Most births are happy times for new parents and in most cases the birth goes well, without complications. However, sometimes there are complications that, if handled improperly, can cause serious and long-term harm to the newborn. Medical professionals must be ready to take care of all types of situations that could happen during labor and delivery. When the proper treatment is rendered in a speedy manner, the chances of serious injury or death are diminished. If doctors and others do not offer appropriate care they may be negligent in their actions, or lack of actions.
Brachial Plexus Injuries
The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that connects the spine, neck, shoulder, and arms. If damage occurs to this area during birth the infant may suffer injuries. The injuries may be mild and the child may recover completely after a few months or the damages could be permanent and severe. This type of injury most often happens when the child’s shoulders become stuck during birth. The doctor may need to pull the infant by using forceps or a vacuum instrument.
Perinatal asphyxia is the loss of oxygen to the brain during or immediately after birth. The baby does not intake enough oxygen and therefore may suffer damage to many organs including the brain. Oxygen deficiency is a leading cause of mental retardation and often causes permanent neurologic damage. This can occur during prolonged labor or because of a difficult birth. Proper fetal monitoring will quickly detect the problem and quick medical response will prevent further damage from occurring.
Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects the development of motor skills and causes muscle weakness. Approximately two babies out of every 1,000 suffer from cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy may occur due to a difficult birth or one in which there was a lack of oxygen for a period of time. Sometimes the cause of cerebral palsy is unknown. Children affected by cerebral palsy will have a varying degree of loss of motor skills and there is no cure for it.
Prevention of Birth Injuries
Many injuries that occur during birth can be prevented. Doctors must utilize the tools available to them and must be aware of the potential risks that are higher for some births than others. For example, brachial plexus injuries occur most often to babies with large birth weight. Doctors should examine the size of the infant prior to delivery so decisions can be made regarding possible alternative birth methods, such as a cesarean section. Mothers and babies who are at a high risk should be monitored more closely and doctors should be prepared for a potential problem during delivery.
Parents should be made aware of potential risks ahead of time so that they are able to make important decisions regarding labor and delivery. Some drugs that are provided during labor may slow the delivery and therefore could create a potentially dangerous situation. Discuss all possible options ahead of time with your doctor.
If your infant was born with a birth injury due to the negligence of the doctor, you may be entitled to damages. Children with serious permanent injuries require long-term medical care that will be extremely expensive. Additionally, you may be entitled to money for pain and suffering and for loss of enjoyment as well as money for legal fees. Contact the legal team at Levin & Perconti to discuss your birth injury case today.
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