The birth of a baby is one of the happiest days in a parent’s life. Yet, there are times when problems happen that overshadow the happiness of the day. One of the most common types of birth injuries is a fracture. Thousands of children and adults are treated every year for bone fractures or breaks. Most of these injuries heal within weeks and do not cause permanent damage. However, when an infant sustains a fracture the outcome may be quite different. Many fractures can be severe and dangerous in newborns and sometimes they may result in lifelong damage. When an infant suffers a fracture during birth the injury may be due to the careless or negligent actions of the doctor.
Types of Newborn Fractures
There are a number of different parts of the body that may be harmed due to a fracture. The severity and long-term prognosis depends in part on the location of the fracture. Some of the common fractures include clavicle fractures, growth plate fractures, fractured ribs, and femur fractures. Additionally, clavicle fractures may also include other damage to the shoulder area which could cause nerve damage to the brachial plexus. These injuries must be diagnosed and treated immediately for the best possible outcome.
How Fractures Occur
Newborn fractures may happen for a number of different reasons. When the birth is difficult or the baby becomes stuck during birth, the doctor may need to utilize devices like forceps or vacuum. These implements are designed to assist in the birth process but when used improperly or too forcefully, injuries may occur. Large babies are particularly prone to these types of injuries because their size can cause them to become lodged during birth. Slow or delayed labor may create a difficult birth. When the baby is not properly positioned the birth may require assistance. In some cases the infant in dropped or something falls onto the baby causing an injury. When an injury happens because of the negligence or careless action of a doctor it may necessitate legal action.
Treatment of infant fractures
Luckily, many fractures in infants will completely heal within a few weeks. A baby’s bones are very soft and grow at a rapid pace. Broken bones may require setting or casts. When babies experience broken bones they require continued special care for the duration of the healing time. When a fracture impacts a growth plate there may be additional procedures necessary in order to make sure that the bone will grow properly. In some cases, surgery may be indicated. Clavicle (collar bone) fractures are among the most common newborn injuries and are typically treated by stabilizing the arm and shoulder to prevent movement while the injury heals.
Serious Birth Injuries
Sometimes birth injuries may be severe. Brachial plexus injuries may happen due to trauma when the baby is pulled during birth. The brachial plexus is a group of nerves located in the shoulder area and when injured it can cause serious injury to the infant. The injuries may range from stretching of the tendons in the area, which will heal over time, to permanent debilitating trauma that could require surgical treatment. Serious birth injuries are painful to babies and often need ongoing or expensive medical treatments. Parents of children injured at birth because of the negligence of the doctor may be entitled to damages. Contact the experienced lawyers at Levin & Perconti to discuss your case.
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