Injury at birth is a difficult matter to accept, especially since the birth of a child is supposed to be a time of unbridled joy and excitement. Yet, every year, many newborns come into this world with birth defects and birth injuries, some of which are the result of injuries caused by negligence of medical professionals.
The medical personnel that are charged with 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, causing an injury to the baby, they can be held liable for their professional negligence.
Common Injury at Birth:Some of the more common birth injuries caused by negligence include:
- Caput Succedaneum – Severe swelling of soft tissues of the baby’s scalp. Caput succedaneum occurs as the baby passes through the birth canal. This condition usually goes away within a few days. It is more likely to occur in babies delivered using vacuum extraction.
- Cephalohematoma – Cephalohematoma looks like a bump on the head, but it is actually a symptom of bleeding beneath the cranial bones. This type of injury at birth eventually subsides as the infant’s body reabsorbs the blood, a process that usually takes around two weeks to three months. However, the worst cases of cephalohematoma can lead to jaundice.
- Cerebral palsy – This is a neurological disorder that appears during infancy or early childhood and affects coordination and movement. Cerebral palsy is not caused by the muscles or nerves, but rather by damage to portions of the brain that control them.
- Bruising – Bruising occurs due to trauma associated with travelling through the birth canal, when the baby comes into contact with the mother’s pelvic bones. Forceps can also cause bruising, as can vacuum extraction.
- Subconjunctival Hemorrhage – Bursting of blood vessels in the eye. Subconjunctival hemorrhage does not normally harm the eye and is usually absorbed in a week to ten days.
- Facial Paralysis -The facial nerve can be injured by pressure on the face. These injuries can range in severity. If only bruising occurs, the nerve usually heals within a few weeks. If the facial nerve is torn, surgery may be required.
- Brachial Palsy – Babies with brachial palsy lose the ability to move their arms. Specifically, this occurs when the nerves (the brachial plexus) that serve the arms and hands is injured. This injury at birth is often associated with shoulder dystocia, or difficulty delivering the shoulder. Although symptoms usually subside within six months, some cases require surgery to repair nerve damage.
- Spinal Cord Injury – Damage to the spinal cord often results in stillbirth or babies who die soon after delivery due to an inability to breathe.
- Fractures – Fracture of the collarbone is the most common fracture-related birth injury. Fractures that occur as part of the birthing process typically heal quickly.
It can be very difficult for parents to deal with birth injuries or traumas. On top of that, trying to determine whether they had a negligent medical care provider is very stressful. One way parents can receive help is to speak to a medical malpractice attorney.
Abels & Annes, P.C. is committed to the legal rights of your injured child; we will fight for your child’s proper treatment and the compensation you deserve. We know how frustrating and confusing the claims process can be. Our personal injury lawyers are experienced in handling birth injury cases and have served a number of medical negligence victims.
If you believe your baby has suffered an injury at birth caused by negligence of a doctor, hospital or other healthcare provider in the Chicago, IL area, request a Free Case Consultation or call (312) 924-7575 to speak with a lawyer now.