Each year, thousands of otherwise healthy newborns are changed forever due to injuries in the delivery room and during postnatal care. These are called birth injuries, and they’re most often caused by medical errors and negligence in the delivery room. While no family expects their baby will experience a birth injury, it’s crucial that new parents know a few of the most common types of these conditions and their causes.
Five Common Birth Injuries Every Parent Should Know
Sometimes, a baby’s shoulders become caught on something (typically the mother’s pubic bone) during delivery. This is a birth complication that requires immediate medical intervention. Unfortunately, if doctors aren’t prepared for this scenario or use poor delivery techniques, they could harm the baby, potentially causing nerve damage, broken bones, or asphyxiation.
Shoulder dystocia is most common when the mother has gestational diabetes, maternal weight gain, or if the baby is very large. Prenatal care can help identify these warning signs early on so your doctor can create a plan to either prepare for shoulder dystocia or avoid it altogether with a c-section.
When a newborn is bruised from delivery or suffers other blood-related injuries (such as caput secundum or cephalohematoma), they are at risk of developing infant jaundice. If this isn’t treated immediately, it could lead to a dangerous fever, weak teeth, cerebral palsy, or hearing loss.
Infant jaundice usually develops on the baby’s second or third day of life. If they are in the hospital, doctors should either treat them preemptively when they recognize bruising or treat them as soon as early warning signs appear. A delay in treating infant jaundice could potentially cause long-term complications and is considered a “birth injury,” even though it happens after birth.
Brachial Plexus Injury
A brachial plexus injury (also called Erb’s Palsy) is a common outcome of shoulder dystocia, but can also be caused by other factors. This injury occurs when a baby’s head and neck are pulled in opposite directions, often due to negligent delivery technique. As a result, the baby’s brachial plexus (the nerve center connecting the neck to the arms) can become sprained or torn.
Erb’s palsy presents a variety of symptoms depending on the extent of the nerve damage. As the baby grows, they may experience difficulty grasping, numbness in their arm, a loss of coordination, or even a loss of control of the affected arm.
Birth hypoxia is the result of asphyxiation during birth. When a baby becomes stuck in the birth canal or is otherwise cut off from the mother’s blood supply, they begin to asphyxiate. Without immediate intervention, there could be long-term brain damage which can cause cognitive impairments and intellectual disability later in life.
Birth hypoxia is considered a “latent birth injury.” This means the full extent of the injuries may not be obvious until the baby is older. If your baby had complications in the delivery room and you suspect they experience cognitive impairment, you should contact a birth injury attorney as soon as possible.
Cerebral palsy is one of the most serious kinds of birth injuries as it will fundamentally impact your child’s standard of living and will require a lifetime of specialized care. While there are different causes for cerebral palsy, one thing remains the same. It is a brain injury or brain malformation that causes cognitive impairment, difficulty speaking, stiff limbs, and paralysis.
When your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, it’s crucial that you explore all your treatment options and get your child the therapies they need to live comfortably. Fortunately, cerebral palsy treatments have come a long way in the past century and children affected with this condition today tend to have a higher standard of living than at any other time in history.
How a Miami Birth Injury Attorney Can Help
If your child was diagnosed with a birth injury, you likely have a lot of questions. How will you afford a lifetime of specialized medical care and equipment? How will your child’s standard of living differ from other children’s? Perhaps, most importantly, how can you pursue justice from those who harmed your baby? An experienced birth injury attorney can help.
When you hire a birth injury attorney to handle your case, you can focus on your family’s well-being while your legal team manages the stress, paperwork, and investigating that comes with a medical malpractice case. When your family is hurt, a birth injury attorney can help you find a path forward.
If your child was diagnosed with a birth injury, we are here for you. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Miami birth injury attorney from Rossman, Baumberger, Reboso & Spier, P.A., don’t hesitate to give us a call at (305) 900-5493 or send us an email.