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Articles Tagged with birth injuries

steps taken in birth injury cases

Do These 3 Things If You or Your Child Were Injured During Pregnancy or the Labor and Delivery Process

Nearly 28,000 babies are born with a birth injury each year across the U.S. That equates to 2,333 per month, 538 per week, 76 per day, and 3 per hour, according to the National Healthcare Quality Report (AHRQ). AHRQ researchers say about half of those could have been avoided. Medical staff, including obstetric physicians, pediatricians, nurses, technicians and medical assistants, can be responsible for these tragic labor and delivery mistakes that cause life-long injuries and circumstances so dire that a tragic death occurs to a mother or her child.

If you can relate to this situation, you may be wondering who to turn to for help, and if you have the right to make a claim. It is natural for parents of a child who suffered a birth injury also to have many questions. We suggest you start with these three steps.

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

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:

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.

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.

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?

mom's rights and birth injury prevention

New Illinois Law Says Every Woman Has Safe Pregnancy and Childbirth Rights

New data published on January 30, 2020, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System, shows that the U.S. maternal mortality rate was 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live birth in 2018. And an average of 19 women will die within 12 months of pregnancy in the Chicago-area, according to a 2019 report by the Chicago Department of Public Health.

On January 1, 2020, an Illinois law took effect which amends the Medical Patient Rights Act to delineate 21 rights of women during pregnancy and childbirth through Pregnancy and Childbirth Rights (HB 2).

Fort Campbell Hospital Birth Injury Ends With $15.1M Settlement birth injury at military base

On January 10, 2005, Kelly D. Wilson gave birth to her son at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Fast forward to January 31, 2020, and the federal government agrees to award the Wilson and her family $15.1 million in damages to settle a lawsuit over the events that happened that day, fifteen years ago.

According to the lawsuit, when the Army veteran gave birth to her son in 2005, he “suffered a hypoxic-ischemic brain injury prior to delivery, resulting in cerebral palsy and lifelong neurological deficits.” And as a result of the brain injury, is now “wheelchair-bound, non-verbal and has involuntary movements and a seizure disorder.”

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