Although the birth of a child is expected to be a joyful, momentous occasion, a birth injury can turn a happy experience into one far more devastating. Any harm that occurs to a baby during or near its birth is categorized as a birth injury. Birth injuries can be minor, or they can cause life-altering complications, permanent disabilities, and even death.
One of the most alarming aspects of birth injuries is their preventability. In fact, up to 50 percent of birth injuries are caused simply by the failure of trusted health professionals. When a physician neglects to properly follow the standards of care, effectively monitor mother and child, or quickly address potential issues at all stages of pregnancy and delivery, the risk of birth injury rises dramatically. In cases in which a health professional’s lack of action (or improper care) has caused a birth injury, they are guilty of medical malpractice.
What are the Most Common Types of Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries run the gamut from small, easily resolvable issues to those that will require lifelong treatment and specialized care. Regardless of the perceived severity of your child’s birth injury, you have the right to pursue legal action.
According to the Stanford Children's Health, the 6 most common birth injuries include:
- Swelling or bruising of the head
- Bleeding underneath one of the cranial bones.
- Breakage of small blood vessels in the eyes of a baby
- Facial nerve injury caused by pressure on the baby's face
- Injury to the group of nerves that supplies the arms and hands
- Fracture of the clavicle or collarbone
What are the Causes of Birth Injuries?
There are many different things that can cause a birth injury, including factors that come into play during a mother’s pregnancy, before and during delivery, and after the baby’s birth. Although ongoing advancements in medical care have helped to reduce contributing factors to birth injuries, there are still note-worthy issues surrounding the care of mothers and infants.
Among the most common causes of birth injuries are:
If a health care provider fails to prepare an expectant mother for labor and delivery properly, it may set the stage for misaligned expectations for care. Proper communication is critical to ensure that everyone involved is adequately prepared for the process.
Because each state enforces varying regulations for midwives, it is not uncommon for some midwives to be extremely inexperienced or improperly trained.
Fetal heart monitoring is critical before, during, and after delivery, and failure to do so correctly and consistently can lead to missed opportunities to promptly address serious issues.
Failure to manage labor and delivery
According to a recent study, close to half of birth injury liability claims were related to healthcare professionals’ lackluster ability to manage birth and delivery. For example, there are many cases in which vaginal births were pursued despite being the more dangerous route (as opposed to a C-section), resulting in complications for mother and/or child.
How Frequently Do Birth Injuries Happen?
You may be surprised to discover that birth injuries are more common than you’d think, affecting about 7 out of every 1,000 babies born in the United States each year. While that statistic is extremely worrisome, even more, alarming is the fact that a large percentage of birth injuries are completely preventable.
Many different factors can contribute to birth injury, putting certain individuals at higher risk. In some populations, birth injury occurs even more frequently than noted above. Understanding your risk can help you learn more about your specific situation, as well as who may be held responsible.
For example, mothers who live in rural or low-income communities may have limited access to qualified health professionals, which has a direct impact on their child’s risk of being injured during birth. Other factors that may contribute to how often birth injuries occur include:
According to the World Health Organization, “(e)very year, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm”, meaning they are born before the mother has completed her 37th week of pregnancy. These children are at a considerably higher risk of birth injury, especially because important systems (including muscles, the brain, and nervous system) have yet to fully develop.
Unfortunately, genetics can play a role in causing birth injuries, especially those such as cerebral palsy. Although it is extremely difficult to identify children who are predisposed to birth injuries, healthcare professionals must take great care to do everything possible.
If expectant mothers are inadvertently exposed to dangerous chemicals, such as methylmercury, it can increase the risk and frequency of birth injury.
Birth Injury and Medical Malpractice
In many cases, a birth injury can be traced back to medical malpractice and negligence. Estimates state that “for every 1000 babies born in the U.S., five will be injured during birth” – this means that in tens of thousands of cases, a simple error committed by a healthcare professional has a direct effect on the health and safety of the patients in their care.
If your child experienced a birth injury, it could be challenging to pinpoint whether it was caused by medical malpractice. At Palmer Law Group, we can help you determine if you have a birth injury case, and what your next steps should be.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Get if My Child Was Injured During Birth?
Birth injuries can have lifelong effects for both the child and their family, including:
- Medical expenses
- Specialized care
- Loss of quality of life
- Permanent disabilities
If your child was injured during birth, a malpractice suit can help you obtain financial compensation to cover the above, as well as the emotional trauma resulting from the devastating experience.
Trust the Birth Injury Legal Experts at Palmer Law Group
Dealing with a birth injury can be a frightening and traumatic experience, regardless of the severity or long-lasting effects. And unfortunately, the struggle is often just beginning after the incident, especially for families whose lives will be forever changed by a child’s injury during birth.
At Palmer Law Group, we understand that when your child experiences a birth injury, the last thing you’re often thinking about is how to take legal action. For most parents, simply being there for their child and ensuring their safety moving forward is the only thing they can focus on. Luckily, you can entrust your family’s future to the personal injury lawyers on our team, and let us worry about fighting for you in court.
Don’t let the healthcare professionals who are responsible for your child’s health and safety get away with continued negligence and carelessness – instead, turn to Palmer Law Group for help-seeking justice, claiming rightful compensation, and working to prevent other families from experiencing future birth injuries.
Knowing the right steps to take after a devastating birth injury can be extremely difficult, but you and your family don’t have to face it alone. Our compassionate legal team is here to serve as your legal advocates during your time of need, ensuring that you and your child have everything you need to move forward towards a happier future.
For more information about what to do after a birth injury, including your legal rights, schedule a consultation at Palmer Law Group today.
Stanford Children’s Health Birth Injury
World Health Organization Preterm Birth
Find Law Birth Injury
Birth Injury Justice Center Birth Injury Statistics
Birth Injuries affect whole families, sometimes forever, that’s why you need a law firm that will fight for your rights. That’s why you need Palmer Law Group, LLP of Topeka, Kansas.