What is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury can involve any type of harm to a baby during or immediately after birth. Birth injuries may arise from many actions or inaction, including but limited to: inappropriate or excessive use of pressure or force on a baby’s head or body (birth trauma), improper delivery techniques / failure to offer a C-section where indicated resulting in preventable and permanent nerve injury (shoulder dystocia, erb’s palsy, brachial plexus palsy), oxygen deprivation (birth asphyxia, hypoxia, cerebral palsy), or the failure to prevent contraction of a dangerous infection (Group B Strep). Unfortunately, the impact of birth injuries is variable and widespread, and can result in death or permanent disability that warrants life-long care. The physical, emotional, and financial hardships endured by the parents, siblings, grandparents, and other loved ones of a baby injured at birth can be overwhelming and devastating. When medical professionals fail to follow established standards of care while they are delivering a baby, they may cause a preventable birth injury, which might be considered medical malpractice that warrants a lawsuit or the initiation of some type of legal action.
What are Causes of Birth Injuries?
Obstetrical care providers have a responsibility to anticipate potential problems that are reasonably foreseeable under the circumstances, and where indicated, to intervene during labor and delivery in a timely manner so as to prevent harm. Negligence, which is the failure to act in accordance with the standard of care, is at the heart of birth injury. Common causes of birth injury and birth trauma include:
- Miscalculation of the size of the fetus
- Pre- or post-mature delivery due to improper dating
- Infections and medical problems in the mother
- Infections and medical problems in the fetus
- Rh incompatibility
- Administration of improper medications during pregnancy and/or delivery
- Failure to monitor fetus and respond to fetal distress
- Abnormal presentation, including shoulder dystocia
- Failure to perform a timely c-section
- Improper use of delivery instruments
- Failure to give oxygen to newborns when needed (hypoxia birth injury)
What are Common Birth Injuries?
Injuries to a baby during a difficult labor and delivery can involve the brain or other parts of the body. The consequences range from mild to severe and may be temporary or permanent. Some birth injuries may even result in death. Common preventable birth injuries include:
- Brain injury (including Cerebral Palsy)
- Brachial plexus injuries (including Erb’s Palsy)
- Untreated jaundice can cause Kernicterus
- Meconium aspiration
- Excessive bleeding
- Bleeding beneath the scalp
- Bleeding inside the skull
- Bruising from forceps
- Skull fractures
- Clavicle fractures
- Cranial nerve trauma
- Spinal cord damage
- Facial paralysis
- Skin irritation
- Soft tissue injuries
Learn more about frequently asked questions related to Birth Injury.
What Legal Action Can You Take for Birth Injury Malpractice?
If you suspect that your child may have suffered a birth injury or birth trauma, get medical attention for your child right away. Timely and proper treatment will increase the odds that your child will live with as little damage as possible under the circumstances.
Many children will nevertheless require a lifetime of costly medical care. Many will have to be followed by numerous pediatric specialists and will need ongoing physical and occupational therapy. Sometimes, at-home care is too much for caring parents to provide and placement in a specialized institution is the only realistic option.
Your child should be able to benefit from the most advanced treatment available to increase his or her quality of life. There is often a big difference between the ideal, most advanced treatment and the treatment and services covered by private medical insurance and programs like Medicaid. If your child has suffered a preventable birth injury, the compensation you could receive from a birth injury lawsuit might be the only way to provide the services and care your child needs to maximize his or her recovery.
Birth injury attorneys Michael L. Weiss, Esq. and Robert E. Paarz, Esq. have presented over 65 birth injury cases and assisted many families in birth injury lawsuit settlements to lessen or eliminate the financial burden caused by birth injuries.
If you believe your child may have experienced such an injury, please contact our medical malpractice birth injury attorneys Weiss & Paarz, P.C., today.
More Information on Birth Injury and Medical Malpractice
*The firm handles cases in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. For cases outside those states, Weiss & Paarz works with local attorneys in the state where the medical care took place, at no additional cost to the client.