Giving birth is a natural and (usually) safe process, with your obstetrician and other medical staff on hand to help it along and assist mother and baby in the event of any complications. During the birth process, babies are especially vulnerable, and if a doctor fails to treat, or improperly treats, a complication or condition, it could result in permanent disability or physical issues for the child.
If your child experienced a birth injury, you may be wondering why and how it occurred. You may be wondering if your hospital is telling you the whole truth about what happened. Was your child’s injury simply unavoidable, or did they suffer due to the negligence and malpractice of a doctor or medical staff?
What causes a birth injury?
If complications occur during labor and delivery, a newborn may be at risk for injures that can range from mild to severe. The most common types of birth injuries involve the nerves in the neck and shoulders. For example, if a doctor applies too much force to a baby’s arm or neck during a difficult delivery, the nerves in the spine or brachial plexus could be damaged. The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that control the muscles in the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand. An injury to the brachial plexus can result in conditions like Erb’s palsy or Klumpke’s palsy. These conditions cause loss of feeling, dexterity, and sometimes paralysis in the injured arm.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, brachial plexus injuries happen in about one to two babies for every 1,000 live births. If nerve damage affects other parts of the body, it can result in numbness, weakness, and paralysis elsewhere, including the face. These conditions can be reversible, but with severe damage, side effects from Erb’s and Klumpke’s palsy can end up being permanent.
Other complications during labor and delivery might deprive a baby of oxygen, which can quickly lead to brain damage. Loss of blood flow, and therefore oxygen, to the brain can lead to permanent damage, as well as other disorders like cerebral palsy. Conditions like these can be severe and require a lifetime of medical care and financial stress.
Who is accountable?
Children with severe birth injuries may face a lifetime of challenges. As the parent of an injured child, you want to give your child the very best quality of life, even with a never-ending stream of medical bills. If your child’s injuries happened because of a medical professional’s negligence, you need to hold them accountable. If your child suffered harm due to a preventable mistake, we want to help you ensure your child will always have the resources and care they’ll need.
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