When expectant parents are waiting for their baby’s arrival, they likely are a bit anxious. Moms-to-be wonder about how long their labor will last and how they will manage the pain. Dads-to-be worry about how they will support their partner through birth and while taking care of a newborn. One thing expectant parents may not think about is what happens if their child suffers an injury during birth.
Birth injury basics
About six to eight infants out of every 1,000 are born with birth injuries in the United States. Often, birth injuries occur because of physical pressure during the birthing process.
Some birth injuries are more serious than others. In fact, some can lead to lifelong physical and intellectual disabilities. Some also may be caused by a medical provider’s faulty care or negligence, such as not performing a C-section when needed, improper use of medical assisting tools or failure to diagnose a prolapsed umbilical cord.
More serious birth injuries
Here are some of the more common serious birth injuries:
- Cerebral palsy: Cerebral palsy can develop because a baby is deprived of oxygen during birth, because of a maternal infection, because of an infant infection or because of an infant stroke. It can cause lifelong physical disabilities, affecting how well someone can walk, and intellectual disabilities.
- Oxygen deprivation: If an infant is deprived oxygen during birth, that can lead to brain damage. The longer an infant doesn’t have oxygen, the more serious the birth damage will be. Infants can suffer lifelong serious intellectual and physical disabilities because of oxygen deprivation.
- Erb’s palsy: This condition is the result of birth injuries to an infant’s brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is the system of nerves in the shoulder and upper arm. It is often caused when a mother has a long, difficult delivery. Erb’s palsy often results in an infant having a paralyzed arm on one side of the body. A child may recover through physical therapy, but in some cases a child may need surgery to correct it.
- Other brachial plexus injuries: More severe brachial injuries include when an infant’s nerve disconnects from the spinal cord, a nerve tears or completely severs, or damaged nerve tissue doesn’t regenerate properly. Many mild brachial plexus injuries can heal within three to six months. Others may never completely heal.
If your baby suffered a birth injury and you feel your medical provider may be at fault, you need to consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney. An attorney can help you ensure you receive compensation for your child’s medical care costs.