Pregnancy is a lengthy and draining process for many women. Labor and delivery can put their life at risk, but mothers generally accept the possibility of injury often because they are eager to bring a new member into their family. Most mothers who have just given birth get to hold a healthy newborn as a reward for all of their efforts. Sadly, for a number of women in the United States every year, the birth process results in a birth injury. Instead of holding a healthy newborn, they face a barrage of unfortunate health-related concerns from the healthcare professionals attending their birth process.
New parents often struggle with managing the consequences of a birth injury and choosing how to respond. Plenty of the most common birth injuries reported in the United States have a strong association with medical errors and deviations from best obstetric practices, meaning they can serve as grounds for viable personal injury lawsuits. The following birth injuries occur most frequently in modern hospitals and may be actionable depending on a family’s circumstances.
There are a surprisingly large number of different ways for an unborn child to incur a brain injury, particularly during labor and delivery. One of the most common has to do with receiving insufficient oxygen. Compression of the umbilical cord or issues with a placenta could potentially result in an infant not receiving an adequate supply of oxygen, which may result in brain injuries like cerebral palsy. Other times, there can be traumatic injuries that occur during the birth. For example, there are cases in which a forceps delivery might result in a brain injury because of excessive pressure on the skull.
Spinal cord and nerve injuries
Assisted deliveries can easily lead to a host of medical complications for both mother and child. For example, forceps and vacuum-assisted births can cause damage to the spinal cord or to nerves in the newborn that hinder their postnatal development and necessitate medical intervention. Brachial palsy and Erb’s palsy are examples. In some scenarios, infants recover from these nerve and spinal cord injuries. Other times, they may have permanent functional limitations. Infants can also suffer other traumatic injuries. Forceps deliveries could cause trauma to an infant’s eyes or abrasions on their skin that lead to major infections. Broken bones are also a concern.
When families have a reasonable claim that better medical support would have prevented a birth injury or that medical professionals directly caused an injury, they may be in a position to take legal action. Pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit can help compensate families for often devastating consequences of a birth injury.