If you’re fortunate enough to call Denver home, you have plenty of options when it comes to choosing a hospital for your baby’s delivery. From the University of Colorado Hospital to Rose Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital, Denver parents should be able to rely on the top-notch care these facilities provide when it’s time to welcome their little ones into the world.
Birth injuries can have a significant impact on the health and well-being of your child and the emotional, physical and financial well-being of your entire family. Navigating these challenges while also trying to care for your child can be overwhelming.
No family should have to endure the devastating consequences of a birth injury alone. By partnering with a skilled attorney, you can hold the responsible parties accountable and ensure your child receives the necessary medical care and support they need for a brighter future.
If your baby suffered a birth injury as a result of a doctor’s or other health care provider’s negligence, experienced Denver birth injury attorney Laura Brown is ready to answer your questions and advocate on your child’s behalf. While we know this process can feel scary, reaching out to an attorney is an important first step to getting your child the justice and compensation they deserve.
Colorado birth statistics and mortality rate
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that as of 2021, for every 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 in Colorado, 52 babies were born.
Despite advancements in the medical field pertaining to prenatal and postnatal care, birth injuries and fatalities continue to occur. In 2020, the infant mortality rate in the state was approximately 4.8 infants for every 1,000 births, or 295 deaths.
Infant mortality rates throughout the U.S.
In 2020, the CDC reported 19,578 infant fatalities throughout the U.S, which was equivalent to 5.42 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, a historic low. This number is still significantly higher than Colorado’s infant mortality rate of 4.8.
What is the most common area for a birth injury?
An infant’s head and/or brain remain the primary areas that suffer birth trauma injuries. The array of head, brain and facial injuries that can occur include the following:
- Cephalohematomas. This term refers to blood accumulation just beneath the skin of the scalp, often caused by the forceful use of forceps during delivery. Most disappear within weeks or months without intervention.
- Subgaleal hemorrhages. These involve bleeding in the connective tissue of an area of the skull called the subgaleal space, located just above the skull. It’s a serious condition usually associated with the use of a vacuum extractor. The bleeding can continue, spread and cause anemic shock.
- Skull fractures. These may involve one or more bones breaking before or during birth. Medical attention becomes necessary if the fracture causes an indentation, but many of these kinds of fractures will heal on their own.
- Neonatal strokes. These strokes can occur when blood vessels burst (hemorrhagic stroke) or when blood flow to the brain is interrupted by a blockage (ischemic stroke). Either way, once the blood flow is disrupted through a stroke, blood vessels soon die, and permanent damage can result. Stokes can result from many factors, including low oxygen levels, placental abruption and uterine rupture.
- Facial paralysis. This is a condition where the facial nerves experience inflammation or injury, leading to a loss of facial muscle control. While some cases may be genetically linked, facial paralysis can also be attributed to birth-related trauma, including the use of assistive devices like forceps or vacuum extraction by medical professionals during childbirth.
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Also known as perinatal asphyxia, HIE occurs when there is an inadequate oxygen supply during labor and delivery. The effects of HIE can be severe, leading to long-term complications, including developmental delays, cognitive impairments, motor disabilities and cerebral palsy. The consequences of HIE emphasize the critical need for timely intervention and appropriate medical care during the perinatal period.
- Epilepsy and seizures. These are neurological conditions that can be triggered by factors such as oxygen deprivation or head trauma. These conditions involve sudden and temporary disruptions in the brain’s normal electrical activity, resulting in various symptoms such as altered movements and consciousness. In infants, seizures can indicate a risk for conditions like hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and cerebral palsy, necessitating close monitoring following birth.
- Cerebral palsy (CP). This is a condition characterized by muscle problems that arise after a brain injury. Oxygen deprivation during birth can be a contributing factor in the development of cerebral palsy among some infants.
What type of birth injury causes cerebral palsy?
Birth trauma may cause a life-long condition known as cerebral palsy. The neurologic condition affects muscle tone, body movement and posture. CP symptoms vary from mild to severe. Mild cases might include a slight limp or other awkward movements. Severe cases may cause an inability to talk, walk or use their arms. Conditions before, during or after birth can give rise to the condition.
- Reduced blood flow and oxygen to the white matter in the baby’s brain, which can cause periventricular leukomalacia or PVL
- A maternal infection during pregnancy like chickenpox, cytomegalovirus, rubella and toxoplasmosis.
- A neonatal stroke involving cerebral blood vessel ruptures or blockages that deprive the baby’s brain of oxygen
- Choking or near-drowning episodes that lead to decreased oxygen
- Abnormally low blood sugar or hypoglycemia that interferes with brain function
What are the signs of a birth injury?
The signs and symptoms of a birth injury vary according to severity and location. Some will appear right after birth, but others aren’t noticed until months or years later.
Symptoms often arising within hours after birth
- Observable and abnormal bruising or swelling
- High-pitched crying, grunting or excessive fussiness
- Crying with an arched back
- Excessive drooling
- Difficulty sucking or swallowing
- Weak or absent reflexes
- Abnormal arm, hand, leg or foot positions
- Abnormally low vital signs
- Muscle weakness or flaccidity
- Light sensitivity
- Seizure activity
Signs emerging at 12 to 24 months of age
- Developmental delays involving sitting, crawling, walking or talking
- Difficulties eating or drinking
- Decreased memory retention
- Muscle spasticity or a lack of muscle control or movement
- Lack of coordination
- Neck pulling in one direction
- Not turning in the direction of noises
- Visual problems
Symptoms appearing after the age of 24 months
- Difficulties with dressing, eating, drinking, walking or running
- Difficulty speaking or comprehending full sentences
- Abnormally loose or stiff muscles
- Jerky or spastic muscle movements
- Fine motor skill deficits, such as difficulty drawing straight lines
- Visual or hearing deficits
My baby was injured during delivery in Denver. How do I know if it was medical malpractice?
Birth injuries may be the result of negligence on the part of medical team members caring for the mother and infant before, during or after birth. If a doctor or other medical professional failed to provide you or your baby with the established standard of medical care and an injury resulted, they may be liable through a birth injury lawsuit.
Some examples of negligence that could lead to infant injury or death may include any of the following:
- Failing to diagnose and respond to potential problems
- Providing unnecessary surgical or invasive procedures
- Giving the wrong medication or dosage
- Discharging a patient prematurely
- Failing to provide appropriate follow-up care
- Forcefully pulling or twisting a baby during delivery
- Incorrectly calculating the size of the infant before birth
- Failing to address Rh incompatibility
- Using forceps or vacuum extractors in a way that results in injury
- Failing to detect or intervene in the event of fetal distress
- Failing to perform an emergency C-section in a timely manner
- Failing to administer oxygen to the mother or infant when needed
If you suspect that your infant’s birth injury or fatality occurred because of a medical professional’s negligence in Denver, you should consult with a birth injury attorney to have your case reviewed as soon as possible.
Contact an experienced Denver birth injury attorney
Seeking compensation through a birth injury lawsuit is an important step for parents to secure the financial resources necessary to support their child’s medical needs and provide a better quality of life. Birth injuries can have lifelong consequences, and holding responsible parties accountable for their negligence is crucial.
By partnering with a skilled birth injury lawyer, parents can navigate the legal complexities, gather evidence, and build a strong case to pursue the compensation their child deserves.
If your child suffered a birth injury in Colorado, contact the experienced birth injury attorney Laura Brown at Brown Trial Firm. Laura has years of experience in birth injury law, helping families like yours all across the U.S. get the compensation they deserve.
Contact her today for a free consultation of your case.
Baby Brain Damage
Oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery resulted in brain injury and cerebral palsy. We secured a successful recovery for our client and our fee was paid out of the gross settlement amount, meaning the client was able to secure our legal assistance without paying out-of-pocket.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Stats of the states – infant mortality. Cdc.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/infant_mortality_rates/infant_mortality.htm
Colorado. (2020, May 19). Www.cdc.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/states/colorado/co.htm
Ely, D., & Driscoll, A. (2022). Infant Mortality in the United States, 2020: Data From the Period Linked Birth/Infant Death File. National Vital Statistics Reports, 71(5). https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr71/nvsr71-05.pdf