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What Are Some Common Birth Injuries?

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What Are Some Common Birth Injuries?

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According to the Birth Injury Guide, approximately 1 in every 9,714 people in the United States are born with a birth injury. It is thought that nearly 50% of all birth injuries are potentially avoidable by identification and planning for obstetrical risk factors, indicating that 50% of all birth injuries occur due to medical malpractice.

One of the most common types of medical malpractice occurs in the form of birth injuries. Medical malpractice is a common cause of injury around the world and in the United States, especially to women and infants during the birth process, resulting in a myriad of lasting injuries and even wrongful death for the mother and child. Medical malpractice occurs when the exercise of medical judgment is done negligently, causing injury or damage to a patient; this includes failing to provide a reasonable degree of skill and care to a patient, referred to as the standard of care.

Any number of individuals could be responsible for medical malpractice in the form of a birth injury depending on the circumstances surrounding the birth. Medical malpractice can be perpetrated by any type of healthcare professional; including doctors, surgeons, nurses, and more. Due to the number and variety of medical professionals involved in any one procedure, including birth, multiple parties could be at fault.

Some of the most common birth injuries include:

  • Brachial Plexus Palsy (Erb’s Palsy)
  • Bone fractures
  • Cephalohematoma
  • Caput succedaneum
  • Perinatal asphyxia
  • Intracranial hemorrhage
  • Subconjunctival hemorrhage
  • Facial paralysis
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Cerebral palsy

Unfortunately, healthcare providers are unlikely to inform you when medical malpractice has occurred.

The following are some signs that could indicate medical malpractice occurred during the birth process:

  • If you or your baby’s post-birth symptoms are severely unaligned with standard post-birth symptoms
  • Your child is struggling to meet developmental milestones
  • Your child is exhibiting difficulty controlling their limbs, sitting upright, etc.
  • Your doctor refuses to release medical records from the birth to you.
  • Your doctor refuses to discuss or release the fetal monitoring strips to you.
  • Your medical team is unwilling to discuss the details of the birth with you.
  • Your doctor/medical team is uncooperative/uncommunicative after the birth.

While every medical procedure, including birth, comes with inherent risk, many of these risks can be reduced or avoided altogether by proper medical attention. After a birth injury, it can be hard to know if an injury occurred out of an unavoidable outcome of the birth or from a mistake made by medical professionals involved. Being aware of signs which could indicate a healthcare professional is trying to cover up evidence of wrongdoing is important for determining if medical malpractice occurred.

Unfortunately, many birth injuries occur due to a lack of attention or dismissal of the information contained on fetal monitoring strips, which are responsible for recording the monitoring of the baby’s heart rate before and during birth. These are gathered using the sensor held against a pregnant woman’s abdomen with an elastic belt, and can indicate whether a baby is under unnecessary stress during the birthing process, which could indicate it is time to perform a C-Section rather than risk the health of the mother and baby.

If you or your baby have suffered a birth injury, it’s important to seek legal counsel and find out what your rights are.

Despite the ever-present health risks involved in childbirth, many injuries to the mother and child are fully avoidable with competent medical care. If you suspect you or your baby sustained an injury in childbirth as a result of medical malpractice, seek legal counsel to find out what your rights are and how to take action. Birth injuries are serious and scary events, and no parent should struggle to figure out how to handle the aftermath on their own.

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