Problems at birth can be incredibly distressing, especially since the birth of your child is one of the most important life events you’ll experience. It is a time of joy and excitement. Yet, every year, many newborns come into this world with birth defects. Some of these birth defects, unfortunately, are the result of injuries caused by the negligence by a doctor, a hospital, and its staff.
Birth injuries during the labor and delivery of a baby are devastating to a family and most injuries involving the brain are irreversible. Some of the most extreme examples of these are paralysis, learning disorders, and speech disorders. Not only will a child have to live with the consequences of a negligently inflicted birth injury, a family will also have to learn to adjust to the needs of the child. Additionally, the lifelong care required by an injured newborn can be incredibly expensive.
The following is a more comprehensive list of potential problems at birth that could occur during labor and delivery of a baby:
- Cerebral palsy is a chronic disorder caused by trauma to the brain during problems at birth and has symptoms which include the loss of movement or other nerve functions. The condition’s severity is determined by the type of damage done to the brain and does not worsen or improve with time. Cerebral Palsy can be caused by a number of medical errors, such as improper use of forceps or leaving the baby in the birth canal for too long.
- A subconjunctival hemorrhage is the breakage of small blood vessels in the eyes of a baby. This may cause one or both of the eyes to have a bright red band around the iris. This is very common and does not cause damage to the eyes; any redness is usually absorbed in a week to 10 days.
- Facial Paralysis – during labor and delivery of a baby, pressure on a baby’s face may lead to an injury of the facial nerve. Forceps can cause this injury as well, and the effects are often seen when the baby cries. What you will notice during facial paralysis is a lack of movement on the side of the face with the injury, and the baby’s inability to close their eye. The paralysis usually improves in a few weeks if the nerve was only bruised, but if the nerve was torn, surgery may be necessary.
- Another problem at birth is Caput Succedaneum, which is a severe swelling or bruising of the soft tissues of the baby’s scalp. This issue develops as the baby travels through the birth canal. The swelling is usually gone in a few days without problems. Vacuum extraction during delivery is a common trigger for this problem.
- A fracture of the collar bone or clavicle is the most common fracture during labor and delivery of a baby. The clavicle may break when there is difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder or during a breech delivery. If the baby rarely moves the arm on the side of the break they might have a fractured clavicle . Healing occurs quickly, fortunately. Parents should let the fracture heal before laying the infant on the affected side.
The medical personnel that are responsible for ensuring that your baby is born safely are expected to provide a standard of care called for by their profession. When a doctor or other health care provider deviates from this reasonable standard of care during labor and delivery of a baby, causing problems at birth, they can be held liable for their professional negligence.
For example, prior to delivery, a doctor performs an ultrasound of a baby which shows that the baby’s umbilical cord was wrapped around its neck, cutting off the flow of oxygen to the baby’s brain. If the doctor fails to take any immediate action to unwrap the cord, and if the baby suffers brain damage or even death, the doctor can be held responsible for any resulting problems.
We at Abels & Annes, P.C. know how frustrating and confusing the claims process can be. Our attorneys have handled birth injury cases and have served a number of medical negligence victims in the Chicago area. If your child has suffered from a birth related injury, request a Free Case Consultation today.