Going through labor is difficult and sometimes results in injury. Seven out of 1,000 pregnant women in the United States experience complications with pregnancy and childbirth, according to Blue Cross Blue Shield. While these complications can occur naturally, medical malpractice or negligence can be a contributing factor in certain situations. This occurs when medical professionals fail to adhere to the standards of medical care.
Possible Causes of Birth Injuries and Defects
Medical malpractice or negligence can arise in many different ways, such as:
- Interpreting ultrasounds incorrectly
- Improperly caring for a newborn after delivery
- Improper use of delivery instruments like forceps or vacuum
- Medication errors
- Delaying or failing to recommend a C-section for a high-risk delivery
- Failing to recognize and treat the signs of fetal distress
- Failing to properly diagnose or treat an infection
Four of the most common pregnancy injuries due to medical malpractice are:
1. Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is one of the most common birth injuries. It is a group of disorders that affects the brain’s control over the muscles and nervous system, impacting speech, hearing, and intellectual ability. Cerebral palsy can develop due to premature birth, inadequate oxygen to the brain, and infection during pregnancy.
2. Brain Injury
If a doctor fails to properly monitor the vital signs of the mother or infant, the child can suffer from a brain injury. This can affect their physical and mental development. Bleeding and lack of oxygen are two common results of a brain injury.
Sustaining a brain injury can cause bleeding in different areas throughout the body. This includes the brain, the area where spinal fluid is produced, between the arachnoid membrane and the brain cover, and between the skull and skull cover.
Lack of Oxygen
A lack of oxygen flow to a fetus’ brain is referred to as perinatal asphyxia. Depending on the amount of time the brain was deprived of oxygen, the child can experience shock, labored breathing, seizures, coma, or even death.
3. Nerve Damage
Nerve damage in a newborn can be a result of improper rotating, pulling, or stretching during birth. Failure to diagnose spine damages before birth can also result in these injuries.
Damage to the peripheral nerve can inhibit arm and hand movement. This injury can improve over time unless the nerve was torn during the birthing process.
A damaged cranial nerve or spinal cord can cause facial paralysis, as well as paralysis in other areas of the body.
4. Bone Fractures
If performed incorrectly, some extraction methods can cause a newborn’s skull or other bones to fracture or break while they are traveling through the birth canal. Difficult or prolonged labor is also a contributing factor.
Cephalohematoma occurs when blood collects between a newborn’s scalp and skull. This condition is often related to vacuum extraction.
Caput Succedaneum is swelling of the soft tissue on an infant’s scalp. It is usually caused by a head-first delivery or a birth procedure involving vacuum extraction.
Your Birth Malpractice Injury Lawyers
If you or your child have been injured due to the negligence of a healthcare provider, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer. At Grabb & Durando, our attorneys will fight for your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve.