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Articles Tagged with birth injuries

black babies and mortality rates

New Research May Provide Answers to Lessening Mortality Rate in Black Babies

An associate professor and reproductive health equity researcher from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health has released her medical research that examined decades of hospital birth records between 1992 and 2015, looking for clues as to why Black babies have such high mortality rates.

Rachel Hardeman discovered that Black newborns are three times as likely to die as White newborns when Black babies weren’t cared for by Black doctors after birth. The doctors were primarily pediatricians, neonatologists, and family practitioners. When cared for by Black doctors, a Black baby’s mortality rate was cut in half. According to the research article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (PNAS) on September 1, 2020:

birth injuries by episiotomy

Childbirth Injuries Related to Unnecessary Episiotomy

Episiotomies can create lasting injuries and make sexual intercourse painful, if not impossible, and prevent women from wanting to have more children with worries about another childbirth. And while episiotomy rates are dropping in the U.S. due to these known risks, some doctors are still routinely performing them.

The American Pregnancy Association identifies these situations in which an episiotomy may be needed but not always necessary:

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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.

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
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