As we have talked about frequently over the years, any kind of birth injury can happen at any time during pregnancy or directly before, during, or after birth. One can almost never say what complications may arise that can trouble a pregnancy and cause potentially life-threatening issues for a baby or expectant mother.
At the same time, the doctor treating the mother and her child must always act responsibly so as to address any problems that arise and avoid directly causing other issues with the pregnancy. Unfortunately, sometimes doctors fail to measure up to the standard of care expected of them and act negligently during treatment. When those actions, or inactions, directly injure the mother or child, we call it medical malpractice.
If you do not know what to look for in birth injuries caused by medical malpractice, we are here to answer some of your questions. Here are five of the most common birth injuries for which we receive claims at Latona Law.
1. Cerebral Palsy
In the United States, about 10 percent to 15 percent of children born with cerebral palsy developed it because of a doctor’s negligence. Cerebral palsy is a brain disorder characterized by muscle spasms and stiffness, problems walking or standing, and partial paralysis. A distressed pregnancy can sometimes cause a baby to develop cerebral palsy and prevent a doctor from doing anything to help it. In other cases, the doctor should act quickly to deliver a baby that is distressed in the womb but fails to do so, thereby depriving the baby of oxygen for several minutes. This is how cerebral palsy can be caused. Children born with cerebral palsy often require long-term physical therapy, medications, and even surgery to treat some symptoms, but the condition cannot be cured.
2. Brachial Plexus Injury
Another birth injury we often see is a brachial plexus injury. The brachial plexus refers to the network of nerves that links the spine to the shoulder and arm. If the doctor inappropriately twists or pulls on a baby’s shoulders or neck during birth, the child could sustain an injury to the brachial plexus and consequently develop brachial palsy. This is numbness and weakness usually in just one arm. The condition makes it difficult for a person to move and fully turn the arm, and this may be accompanied by neck pain. Treatment for a brachial plexus birth injury includes surgery and physical therapy. Sometimes, if the nerves were only stretched mildly, the condition may resolve on its own. However, no matter the severity of the injury, if a negligent doctor harmed your baby, you still deserve financial justice.
3. Erb’s Palsy
Similar to the brachial palsy that results from a brachial plexus injury, Erb’s palsy refers to the condition that can arise if a doctor pulls on or forcefully wiggles a baby’s shoulders during delivery. The violent movements damage nerves in the shoulder, which can lead to reduced mobility, weakness, and numbness in the affected shoulder and arm. Depending on the severity of the injury, the Erb’s palsy may resolve itself but can also require physical therapy or surgery to correct. In some cases, the individual has weakness and restricted mobility in the arm and shoulder for life. As with many birth injuries, Erb’s palsy may sometimes be unavoidable due to certain conditions present during birth. But sometimes, doctors act negligently when they pull on a baby’s shoulders and damage nerves there.
For new parents, hearing that the new baby they just welcomed into the world has Erb’s palsy–and that it was caused by the delivering doctor–is devastating, scary, and probably maddening. After all, we trust doctors with our lives, and they are supposed to deliver a superior standard of care every time. At Latona Law, it is simply unacceptable for such a person to injure a patient in this manner through simple negligence.
4. Bone Fractures
Bone fractures can occur in just about any birth, given the circumstances. Doctors must be extremely careful not to fracture bones during delivery, since infant bones are softer than adult bones and are, of course, more susceptible to breaking. We often see bone fractures in natural births that should have been C-sections, and the bones that get broken the most often are the clavicles, or collarbones. Obviously, a break of this kind during birth will be highly distressing for the infant, even though the break will heal through immobilization. However, the stress of the situation, both for the baby and the parents, is entirely unnecessary when the doctor should have known better. To us, you are most definitely owed something for the pain and suffering your family has experienced.
5. Spinal Cord Injuries
Last on this list are spinal cord injuries, which are the most dangerous and life-threatening ones included here. Doctors who are negligent in their use of forceps when delivering can severely damage the spinal cord, causing bodily paralysis or neurological disorders. The damage caused by spinal cord injuries is permanent.
Justice for Your Child’s Preventable Birth Injury
At Latona Law, we see all preventable birth injuries as catastrophic offenses against innocent patients who entrusted their own welfare or that of their family members to a doctor’s care. So, what is to be done about it? When you bring your case to one of our malpractice attorneys, you will get a free consultation and the promise that, if you have a triable case, we will never stop fighting for you until we win damages that will cover what you have suffered.
The time after a birth injury is frightening and stressful. Medical bills are piling up. You are anxious and afraid. But you and your family do have resources you can count on: the knowledge and experience of the birth injury lawyers at Latona Law. We have been doing this for more than 30 years. Now, let us help you.