Articles Posted in Birth Injury Prevention

birth injury type brachial plexus

Birth Injuries Can Cause Shoulder, Arm, and Hand Paralysis in Newborn

The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves located in an infant’s body’s upper shoulder and neck area. The nerves can be damaged when the site is pulled or pinched during labor and delivery. Brachial plexus injury (BPBI) remains the leading cause of infants’ upper extremity paralysis that can significantly impact arm and hand mobility and leave up to 30% of those affected with residual neurologic deficits.

When the damage happens, it may be relatively minor, and some children will be lucky enough to make a full recovery eventually. But at other times, for example, in a case of a forced breech delivery or improper use of an instrumented delivery, the damage may be so extensive that a permanent disability is the only outcome. The child could have restricted movement of the shoulder, arm, and hand and possible nerve injuries that affect facial muscles. These problems are associated with the side of the body where the immediate damage happened.

list of preventable birth injuries like asphyxiation

Brain Injury Awareness Month Serves as a Reminder for Medical Professionals to Work Harder in Preventing Birth Injuries

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. The birth injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti and their families would like to acknowledge and support the 5.3 million Americans living with a brain injury, including the 2 out of every 1,000 newborn infants who suffer from oxygen deprivation at birth. Asphyxia is an irreversible event that occurs when an infant’s brain is deprived of oxygen for an extended time prenatally, intrapartum, or postnatally, resulting in abnormal neurologic function. The harm can be incredibly debilitating and impact the child’s suffering for the remainder of their life.

Common brain injuries as result of asphyxia at birth include:

labor induction leading to birth injuries

The Connection Between Labor Inducing Drugs and Birth Injuries 

According to research provided through the National Partnership for Women & Families (NPWF), up to 50% of all birth injuries to mothers and babies are avoidable with proper planning and better care. And a woman’s doctors or medical team may be responsible for those injuries if they allow labor and delivery complications to impact a mother and her baby’s health. At times, a physician may schedule a delivery to induce labor and avoid further complications.

NPWF has identified three situations that can occur at the end of pregnancy when women or newborns are likely to benefit from induction:

maternal health of black women

New Legislation Aimed to Save Lives and Reduce Disparities Impacting Mortality in Black Mothers and Black Babies

Women of color, more so non-Hispanic Black mothers, suffer adverse maternal health outcomes at disproportionately high rates, as much as 3 to 4 times those of their white counterparts. In response, the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 has been unveiled alongside 12 bills to address the significant health inequities Black mothers are at risk for. While the newly proposed legislation could impact the growing concern for Black women’s health across the U.S., the related challenges are especially problematic in Illinois, where an average of 19 Black women in Chicago dies within 12 months of giving birth, making their deaths nearly six times higher than whites.

According to the U.S. House of Representatives and members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act is designed to:

Depositphotos_13864331_s-2019-300x199

8 Birth Injury Facts Parents Must Know

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most birth injuries are avoidable when appropriate care is available. And while some minor injuries to newborns may occur and can resolve without treatment, a birth injury is better defined as the structural destruction or functional deterioration of an infant’s body due to a traumatic event at birth. Here are eight additional facts you may not know about preventable birth injuries that could impact both mom and baby.

  1. Failure to perform an emergency cesarean section (c-section) can result in a severe birth injury to a newborn, including brain damage and cerebral palsy due to oxygen deprivation and lifelong injuries to the mother.

usa has highest maternal death rate

Latest CDC Data Shows U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate Highest Among Comparable Countries

A recent analysis of the latest issue brief from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that most maternal deaths are preventable but continue to be increasing in the United States compared to 10 high-income countries. The data is being used to identify differences in maternal care workforces, access to postpartum care and midwife services, and paid maternity leave policies among the countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Other key findings alarming to U.S. women included:

delayed c section injuries

6 Birth Injuries to Baby That Can Happen Due to Delayed C-Section

Healthcare professionals are trained to detect when an emergency C-section is needed. Still, if a doctor delays action to deliver a baby or the health system is not prepared to act quickly, severe consequences to both baby and mom can lead to a myriad of injuries related to lack of oxygen and organ failure, infant brain damage, and developmental disabilities. In the most severe cases, infant or maternal death may occur due to medical errors and negligence. Unfortunately, physicians can fail to schedule a C-section or delay intervening even though the warning signs related to fetal or maternal distress were present.

  1. Fetal Lacerations

preventable birth injuries related to premature labor

Premature Babies Have Significant Birth Injury Risk of the Brain

Premature babies, especially those born very early, often have complicated medical problems and face many challenges, including a high risk of birth injuries, such as brain damage. These injuries can be the source of great emotional distress as well as extreme financial hardship, especially when preventable and caused by the negligence of a trusted doctor.

A baby is premature when born too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy and the normal pregnancy should last approximately 40 weeks. Each year, about 1 in 10, or 450,000 babies in the United States is born prematurely, according to the March of Dimes. Depending on how early a baby is born, Mayo Clinic identifies these preterm timelines:

cerebral palsy diagnosis

Cerebral palsy can be the result of a birth injury or abnormal development during or after pregnancy, 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. Health care providers may be responsible for a cerebral palsy injury or found negligent for a delay in providing the proper diagnosis, therapy, or treatment. The earlier children are diagnosed, the better their chances of access to treatments and evidence-based interventions. If not, cerebral palsy can cause a range of disabilities, from mild to severe.

A study led by the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that U.S. hospitals average an age of about 2 years at diagnosis, compared to the target of 12 months of age or younger. Along with four other institutions (UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles; the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; University of Utah Health, Salt Lake City; and Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore), Nationwide Children’s Hospital developed international guidelines to implement a clinical time-to-diagnosis to reduce the age of a cerebral palsy diagnosis. The 2017 guidelines involve the support of neonatologists, developmental pediatricians, therapists, and other developmental specialists, but they also rely heavily on neurologists.

Nearly three years later, the groups say their efforts have “resulted in an average decrease of 10 months in time-to-diagnosis and have demonstrated the practicality and effectiveness of the guidelines for improving age at diagnosis—a key requirement for early interventions, which can improve CP-related developmental outcomes substantially.”

wrongful death of newly born infant

Understanding Infant Wrongful Death

Even medical professionals can cause tragic labor and delivery mistakes that result in life-long injuries, stillborn, or a circumstance so dire that a newborn death is a result. It is possible that medical staff, including obstetric physicians, pediatricians, nurses, medical assistants, did not do all they could to keep the fetus or newborn safe. It’s likely injuries or infant death could have been prevented with diligent medical care.

For example:

Lawyer Monthly - Legal Awards Winner
The National Trial Lawyers
Elder Care Matters Alliance
American Association for Justice
Fellow Litigation Counsel of America
Super Lawyers
Contact Information