You count on healthcare professionals to deliver high-quality medical care. This is especially true for those involved in delivering babies and other pregnancy-related matters. If your child has suffered irreparable harm due to the preventable error of a medical professional, that provider should be held accountable.
Whether your obstetrician failed to perform certain tests after delivery or neglected to do something before your child was born that could have prevented harm, the result is that your child may needlessly suffer for years or even the rest of his or her life.
Birth Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice
There are approximately 158,000 birth injuries in the United States each year that could have potentially been avoided. Many of these injuries are due to the careless or even reckless behavior of physicians, nurses, midwives, and other healthcare providers during prenatal care and delivery. Medical care given to a newborn and his or her mother should never be the cause of an avoidable injury.
While some injuries are temporary with a requirement for little or no treatment, others are much more serious. Some birth injuries are so serious that they result in death or they require lifetime medical care.
Common Types of Preventable Birth Injuries
Not every birth injury is the result of negligence. Some are congenital in nature, which means that it is either an acquired or inherited condition that isn’t the fault of medical providers. The type of condition or injury can help determine whether it was preventable or not. In some cases, a thorough investigation by your medical malpractice attorney will help make this determination and prove your case.
Some of the most common types of birth injuries to a child that result from negligence or malpractice include:
- Brachial Palsy Injuries. These common birth injuries include Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy. The injury occurs when there is damage to the bundle of nerves responsible for moving the hands and arms. The most common cause of a brachial injury is when a physician pulls incorrectly or too hard on the baby during delivery.
- Brain Injuries. When a baby is deprived of oxygen during delivery, it can lead to severe injuries. The most serious damages include cerebral palsy and chronic seizures. This can happen when physicians fail to properly monitor a baby, either allowing them to remain in the birth canal too long or failing to ensure that they are receiving sufficient oxygen just after birth.
- Facial Paralysis. The delivery may be stressful on an infant, allowing too much pressure to be applied to the face, which can damage nerves. This injury can occur from the use of a vacuum extractor or forceps during delivery. While some injuries clear up after a few weeks, others are permanent.
- Fractures. Fractures are other common birth injuries that can occur when a physician pulls too hard on the baby during delivery. This can happen when the infant’s shoulder is manipulated while in the breech position or is simply pulled during a difficult delivery. While not permanent, the injury can be painful for the child.
- Cephalohematoma. Cephalohematoma describes an injury in which the infant suffers from bleeding below the cranium, usually just underneath one of the cranial bones. This is likely to appear several hours after birth and after the use of birth assisting tools. In some cases, this temporary injury can lead to other issues such as anemia, hypotension, jaundice, and meningitis.
- Caput succedaneum. Caput succedaneum is another injury to the infant’s scalp that can result from the use of a vacuum extraction tool. The soft tissue swelling usually subsides after several days.
While some of these injuries are temporary, others are quite serious and could even lead to death. Some children that suffer from birth defects must live with their parents for the rest of their lives, and require extensive medical care, the help of caretakers, and other accommodations. A lawyer who specializes in birth injury cases can help you determine these long-term costs as well as gather the evidence to support your case.
Contact an Experienced Kentucky Birth Injury Attorney
If you believe that your child was harmed during pregnancy or birth due to medical negligence, you have the right seek compensation from the responsible party. At the Slechter Law Firm, our Kentucky birth injury attorneys have experience with these complex cases and will do everything necessary to advocate for your rights. Contact our Louisville office at 502-694-5407 or online to discuss your options for pursuing the full and fair compensation you deserve.