Understanding Infant Injuries Related to Dangerous Breech Deliveries

A breech birth occurs when an infant enters the birth canal in a manner other than head first, causing the baby’s buttocks or feet to be positioned to be delivered first. The majority of infants born breach are healthy, without a mother or her child suffering a birth injury. The American Pregnancy Association discusses these three types of breech positions as:

  1. Footling Breech: This occurs when one or both of the child’s feet enter the birth canal and are positioned to be delivered first.

When Mothers Are Mistreated Because of Race, Babies Are at Risk of Preterm Birth and Harmful Injuries

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 700 women die from pregnancy-related complications every year. Furthermore, the same research shows when a mother is at harm during the pre and post-natal stages, the fetus or newborn is as well. Just as troublesome, however, is that pregnancy and childbirth are much more dangerous for women and babies who are not white – and not always because of the mother’s socioeconomic status.

Researchers at the Blavatnik Family Women’s Health Research Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York have found that, “Data does not suggest that any differences in treatment patterns were reflected in worse outcomes for Medicaid-covered and commercially insured mothers within the same hospital. These results indicate that pathways other than insurance are responsible for the higher risks of severe maternal morbidity among black and Latina compared with white women that were observed in our study.”

15 Things Parents May Not Know About Their Baby’s Birth Injury

A birth injury is defined as the structural destruction or functional deterioration of an infant’s body due to a traumatic event at birth. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Some of these injuries are avoidable when appropriate care is available, and others are part of the delivery process that can occur even when clinicians practice extreme caution.”

This is a list of 15 things parents may not know about preventable birth injuries.

The routine induction of labor among women with preexisting type 1 and type 2 diabetes before pregnancy is a common practice and rightful under individual circumstances. But according to recent findings published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care, it is also associated with certain neonatal complications related to deliveries before 38 weeks.

“Based on this population-based, retrospective data, delivery of women with preexisting diabetes before 39 weeks’ gestation is associated with a higher rate of neonatal complications and does not reduce the cesarean section rate,” said lead researcher of the study, Howard Berger, MD, head of maternal fetal medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto. “Clinicians are often faced with the dilemma of when to deliver pregnant women with preexisting type 1 and type 2 diabetes. On one hand, it is known that pregnancies in women with preexisting diabetes are at increased risk for certain complications, including stillbirth and the development of preeclampsia. This has led to many clinicians electively choosing to deliver these women before 39 weeks’ gestation, but the price that is paid is an increase in early-term deliveries, which carry with them an increase in certain neonatal complications.”

According to Mayo Clinic, labor induction carries various risks, including:

In the U.S., about 1 in 33 babies is born with a birth defect each year, according to the March of Dimes. This makes birth defects the leading cause of infant mortality in the United States, accounting for over 20% of all related deaths.  Several factors have an impact on how a child is born with a birth defect and whether that defect could have been prevented. Critical evaluations of the biological parents’ genetics, medications mom may have been prescribed, social and environmental factors, and prenatal care and physician choices all could play a role. Not to be confused with a birth injury, not all birth defects are preventable.

  • Birth Defects: A birth defect is a health condition that is present at birth. Defects can cause serious problems in a baby’s overall health, how his body develops, and how his/her body works, according to the March of Dimes.
  • Birth Injuries: A birth injury is defined as the structural destruction or functional deterioration of the neonate’s body due to a traumatic event at birth. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Some of these injuries are avoidable when appropriate care is available, and others are part of the delivery process that can occur even when clinicians practice extreme caution.”

Preventable Birth Injuries

How Long Do I Have to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Illinois?

Minor injuries to newborns may occur during the birthing process, which could be natural due to the force of labor. However, when nerves are damaged, bleeding occurs on the brain, bones are broken, or a baby’s oxygen is deprived causing irreversible injuries, further treatments and extended care will be required, leaving parents to reach a traumatic point of devastation and financial strain. Sadly, many times these injuries could have been prevented had the mother’s medical team including, doctors, nurses, and others, avoided negligent behaviors and faulted choices.

Examples of medical negligence during birth may include failure to:

Birth Asphyxia

3 Types of Asphyxia Related Childbirth Injuries

Some of the most traumatic injuries that arise during childbirth are those that affect the baby’s brain. Asphyxia is an irreversible event that occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen for an extended time prenatally, intrapartum, or postnatally and results in abnormal neurologic function in a newborn. The harm can be incredibly debilitating and impact the child’s suffering for the remainder of their life.

When medical provider negligence is involved in a childbirth-related injury, it is likely due to a failure to monitor the fetus and respond to distress or diagnose a potential delivery issue. Many birth injury lawsuits have been filed because of these unfortunate labor and delivery events.

Brain Injuries to Children

Record-Setting Verdict Against West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park for Failure to Order Emergency Cesarean

In November, an Illinois jury made up of six men and six women in Cook County decided that West Suburban was liable for medical malpractice. The award was a record-setting $100.6 million verdict for a lawsuit alleging a doctor and staff caused a newborn’s severe and permanent brain damage. The jury’s award is nearly double the previous Illinois record for an infant brain injury case.

Lawyers for the family and the boy, now a 5-year-old, alleged medical malpractice for West Suburban Medical Center and its health care providers due to their failure to recognize signs of fetal distress and order an emergency Cesarean section (C-section) in a timely manner.

Medical Negligence

As U.S. Maternal Mortality Rates Soar, Injuries to Baby May Follow

According to Harvard Medical School, expecting moms in the United States are now 50 percent more likely to die in childbirth than their mothers. The rate had alarmingly more than doubled from 10.3 per 100,000 live births in 1991 to 23.8 in 2014, and experts agree, the majority of these deaths could be avoided. These numbers rank the U.S. as the most dangerous place to give birth in the developed world, positioning health care providers to blame for their failures and carelessness in keeping mothers and babies safe during pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum stages.

Pregnancy-Related Deaths Are Mostly Preventable

Levin Perconti - Baby's Shoulder

4 Newborn Injury Complications Caused by Shoulder Dystocia

One of the most feared complications of a normal vaginal delivery, shoulder dystocia is a frightening reality that most U.S. labor and delivery teams are not nearly as prepared for as they should be. The American Family Physician defines shoulder dystocia as a difficulty during labor that occurs when the anterior shoulder of the baby gets stuck behind one of the mother’s pelvic bones during a vaginal delivery and ultimately delays birth.

Today, clinicians have many tools available to recognize the knowns risks of shoulder dystocia and should be trained to adhere to more conservative approaches and tactics to ensure a safe delivery with minimal harm of pressure put onto the baby or the umbilical cord. Although risk factors are identifiable during the course of prenatal care, doctors do continue to make delivery mistakes such as having a mom continue to push or fail to intervene soon enough. These medical errors can result in several significant birth injuries to the infant’s nerves and oxygen flow, and the mother.

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