Articles Posted in Birth Injury Prevention

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The birth of a baby should be a happy time for families. Sometimes, unfortunately a birth injury may occur that causes serious harm to the baby during labor or delivery. Of the various types of injuries, brain trauma is one of the most severe, and can be disabling. Cerebral palsy may sometimes be the result of a mistake or problem that causes a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain. This lack of oxygen can cause cerebral palsy or other mental disabilities. Parents of infants who suffered a lack of oxygen are naturally concerned about the extent of the injuries sustained. There are some tests that should be done to determine cerebral palsy.

Observation of Behaviors

One of the first signs of possible problems can be detected by observing the behavior of the infant. A baby that suffers a seizure should certainly be examined and diagnosed for the possibility of cerebral palsy or another serious problem. However, there are often small behaviors that could indicate cerebral palsy. For example, parents should note the frequent occurrence of involuntary movements of the limbs. Drooping or limpness of a limb or part of the body could also be cause for concern.

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The birth of a baby is one of the happiest events in the lives of parents. Yet for some, the emotions turn from joy to despair if a baby suffers an injury during birth. Birth injuries occur infrequently but they still happen from time to time. Those that are most at risk for injuries at birth are those where undiagnosed pregnancy complications exist. Complications include a variety of issues and any one of them may increase the chances that a baby will suffer an injury during labor or birth.

Serious Complications
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Most babies are born without any complications, however, a small percentage of newborns have medical issues that may have been caused at birth. An injury to the brachial plexus can cause a condition called Erb’s palsy. Babies who suffer from this injury could have lifelong disabilities.

Brachial Plexus

The brachial plexus is a group of nerves located near the shoulder. It basically ties the physical function of the body to the spinal cord and brain and is located on both sides of the body. It can be injured when force is used to assist in the birth of the baby. The doctor may use forceps, a vacuum, or his hands to pull a baby who is stuck. When the neck and shoulders are stretched, damage to the brachial plexus may occur.

Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s palsy is also known by other names such as Erb-duchenne palsy, shoulder dystocia or radial nerve palsy. These are all forms of damage to the brachial plexus nerves. The muscles of the arm on one side of the body are not able to move properly, causing the arm to droop. Some people may have tingling in the hand or arm. In some cases, the entire arm, including the hand and fingers, are affected, while sometimes only a slight reduction in movement is noted.
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Birth injuries occur to approximately 3 to 6 out of every 1,000 births in the United States. A birth injury is harm that happens to a child during the labor or delivery process. Birth injuries can range from mild to severe. Mild birth injuries are often treated and the infant makes a full recovery. More severe injuries may require ongoing treatment or surgery. Permanent or disabling injuries are the most severe types of birth injuries that usually occur due to lack of oxygen during birth. There are some important risk factors that make birth injuries more likely.

Premature Babies

Babies who are born prematurely are at a higher risk for birth injuries than full-term babies. Premature babies are those born at less than 37 weeks gestational age. These infants are at a higher risk because their organs may not be fully formed or functional. Jaundice is one of the main concerns for premature infant injuries. When treated promptly, jaundice typically poses no long-term medical harm and infants recover fully. However, if jaundice goes undiagnosed or treated it can lead to serious medical problems or even death.

Large Babies

Large babies or those who weigh more than 9 pounds may be at a higher risk for possible birth injuries. Large babies can more easily become stuck during delivery. When this occurs, the doctor may need to assist in the delivery by pulling the baby or through the use of instruments. Large babies are often born to mothers with diabetes or hypertension. Prenatal care should be done to confirm the size of the infant prior to delivery. If the baby is large, a cesarean section may be required to avoid the potential for injury during birth.
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The birth of a child is one of the happiest days in a parent’s life. Sometimes, however, complications at birth can cause injuries to the baby. Sometimes these injuries are minor, while other times they could be quite serious. Jaundice is a common problem with newborns at birth. Jaundice is a condition that is characterized by yellow skin color. It can also affect the whites of the baby’s eyes. Jaundice is often easily treated with no further problems. However, sometimes jaundice may not be properly diagnosed or treated, leading to medical complications.

Diagnosis of Jaundice

Jaundice
in newborns can range in severity. Mild cases of jaundice may not require any type of treatment. More severe cases require immediate treatment. Doctors and other medical professionals should diagnose and treat jaundice as quickly as possible. Blood tests should be done to determine whether a child has elevated levels of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a substance that the body creates to remove dead blood cells. The substance is then broken down in the liver so it can be removed through waste.
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Most babies are born without complications; however, some infants suffer injuries during birth. It is estimated that 6 to 8 out of every 1,000 newborns suffer birth injuries. These injuries include relatively minor injuries, as well as major, disabling medical problems. Of these injuries, some of the most common occur when there is damage to the brachial plexus during birth. Infants are particularly susceptible to suffering medical injuries because of improper handling or mistakes made during labor or delivery.

Brachial Plexus

The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that is located in the upper shoulder and neck area of the body. The nerves can be damaged when the area is pulled or pinched, such as can occur during a particularly difficult birth. When nerve damage happens it may be relatively minor and the child will eventually make a full recovery. Nerve damage may also be extensive. When the area is permanently damaged, permanent disability is the possible outcome. The child could have restricted movement of the shoulder, arm, and hand, as well as possible nerve problems that affect facial muscles. The problems are associated with the side of the body where the immediate damage happened.
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The birth of your baby is one of the best days of a parent’s life – unless something goes wrong. When a problem during labor or delivery occurs, it can cause injuries to the baby. Some of these injuries are minor, while other times they could be severe, or even life-threatening. A recent lawsuit was filed in Cook County claiming that the medical provider was negligent and caused a serious and permanent birth injury to an infant during delivery. The lawsuit is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 from each of five defendants, including Northwest Community Hospital, a medical center, and several members of the medical team.

Types of Birth Injuries

There are a number of different birth injuries that are the most common occurrences in newborns. Some of the most common injuries include bone fractures, brachial plexus injuries, and bruises. More serious injuries include hemorrhages, and asphyxia, which can cause brain damage. Many minor injuries will heal quickly with only minimal treatment while more severe injuries may require surgery and long-term care. Permanent injuries can cause life-long disabilities to the child and will certainly be emotionally challenging for the family, as well as extremely costly.

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The birth of your child is the happiest day in a parent’s life, unless there is a problem. While most births happen without any complications, sometimes a mistake occurs that can cause a birth injury. Facial nerve palsy is one type of injury that can happen during the birth of a newborn. 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 pressure put on the baby’s seventh cranial nerve during birth.

Seventh Cranial Nerve Damage

The seventh cranial nerve is located in the face or neck area. In infants, this nerve can be more easily damaged. Damage may occur when forceps are used to assist in extracting the baby. Some factors that could increase the likelihood of facial nerve palsy include a large birth weight baby, long labor, the use of an epidural, and the use of medication to hasten labor. These situations could make the birth more difficult and create a need for medical intervention during delivery. This could increase the possibility of a birth injury.
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Cerebral palsy (CP) is a non-progressive brain disorder that causes impaired movement and development. CP is one of the most common causes of childhood disability. An estimated 10,000 infants are diagnosed with CP each year in the United States. Although the disorder is non-progressive the symptoms of brain damage may change over time. About half of the children diagnosed with CP also have seizures and some degree of mental retardation.

Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a result of either a congenital defect or an injury at birth. An infection during pregnancy could damage the developing fetus, causing congenital brain damage. Infants who are severely jaundiced at birth may be susceptible to possible brain damage if the jaundice is not effectively treated. In some cases, the mother and baby have Rh incompatibility, which can cause jaundice leading to brain damage. In cases of birth injury, oxygen deprivation is a major factor that leads to cerebral palsy.
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The birth of a baby soon turned from joy to dismay when a doctor performed surgery on the wrong newborn. The incident happened recently at a Tennessee hospital. A doctor was supposed to perform surgery on a newborn but incorrectly asked for the wrong infant. The babies were in the nursery when the infant was sent for what was supposed to be a routine exam just hours after his birth. Instead of a simple exam, the nurse returned to the parents a couple of hours later to explain the procedure that was completed. The parents were in shock and were upset by the information. As it turns out, the doctor performed surgery on a completely healthy newborn rather than on the baby who required it.

Doctor Performed Frenotomy

Sometimes an infant is born with a tied tongue. This means that the tongue is connected to the mouth floor with a small tissue called a lingual frenulum. It is usually recommended that babies with tied-tongue have surgery, called a frenotomy, to remove the tissue. During the procedure the doctor clips the tissue to allow the tongue to move properly in the mouth. When the condition is noted the surgery is completed on a newborn because the incision should heal quickly and the baby will not have future problems with eating or speaking. However, the procedure should not be performed on an infant with a normal mouth. In this case, the doctor performed the frenotomy on a baby that was healthy.
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