All medical malpractice injuries are devastating, but birth injuries are particularly difficult because they are usually unexpected and occur at a time when new families should be rejoicing and cuddling their newborns instead of dealing with the painful effects of injuries.
Birth injuries can occur to both mother and baby though the injuries most commonly affect the newborn. Some of the most common injuries include:
Brachial Plexus Injuries (BPI)
This type of birth injury involves damage to the bundle of nerves that originates from the upper spine and goes through the neck, shoulder, arm, and hand. Damage to these nerves can range anywhere from mild and temporary to severe and permanent (approximately 10% of cases result in permanent disability). The mildest form of brachial plexus injury is neuropraxia, which involves the stretching of the nerve. More severe is neuroma, where the nerve is torn and does not heal properly. Rupture involves the tearing of the nerves, yet they remain attached to the spine. The most severe presentation of brachial plexus injury is avulsion, where the nerve roots are completely dislodged from the spine, creating complete paralysis.
A complicated or difficult delivery is usually the cause of broken bones in newborns, especially a fractured clavicle (collar bone). Depending on the severity of the fracture, immobilization might treat the break. Otherwise, it will heal on its own.
A cephalohematoma is a collection of blood below the covering of a portion of the skull bone. These pose no danger to the newborn and clear up on their own.
This injury presents as a swelling of the scalp and a portion of the scalp could appear bruised or discolored. Caput Succedaneum is usually caused by excessive pressure during delivery.
Perinatal Asphyxia occurs when the newborn does not receive sufficient amounts of oxygen, usually when there is an oxygen deficiency in the blood or if there is insufficient blood flow to the fetus or newborn. This condition can cause labored breathing, pale complexion, seizures, coma, or even shock. This could completely clear up or it could cause permanent neurologic damage.
Intracranial Hemorrhage/Subarachnoid Hemorrhage
This injury includes bleeding in the skull, commonly under the two innermost layers of the brain covering (subarachnoid hemorrhage).
Spinal Cord Injuries
These injuries are often more severe than most birth injuries and are possibly due to traumatic nerve/cord damage or meningeal tear or the use of forceps. This can cause paralysis and neurologic problems.
Approximately two or three in 1,000 children have cerebral palsy. It is characterized by muscle spasms, weak muscles, and lack of development with motor skills. Despite wonderful breakthroughs in medicine, there is no cure for cerebral palsy.
Many women who suffer from birth injuries are not able to participate in the activities they previously enjoyed. Some are no longer able to work as a result of the pain or immobility. And still others are not able to do simple daily tasks around the house or even take care of their newborn.
Injuries to babies can be particularly life-altering and can have repercussions on the baby and entire family for many years. The lifetime cost of medical care for a seriously injured newborn may exceed $1 million. Additional expenses and the loss of income and benefits can greatly increase this cost.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an injury caused by medical negligence, or if you have question regarding medical malpractice while under the treatment of a medical professional, it is best to seek legal counsel. A brief phone conversation will help you determine whether you have a case and even give an estimate of the potential settlement you may be entitled to receive. A birth injury lawsuit is not about punishment or greed. It is about providing your child with the specialized medical treatment and services that will be necessary throughout his or her life.
If you or someone you know is a victim of a misdiagnosis, it makes sense to seek help from our team of attorneys. A brief phone conversation will help you determine whether you have a case and can offer an estimate of the potential settlement amount you may be entitled to receive. Call today to get the compensation you deserve!