Birth Injury

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While expectant parents generally imagine a birth process that is free from problems, there are many different types of birth injuries that can occur during delivery or immediately before or after. Many of these injuries are unavoidable. For instance, if a mother's birth canal is too small, or if the baby is large and does not fit through the mother's pelvis, injury to the child can occur. Likewise, if the baby is in a breech position, which means that the baby's buttocks will be delivered first, a birth injury can occur.

With medical knowledge and technology being what it is today, serious birth injuries have been greatly reduced among births in developed countries. However, birth injuries still occur from time to time. While there are instances of birth injury at are unavoidable, there are also occasions when an injury is sustained due to a mistake or error that was made by the doctor or other hospital staff.

Injuries to the head are common birthing injuries. This is due in part to the fact that the bones of the skull in a newborn are not yet fused together and can move relative to one another, as well as the fact that the head is the first thing that goes through the mother's birth canal. This means that the baby's head experiences considerable pressure during labor. Most babies experience some swelling and even bruising of their head from passing through the birth canal, or as a result of forceps or a vacuum being used to aid the delivery. The bruising typically does not result in long-term problems and will disappear in a matter of days or weeks following birth. However, sometimes serious injury and long-term disabilities can result from head injury, such as cerebral palsy (a series of neurological disorders affecting movement, motion, and posture).

Injuries to a baby's nerves are also common birth injuries. Many nerve injuries that an infant sustains are healed within a matter of weeks or months. Nerve injuries may occur as a result of the use of forceps during delivery. In addition, sometimes during delivery, a situation known as shoulder dystocia occurs. This is when the baby's shoulders will not fit through the birth canal. The doctor has to work carefully to get the baby out without cutting off oxygen to the child. However, in the meantime the nerves that control the arms and the hands of the child may be pinched. This may result in temporary damage, and the child may lose the ability to move one arm. This condition usually goes away, but occasionally the problem stems from a tearing of the nerve which can result in permanent paralysis.

Brian injuries from asphyxia, a lack of oxygen to the brain, are another type of birth injury. When the brain does not receive enough oxygen during birth, the brain can stop functioning properly. As a result, the child can be born with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, or other disabilities. Such injuries may lead to a lifetime of medical treatment and special therapies.

The good news about birth injuries is that most are not serious and heal on their own. In fact, many parents do not even know that some of the less obvious birth injuries have occurred. However, there are occasions when an injury may result in long-term health issues or disabilities. When a birth injury results in long-term consequences, many parents turn to birth injury lawyers to help them determine if the doctors involved in the delivery were at fault.

If your child suffered a birth injury and it may be the result of a mistake or medical negligence, it is important to speak with a medical malpractice attorney in your state. Proving a birth injury/medical malpractice case is often challenging, as attorneys must prove that there was a breach of the standard of care, an injury, causation, and damages. An attorney who is knowledgeable about medical malpractice law and birth injuries will guide you through the steps you need to take to make a claim. In the event that you have a viable claim, a lawyer will help you seek compensation for medical expenses, as well as justice and peace of mind.


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