Slightly fewer than 4 million babies are born in the United States each year, and the details of how, when, and where they arrive are always shifting.
With millions of babies being born on a yearly basis in the United States, the likelihood of a birth injury, while small on a percentage basis, is significant from a gross magnitude perspective. Even if only 0.1% of births are complicated by a birth injury, such a figure translates to over 4,000 injured babies on a yearly basis.
Birth injuries can be devastating to not only the child, but to the parents as well. Most commonly, birth injuries relate to failure to deliver a baby in a timely manner, failure to properly deliver a baby either vaginally or by c-section, or failure to monitor a baby following delivery.
Most commonly, a birth injury occurs because of the baby’s size or the position of the baby during labor and delivery. Conditions that may be associated with a difficult birth include each of the following:
Large babies. Birthweight over about 4,000 grams (8 pounds, 13 ounces)
Prematurity. Babies born before 37 weeks (premature babies have more fragile bodies and may be more easily injured)
Cephalopelvic disproportion. The size and shape of the mother’s pelvis is not adequate for the baby to be born vaginally
Dystocia. Difficult labor or childbirth
Abnormal birthing presentation. An example of this is breech (buttocks first) delivery
Accordingly to Stanford Children’s Health Center, some of the most common birth injuries are as follows:
Caput succedaneum. Caput is a significant swelling of the soft tissues of the baby’s scalp that develops as the baby travels through the birth canal.
Cephalohematoma. Cephalohematoma is an area of bleeding underneath one of the cranial bones. It often appears several hours after birth as a raised lump on the baby’s head.
Facial paralysis. During labor or birth, pressure on a baby’s face may cause the facial nerve to be injured. This may also occur with the use of forceps for delivery.
Brachial palsy. Brachial palsy occurs when the brachial plexus (the group of nerves that supplies the arms and hands) is injured. It is most common when there is difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder, called shoulder dystocia. The baby loses the ability to flex and rotate the arm.
Fractures. Fracture of the clavicle or collarbone is the most common fracture during labor and delivery. The clavicle may break when there is difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder or during a breech delivery.
In extreme cases, where a baby is denied oxygen during the birth process, the baby can deliver cerebral palsy, which is perhaps the most catastrophic injury that can happen to a baby. Cerebral Palsy is considered a neurological disorder caused by a non-progressive brain injury or malformation that occurs while the child’s brain is under development. Cerebral Palsy primarily affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. It can also impact fine motor skills, gross motor skills and oral motor functioning.
Dr. Kramer is not only a licensed lawyer in California, but he is also a licensed medical doctor, so he can evaluate medical injuries caused by a birth injury in a way that few lawyers can.
If your child has been injured as a result of a birth injury, give our office a call at 310-289-2600 so we can help you get the maximum compensation for your injuries.