Common Birth Injuries to Babies
Over the past 100 years, pregnancy has become incredibly safe. Nevertheless, injuries and sometimes death still occur, often because of a mistake a doctor made during labor or delivery. If you suspect that a medical mistake was made at the time of your child’s birth, you should consult with an attorney to check whether you can bring a legal claim.
Brachial Plexus Injury
Also called Erb’s palsy, brachial plexus injury involves damage to a bundle of nerves that run from the spinal cord through the shoulder and arm down to the hand. Improper delivery can damage these nerves. Nerve damage can be temporary and mild, but sometimes it is permanent.
Babies with cerebral palsy have trouble with muscle coordination and movement. Other problems include difficulty with hearing, speech, and vision, as well as impaired learning. Cerebral palsy is frequently caused by brain damage during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Around a half-million children in the United States currently have cerebral palsy.
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
Because of trauma during delivery, a baby can become deprived of oxygen. When that happens for too long, brain cells become damaged and may begin to die. If the oxygen deprivation lasts long enough, then the baby can die. Children who survive can grow up cognitively impaired and have difficulty learning as well as taking care of themselves as adults. Between two and three out of every 1,000 full-term births will have HIE.
Any pressure put on the baby’s face during labor or delivery can cause nerve damage. Sometimes, improper handling of forceps is the cause. Although minor nerve damage can heal in a few weeks, severe nerve damage might require surgery.
A baby’s bones are softer than those of adult or even children, so babies are at greater risk of broken bones during delivery. Bones get broken in a variety of situations, such as when the baby gets stuck behind the pelvic bone, or when the baby is in breach position. Other causes include an overaggressive delivery or misuse of forceps. Broken bones can cause the baby intense pain. However, they should heal if set properly.
Suing for Medical Negligence
If a medical mistake contributed to your child’s injuries, then you might have a valid lawsuit for medical negligence. In North Carolina, doctors must use the care other doctors with similar experience and training would use in similar circumstances.
Common mistakes include:
- Improper use of forceps or other devices during delivery
- Failure to order a cesarean section where necessary
- Failure to diagnose fetal distress and to respond appropriately
- Improper inducement of labor
- Failure to identify entrapment by the umbilical cord
Furthermore, medical staff can make mistakes after delivery, such as not keeping your child sufficiently warm or not treating an infection.
Speak with a Medical Negligence Lawyer in Wilmington, North Carolina
Delivery is supposed to be a wonderful time for parents and their newborns to bond. However, medical errors during labor and delivery can cause devastating injuries. If you are searching for answers about what caused your baby’s injuries, contact an attorney today.
At Hodges Coxe Potter & Phillips, our lawyers will meet to discuss your concerns and analyze whether you have a claim. Reach out to us today.