Newborn birth injuries are most often caused by these medical errors
Welcoming a new child into the world should be a time filled with joy, excitement and wonder—and, in most childbirths, this is the experience parents will have. Unfortunately, sometimes this joyful process is disrupted by a complication.
It’s crucial that parents who feel that their baby was harmed by a medical provider during childbirth know their rights and speak to a birth injury medical malpractice attorney to get the compensation they are entitled to in order to provide the best possible care for their child.
It’s also vital to be aware of what kind of injury can occur when a medical error takes place. When a doctor or other licensed medical professional fails to act in the best interest of their patient— which in the case of childbirth includes both mother and child—injuries can have life-long effects.
Birth injuries can range from mild to severe. Some of the most common examples include:
- Bruising and skin irritation
- Excessive bleeding (in both mother and child)
- Nerve damage (including Erb’s palsy and cerebral palsy)
- Fractures (such as the clavicle and skull)
- Brain damage
While not all birth injuries are indicative of medical malpractice, having an expert review the circumstances and details of your case can ensure that if your provider was negligent in your child’s care, you get fair compensation. An attorney with experience in this complex area of law will help you understand the rights afforded to your injured child.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of medical malpractice that result in birth injuries:
Failure to spot fetal distress
During labor, a doctor or medical provider may notice signs of fetal distress in the baby’s vital signs. These signs often indicate that the baby is potentially being deprived of oxygen. When a physician fails to notice signs of distress and take immediate action, this can lead to long-term harm to the child.
A birth injury can happen when a doctor fails to deliver a baby in a reasonable period of time. Prolonged labor puts a baby at higher risk. When a doctor fails to recognize non-productive labor or take steps to speed up this process, permanent injury can occur to both baby and mother alike. For example, some steps a doctor should take in a prolonged delivery can include medication-induced labor or ordering an emergency cesarean section for the health of the child.
Improper use of forceps
Some doctors use forceps during childbirth, which are devices used to maneuver a baby’s head through the birth canal quickly. However, the physician may place too much pressure on the baby’s skull, potentially leading to significant and permanent brain damage. Improper use of forceps by a doctor during delivery can also result in other birth injuries including nerve damage and extensive bruising.
Using too much force during delivery
Shoulder dystocia is another serious medical condition that is a common reason why a doctor or medical provider may pull too forcefully. This is a serious situation where a baby gets stuck in the birth canal, and the condition should be quickly recognized by the medical staff to prevent further complications, including damage to the brachial plexus nerves that can cause Erb’s palsy (weakening or paralyzing the child’s arms/hands). If your doctor has improperly utilized delivery aids or used too much force, they may be directly responsible for birth injuries that result.
Failure to prevent hypoxia
Medical errors are also commonly to blame for many cases of cerebral palsy. When a doctor assists with difficult labor and birth, the improper use of instruments designed to aid the process can cause or worsen a birth injury. For instance, when a doctor applies too much pressure while using a vacuum extractor, it can cause brain damage during delivery. Doctors should be very aware of the limits of such tools.
A lack of oxygen to the baby may also result from breech birth. If your physician failed to recognize this presentation and didn’t act quickly to perform a cesarean delivery, this may be considered medical malpractice.
When to consult a birth injury attorney
The vast majority of birth injuries caused by medical malpractice can be summed up simply. When your doctor fails to act quickly and appropriately to ensure a safe and healthy birth, and a birth injury results, then malpractice has occurred.
Medical errors can include failure to monitor a baby’s well-being during labor, neglecting to recognize a risk while performing monitoring, as well as the improper use of tools intended to assist with delivery. These are the most common examples of how a doctor’s care (or lack thereof) may lead to lifelong harm and disability for your child, but there are many other forms of medical errors that constitute malpractice.
If you believe your child’s birth injury was the result of medical negligence, meet with a birth injury attorney who can help you fight for justice. Your baby will need extensive care and you will need skilled representation to help guide you through the process and inform you of your rights.
- Cerebral Palsy
- Caput Succedaneum and Cephalohematoma
- Neonatal Intracranial Hemorrhage (Childbirth Brain Bleeds)
- Hydrocephalus (Extra Fluid in the Brain Cavity)
- Cervical Dystonia
- Hemiplegia (Brain or Spinal Cord Injury)
- Hemorrhagic Stroke
- Neonatal Stroke
- Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL) Brain Injury
- Infant Seizures
- Spastic Diplegia (Spasticity in the Legs)
- Top Risks for Birth Injuries
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
- G-Tubes for Newborns
- Medical Errors
- Cesarean Section & Birth Injury
- Negligence in Brain Cooling Treatment
- Craniosacral Therapy
- Fetal Intolerance to Labor
- Jaundice (Kernicterus)
- Breech Position
- Placental Complications
- Placental Problems
- Umbilical Cord Problems
- Uterine Rupture
- Cervical Incompetence (Insufficiency)
- Blighted Ovum
- Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) - Intestinal Inflammation
- Cephalopelvic Disproportion
- Meconium Aspiration Syndrome
- Amniotic Fluid Embolism
- Birth Injury from Premature Delivery
- Developmental Delays
- Abnormal Cord Insertion
- Infections at Birth
- Chorioamnionitis Bacterial Infection
- Premature birth
- Oxygen Deprivation
- Birth-Acquired Herpes
- Placenta Previa
- Placental Abruption
- Mismanaged Fetal Malposition
- Obesity Related Birth Injuries
- Intrauterine Growth Restriction
- Blood Clots During Pregnancy
- Ectopic Pregnancy Misdiagnosis
- Myths & Facts About Birth Injuries
- Bacterial Vaginosis
- Gestational Diabetes
- Maternal Mortality Risk
- Oligohydramnios (Low Amniotic Fluid)
- Infections During Pregnancy