Not all birth injuries are the results of medical negligence, but many are avoidable with a few diligent delivery practices. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birth injuries are among the most common forms of medical malpractice. If a nurse, doctor or another health-care worker injured your infant, then a birth injury lawyer may be able to help you pursue compensation for medical costs and other damages.
Birth injuries can have lifelong consequences that require years of medical care. If your child was the victim of a physician’s negligence, then a Miami birth injury attorney from the Law Offices of Needle & Ellenberg, PA can determine if you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Call us today at 305-290-1736 to schedule a free case evaluation.
In the meantime, read on to learn six birth injuries that are common in Florida:
1. Brain Injuries
Brain injuries are usually the results of oxygen deprivation during birth, which can lead to a variety of devastating conditions. A brain injury is just one of them, and if the organ receives insufficient oxygen for too long, the infant may suffer cerebral palsy, chronic seizures or other medical disorders.
If delivery personnel fail to monitor infants properly during delivery and immediately after, they will not notice serious problems that can restrict oxygen to the child, such as an umbilical cord prolapse. Often, babies remain in the birth canal for extended periods and therefore cannot get enough oxygen. Physical disabilities are possible side effects, as are intellectual limitations.
2. Brachial Plexus Injuries
A group of nerves, the brachial plexus allows movement of the arms and hands. If there is an injury to this nerve cluster, the infant may develop Erb’s palsy or Klumpke’s palsy. This birth injury usually occurs among large infants whose shoulders become stuck behind the pelvic bone during delivery.
However, there are appropriate birthing techniques to deliver babies with shoulder dystocia safely. If the nurse, midwife or doctor pulls the baby too hard or from the wrong angle, then there is a high possibility of damaging the brachial plexus and causing serious disabilities to the child.
Cephalohematoma is not a serious birth injury, and it usually heals within three months. However, it often causes other health complications during the healing process, such as hypotension, meningitis, jaundice and anemia.
The condition is usually the result of using birth-assisting tools too forcefully. It causes bleeding underneath the cranium. One common symptom is a raised bump on the child’s head that appears several hours after birth.
4. Caput Succedaneum
Caput succedaneum is possibly the most horrifying birth injury for parents to witness. Fortunately, it heals within a few days, but severe cases can cause brain injuries.
When medical practitioners use a vacuum extraction tool incorrectly to get babies out of the birth canal, they often damage the soft tissues of the scalp. This causes severe swelling. The head appears balloon-like.
5. Broken Bones
In order to survive the birthing process, infants have extremely pliable and soft bones. These are easy to break and fractures are very common, especially clavicle fractures among babies in the breech position.
If practitioners pull too hard on the clavicle or shoulders during a difficult delivery, the result is usually a fracture. The child will not be able to move the arm until it heals, which usually takes two weeks.
6. Facial Paralysis
It is normal for an infant’s face to compress within the birth canal. However, when physicians use forceps or vacuum extraction tools with too much force to deliver the baby, it can put extra pressure on the face and cause short-lived paralysis.
In serious cases, the paralysis can be permanent. The baby will be unable to move one side of his or her face. He or she may also have difficulty closing one eye.
Most birth injuries eventually heal, but there are those that can cause lifelong debilitation for the child. Parents suffer extreme emotional and mental trauma worrying about their baby, and they also face exorbitant medical bills to treat the injury.
A birth injury lawyer can fight for financial relief on your behalf. Call the Law Offices of Needle & Ellenberg, PA at 305-290-1736 to schedule a consultation.