What to do if your child suffers a traumatic birth injury
There is a very strong distinction between a birth defect and a birth injury. A birth defect or congenital disorder is caused by developmental abnormalities in the fetus, and occurs while the child is growing in the womb. Birth injuries, on the other hand, occur when an otherwise healthy baby suffers physical trauma while being born.
Some cases of childbirth injury are the result of errors by obstetricians, nurses and midwives. A traumatic birth injury can cause long-term damage that the child will have to live with for the duration of his or her life. In severe cases, birth injuries result in drastically reduced life expectancies and even death.
If your otherwise-healthy child suffered a traumatic birth injury when he or she was delivered, you may be entitled to seek damages under birth injury law.
Common Birth Injuries
While birth injuries are rare, the most frequently occurring types include:
- Anoxic encephalopathy. This condition can cause brain damage and is caused by a failure to receive glucose as well as oxygen. Symptoms vary in type and severity, but can include weakness in the limbs, vision problems, behavioral abnormalities and an overall lack of physical coordination.
- Brachial plexus injury. Also known as Erb's palsy, this birth injury is the result of damage to the nerves that connect the infant's spinal cord to his or her shoulder, arm and hand muscles.
- Brain trauma. Various types of brain injury can occur during birth, and they're frequently the result of medical error.
- Cerebral palsy. While cerebral palsy is usually a congenital defect, it can also be caused by a lack of oxygen during birth. This can, in some cases, be the result of negligence.
- Caesarian section injury. If a doctor fails or refuses to perform a C-section during a complicated delivery and birth injuries are the result, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
- Shoulder dystocia. If your baby's shoulders get stuck in the birth canal during delivery, it is a medical emergency and immediate steps must be taken to prevent injury.
- Uterine rupture. During a C-section, medical staff may note that there are weak areas on the surface of the mother's uterus. If a rupture occurs, serious injury can be caused to both mother and child.
Get Legal Help for a Traumatic Birth Injury
You need to discuss your situation with a seasoned attorney to determine whether or not you have grounds for a birth injury lawsuit. Medical malpractice cases can be very complex, but you may be entitled to financial restitution if significant birth injuries have affected your baby's quality of life.