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shoulder injuries to infants

Illinois Boy Recovers $8 Million in Damages for Birth Injury

When a baby’s delivery is delayed or the infant becomes lodged at birth, serious complications and injuries can arise. A more common injury in this situation is to the nerve bundles in the infant’s shoulder, which can become pinched, stretched, or pulled. As a result, movement problems arise in the shoulder, arm, and hand. At other times a collar bone or arm bone can break. And in certain situations, the child can be deprived of oxygen, leading to brain injury or death by asphyxia.

On June 29, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit announced a multimillion-dollar reward to an Illinois boy who suffered a shoulder injury at birth after his mother pleaded with the obstetrician of her fear in delivering a large baby. The delivery method the doctor chose ultimately left the boy with a shoulder injury and permanently disabled. Medical experts agreed he would be unable to do certain types of work in the future, resulting in the recovery of over $8 million in damages for noneconomic injuries and lost earnings. The lower court carefully considered the evidence and comparable cases and reached reasonable figures, given the child’s injuries, the Seventh Circuit said.

injuries sustained in child labor

Injuries to Infant Can Occur During Labor Induction Mistakes

Many mothers are needlessly dying during labor or their babies sustaining life-altering injuries because of medical mistakes and a routine of poor care. And while most of the complications women and newborns are experiencing develop during pregnancy and are mostly treatable, tragic events continue to unfold during planned or induced labors. The medical induction of labor occurs when a care provider uses a drug and/or physical method to try to cause labor to begin before it starts on its own.

According to research provided through the National Partnership for Women & Families and the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, three situations occur at the end of pregnancy when women or newborns are likely to benefit from induction:

cerebral palsy symptoms

Cerebral Palsy is a Neurological Disorder Caused by Brain Damage

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the average prevalence of cerebral palsy is 3.3 children per 1,000 live births. Cerebral palsy is often a result of a birth injury or abnormal development during or after pregnancy. It can be caused by infection, fetal or pediatric stroke, undiagnosed maternal health problems, premature birth, and asphyxia allowing brain damage to occur before, during, or after childbirth. It is the most common motor and movement disability of childhood and could cause serious, long-term injuries related to other conditions like Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy.

There are four main types of cerebral palsy, the most commonly diagnosed as spastic cerebral palsy (70% – 80% of cases). Each type differs in movement patterns, location and severity of issues, and should be evaluated alongside individual symptoms. Athetoid, ataxic, and mixed cerebral palsy can be diagnosed alternatively. Most children with cerebral palsy will have symptoms identified after birth or are diagnosed by 18 months old. However, in some cases, symptoms may only become visible as the child becomes fully developed.

injuries sustained during cesarean section

Emergency C-Section Delays Can Create Lifelong Disability Outcomes

In 2018, 31.9% of all deliveries in the U.S. were by cesarean (c-section), according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This represents only a small decrease from 32% in 2017. That same year, the cesarean delivery rate had increased for the first time since 2009, when it peaked at 32.9% after increasing every year since 1996 (20.7%).

If there are complications with a pregnancy, or problems identified that might impact a baby or the labor process, a doctor may recommend cesarean. This is an invasive surgery in which the baby is born through a cut in a mother’s stomach and uterus. While some c-sections are planned, others are emergencies because the mother’s health or her baby’s health is in danger. When complications are detected during birth, medical practitioners must take quick action to perform c-sections in a timely manner. Failure to do so may result in serious birth injury to the child, including brain damage and lifelong disabilities due to oxygen deprivation.

using ultrasound to find birth defects

Mistakes in Fetal Ultrasound Readings Can Have Devastating Effects During Labor & Delivery

Most women will undergo several minimally invasive fetal ultrasounds during her pregnancy to produce images of the inside of her womb and her unborn child. The images, called sonograms, can provide a closer look at a baby’s internal organs, physical features, size, and allow for doctors to screen for maternal and fetal problems that could assist in a safer birth process.

Ultrasounds are routinely used to:

identifying spinal cord injuries in infants

Spinal cord injuries in newborns are usually a result of excessive traction or rotation of the spinal cord and twisting of a baby’s trunk during delivery, and can be caused by vacuum extraction or the use of instruments such as forceps. A physician who is trying to deliver and manually manipulate positions quickly may further put a baby at risk, making a negligent doctor one of the most common reasons for a spinal cord injury to occur. The severity, mortality, and disability will depend on the type and location of the damage. Other related injuries may include pediatric skull fractures, Erb’s Palsy, and lifelong bladder and bowel dysfunction.

The best way to avoid these types of injuries is for a doctor to properly evaluate the baby’s position before labor and delivery begin. Just as important is the close observation of injury symptoms and an injury diagnosis by use of ultrasonography or MRI of the newborn’s spinal cord after delivery.

Signs of Infant Spinal Cord Injury

Brain Injuries to Children
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.” And most of the time, birth injuries are typically indicative of a medical mistake that was likely the cause of a traumatic experience to the fetus or newborn. Here is a deeper look and explanation of the top ten most common birth injuries in the U.S.

  1. Cerebral Palsy: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows the average prevalence of cerebral palsy is 3.3 children per 1,000 live births. It is the most common motor and movement disability of childhood and could cause serious, long-term injuries.
  2. Facial Paralysis: Facial nerve palsy is the loss of voluntary muscle control of the face. While it can be serious, the condition often goes away over time. The injury is caused by the pressure put on the baby’s seventh cranial nerve during birth.

congenital syphilis and birth injuries

What is Congenital Syphilis?

Syphilis is a chronic bacterial infection spread through sexual contact and sexual intercourse, making it a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Congenital syphilis (CS) is a disease that occurs when a mother with syphilis passes the infection on to her baby during pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CS can affect a child’s health, depending on when a mother was adequately diagnosed and received treatment for the infection. Without a diagnosis or the proper treatment, a baby can be lost through miscarriage or stillbirth, but also be born premature, with a low birth rate and have a small chance for survival after birth due to infection.

The CDC says for babies born with CS, many will have health conditions and severe serious health problems such as:

lawsuits involving obstetricians

Obstetric violence has become yet another vexing problem added to the traumatic experiences that too many pregnant women in America face during both the prenatal and postnatal phases. Much of the maternal distress reported is centered on the prevention of delivery complications and disrespect for decisions through childbirth, but violence and harassment to pregnant moms can also occur.

Examples of obstetric violence can include:

  • the denial of treatment or continuum of care

New Hope for Brain Damage Recovery After Oxygen Deprivation at Birth
Around 450,000 babies are born preterm in the U.S. every year, according to the Children’s National Research Institute. Premature babies are often deprived of oxygen caused by immature lungs or irreversible birth injuries. Inadequate oxygen levels can decrease a newborn’s blood pressure, heart rate, and limiting the blood flow to vital organs and tissue. When this happens, irreversible neurological or cellular damage can occur and lead to permanent deficits and disabilities such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and vision and hearing loss.

Premature babies and those with brain injuries caused by birth have typically been treated with minimal handling, avoidance from stressful stimuli, including receiving care and treatments in new, quiet private family rooms. A new study led by researchers at Children’s National Hospital, published online on February 19, 2020, in “Nature Communications,” could lead to new treatments for children affected by brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation at birth. The recent study suggests that when oxygen-deprived infants are faced with opportunities for optimal brain development through an “enriched” environment, it may result in a more positive growth and healing of the brain.

What Makes for an “Enriched” Environment?

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