Birth injuries may seem to affect a small portion of births in the United States; however, these injuries are much more common than many people think. It is estimated that around 6 out of every 1,000 births results in birth injuries to a child. Most of these injuries are preventable and result solely from negligence.
What Is A Birth Injury?
A birth injury is any trauma caused to a child while in utero or during birth. Many children may experience minor injuries when they are born that cannot be avoided; however, some birth injuries are completely avoidable and can cause life-long problems for certain children. These injuries can be caused in a variety of ways, including:
- Nerve damage
- Brain damage
- Broken bones
Medical professionals are responsible for ensuring your baby’s health during childbirth to ensure that these avoidable injuries do not occur. If medical professionals disregard warning signs from a child, they could be found liable for any injuries that the child sustains.
There are a variety of birth injuries that children experience during the childbirth process. Some of these injuries can be fixed without future damage to the baby, but some will continue to cause the child to experience health issues in the future. Some of the most common birth injuries include:
- Cerebral palsy- This affects the white matter in a baby’s brain. This can occur due to asphyxiation or improper oxygen levels and can occur during pregnancy or childbirth.
- Brachial plexus palsy- During birth, if a baby comes out improperly, their arm can experience this type of damage that makes it difficult to control or move the nerves in their arm.
- Facial nerve palsy- This involves temporary to severe facial nerve bruising. In some more serious cases, the nerves can become severed, requiring surgery to repair.
- Head trauma- A baby can experience lacerations or severe bruising to their head if medical tools are used inaccurately or negligently.
- Collarbone fractures- Often, children may fracture their clavicles during the natural birthing process. This commonly happens when a baby comes out breech, but it can also result from a medical professional not maneuvering the baby out the right way.
- Intellectual and developmental disabilities- These injuries may impair a baby’s mental state or cause them to experience developmental delays. Typically, this kind of birth injury happens due to another one, such as head trauma or cerebral palsy.
Many of these injuries occur as a result of improper medical attention or improper use of birthing tools like forceps or vacuums. While birthing tools are common and can aid during the birthing process, there are many situations where birthing tools cause unnecessary damage, especially when the medical professional using them isn’t delicate or strategic with their use.
How To Notice Birth Injuries
Some birth injuries are visually apparent when looking at a newborn child, but some aren’t as noticeable, especially to new parents who may not know what a normal and healthy newborn looks like. Some signs that your child may be suffering from a birth injury are:
- They have motor issues.
- They have extremely pale or blue-tinted skin.
- The baby experiences seizures.
- The baby has abnormal reflexes.
- The baby has a slow heart rate.
- The baby is constantly lethargic.
- The baby has difficulty eating.
If your child has any of these symptoms, they may be suffering from a birth injury. It is advised that you take your child to a doctor to address these issues. Handling these injuries before they escalate can drastically alter their effects on your child’s life in the future.
Who Is At Fault For a Birth Injury?
When it comes to birth injury cases, a negligent medical professional is usually responsible for any injuries to the child. This neglect could come in many forms, such as ill-prescribed or dangerous medications given to the mother during pregnancy, neglecting the baby’s health during delivery, and delivering the child in an unsafe environment that they have provided.
Once you notice a birth injury on your child, you only have a certain amount of time to report it. This is called the statute of limitations. In the state of Georgia, a case has to be filed within two years of the date of the injury to progress through the courts. If a case is filed beyond the statute of limitations, it will be thrown out. If you think you may have a case, you should find an attorney and begin filing your claim immediately.
Birth Injury Lawsuit
A Pennsylvania family was awarded 55 million dollars for their birth injury case. Their young son wasn’t getting the amount of oxygen needed during childbirth. Instead of calling for a Cesarean section, the child’s signs of agony were ignored by the medical professionals, and he was born naturally. In response to this negligence by the doctors, this young boy, now four years old, has cerebral palsy and other developmental delays. Though the hospital maintains that they took the right course of action during this delivery, a jury still awarded the family 55 million dollars to care for their son and accommodate his injuries.
Contacting an Attorney
If you have confirmed that you are within the statute of limitations to report your child’s birth injury, you may want to contact an attorney to handle your case. Hiring an attorney will give you confidence that your case is being taken seriously by a trained professional. An attorney will likely collect medical documents from you and your child, do their research and collect additional evidence, and find experts to testify on your behalf.
The type of injury you or your child has sustained because of the pregnancy might require a different attorney. The most common choice for birth injury cases are personal injury attorneys; however, depending on the details of your case, you may also utilize a medical malpractice attorney or a wrongful death attorney.
Contact The Eichholz Law Firm today if you or your child has been injured during birth. Fill out our online form for a free case consultation or call 855-551-1019.