What Are Birth Injuries?

Unfortunately, even in an otherwise healthy pregnancy, mistakes on the part of a doctor or nursing staff can result in serious birth injuries.

Pregnancy is a time of hopeful anticipation as you eagerly await the arrival of your little one. While it is natural for expectant parents to worry about the upcoming delivery and whether their baby will be born healthy, you rely on your doctors, nurses, and other support staff to take the necessary precautions. Unfortunately, birth injuries can occur in even otherwise healthy pregnancies and can have long-ranging impacts on your family.

How Birth Injuries Happen

Birth injuries typically happen due to errors on behalf of the medical professionals during the labor and delivery process. In some cases, the injuries your infant suffers as a result may be temporary and may improve over a period of months or even years. In more severe cases, birth injuries can result in serious, permanent injury that cause lasting disabilities, which may follow your child for the rest of his or her life. Among the most common causes of birth injuries are:

  • Communication errors between you, your doctor, and other medical staff;
  • Lack of proper monitoring during the pregnancy or during labor and delivery;
  • Failure to properly diagnose conditions that could impact the health and safety of the mother or infant;
  • Failure to provide the proper interventions during a difficult delivery;
  • Unnecessary use of tools that increase the risk of birth injuries, such as forceps and vacuum extraction;
  • Falls or drops of the newborn; and
  • A lack of oxygen during the delivery process, caused by conditions which were overlooked or inadequately assessed.

While the mistakes and errors result in birth injuries typically are unintentional, medical providers can be held responsible for their actions when they occur.

Common Types of Birth Injuries

When actions taken over the course of your pregnancy or during labor and delivery result in birth injuries, the damages your baby suffers can be severe. According to Merck Manuals, the following are among the most common types of birth injuries:

  • Head injuries, which can result in skull fractures and internal bleeding;
  • Brain injuries, which can result in seizures, increased risk of sleep apnea, and long-term disabilities, including cerebral palsy;
  • Nerve injuries, which can affect the face, arms, hands, or legs;
  • Bone injuries, such as dislocated shoulders or breaks in the collarbone, arms or legs;
  • Perinatal asphyxia, which results in decreased oxygen and blood flow, as well as brain damage;
  • Spinal cord injuries, which can cause partial or complete paralysis.

Holding Medical Providers Accountable for Birth Injuries

Birth injuries impact your child and other family members. They can cause long-term developmental delays that require additional care and support. They also can result in exorbitant medical costs for future medical and nursing care and specialized equipment. Doctors, hospital staff, and others responsible for birth injuries can be held accountable for your family’s pain and suffering, as well as for the financial damages you incur. Consult with an experienced birth injury attorney to discuss your options for filing a claim.  

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