Most labor and deliveries go smoothly in this country. However, there are times when issues or incidents cause birth trauma and injuries for infants. Although there are birth injuries that are considered minor and will heal fairly quickly, there are cases where the trauma results in long-term or permanent injuries and medical issues.
Our birth injury attorneys advocate for children and parents when those birth injuries are a result of negligence on the part of medical professionals and could have been prevented. Far too many cases our legal team has handled were the result of a medical professional failure to recognize and address fetal distress before it was too late. Some of the more common types of birth injuries include:
Intracranial Hemorrhage: An infant’s skull is extremely fragile and if special care is not used by the doctor and other professionals, bleeding can occur in the infant’s skull. This is referred to as intracranial hemorrhage. There are different types of hemorrhage a newborn can suffer:
- Cephalohematoma: When the bleeding occurs between the skull and the skin. This often causes a bump to form on the infant’s head, which usually goes away within a few months.
- Cerebral: When bleeding occurs inside the brain
- Intraventricular: When the bleeding begins in the brain’s ventricular system. This is where spinal fluid is produced. This is considered the most severe type of intracranial hemorrhage
- Subconjunctival: This occurs when the blood vessels in the infant’s eyes break. Signs of this injury include bright red bands around the irises. These bands usually disappear within a few days and do not cause permanent damage.
Birth Asphyxia: This is also referred to as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. When there is a lack of oxygen or blood flow during delivery, the infant can suffer from life-long physical and mental impairments. These impairments can range from mild to severe.
Bell’s Palsy: An infant can develop Bell’s palsy when their facial nerve is injured during the birthing process, leaving the face muscles on one side of the face unable to move. Bell’s palsy is often a result of the doctor using too much force or pressure when using forceps to help with the delivery. If the nerves are just bruised, they may heal on their own. If it is torn, the baby will likely need surgery to repair the damage.
Erb’s Palsy: The brachial plexus is the group of nerves which control the arms and hands. When the brachial plexus is damaged during delivery, the baby is not able to flex or rotate their arms. Whether or not Erb’s palsy is permanent or not depends on the extent of damage to the nerves. If they are torn, the injury may be permanent.
Bruising and Fractures: The most common types of birth injuries are fractures. Large infants and those delivery breech (feet first) are more at risk of birth fractures. Bruising can also occur from the stress of going through the birthing process, often from the doctor not properly using forceps.
Spinal Cord Injuries: If a doctor pulls, overstretches, or rotates the infant the wrong way during delivery, the infant can suffer injuries to the spinal cord, resulting in permanent health problems.
Contact a Birth Injury Attorney Today
If your baby suffered birth trauma and you suspect negligent medical care was the cause, contact a birth injury attorney, like a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer, today. We will schedule a free case evaluation and determine what kind of financial compensation your family may be entitled to.
Thanks to Wieand Law Firm for insight into birth injury and cerebral palsy cases.