 33 newborns. While not all birth defects result from a doctor’s mistake, certain birth injuries are more likely to happen because of substandard medical care.
California Birth Injury Lawyer Lists 5 Common Birth Defects
If your newborn suffers or develops any of the following conditions during or immediately after delivery, there’s a fair probability that medical malpractice played a role. Consult with a birth injury lawyer if your child is diagnosed with the following 5 conditions.
1. Brachial Plexus Injury or Palsy
Before the nerves that run through the arms and hands get to their final destination, they first coalesce in a structure near the armpit known as the brachial plexus. When these nerves are injured, a brachial plexus injury or brachial palsy can result. Usually in these circumstances, the baby cannot rotate or flex the affected arm. Brachial palsy most often occurs due to the obstetrician applying excessive force on the baby’s shoulder during delivery.
If the force involves a tear of the nerves, the damage may be irreversible and result in the loss of use of the affected arm and hand. Less severe pressure on the nerves may cause bruising to the nerves, and any loss of use should be temporary.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, brachial plexus injuries and brachial palsy occur in about 2 out of every 1,000 births.
2. Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a condition that develops following injury or trauma to a child’s developing brain. This permanent disability manifests as muscle weakness, muscle spasms, and difficulties with motor function. A child born with cerebral palsy may also experience seizures and problems with vision, speech, and hearing.
Cerebral palsy can develop before, during, or after birth. For example, a genetic disorder or infection while in the womb can lead to cerebral palsy.
A disruption of the flow of oxygen to a baby during a challenging labor can also lead to cerebral palsy. An obstetrician who does not adequately monitor a baby’s oxygen levels and take appropriate action can be responsible for the condition.
Cephalohematoma describes bleeding in the space between the newborn’s skull and the layers of tissue covering it. The blood can collect and cause a raised bump on the baby’s head. In most cases, the bump will disappear over the course of several weeks without complications. However, serious complications can develop.
Cephalohematomas are often the result of the child’s head receiving too much force or pressure applied to it during birth. This excessive pressure could be the result of a difficult delivery. The obstetrician delivering the child may have applied too much force when using forceps or vacuum extraction.
The Cleveland Clinic reports that when the use of forceps or vacuum extraction accompanies a delivery, as many as 1 in 10 newborns will develop cephalohematoma.
4. Asphyxia or Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
Asphyxia or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is the reduction or loss of oxygen to the baby before or during birth. Asphyxia can happen if the umbilical cord wraps around the baby’s neck or if the mother or child has a severe infection. Asphyxia can also develop if the mother experiences prolonged labor and delivery.
Medical professionals may not be the immediate cause of asphyxia in a newborn. But those same professionals may allow the asphyxia to persist for an unreasonable amount of time by failing to monitor a baby’s vital signs before and during birth.
5. Bone Fractures
Rarely fatal or permanent, a bone fracture in a newborn is the partial or complete break of a bone in the newborn’s body.
When a bone fracture happens during delivery, it is often the clavicle bone that breaks. The clavicle is a bone that connects the sternum to the shoulder joint. Broken bones usually heal naturally with time, but they can still be distressing for the parents.
If your child develops a broken clavicle, it may be due to excessive or unnatural forces acting on the baby during delivery. The use of forceps, or forcible repositioning of a baby during delivery, can increase the likelihood of a clavicle or other bone fracture.
Speak to a California Birth Injury Lawyer About Your Rights
If you or your child suffered an injury during birth, call The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. Request a free consultation and allow us to review your situation with our experienced team of birth injury lawyers. We will aggressively pursue compensation and justice on your behalf.