Childbirth is among the most meaningful and memorable moments in a person’s life; it is also a time of significant vulnerability, both for the mother and her child. Though most birthing injuries are fairly mild and do not cause long-term impairment, a serious birthing injury can have devastating, lifelong impacts. If you believe your child has been injured due to the errors of a medical professional, contact a birthing injury lawyer at Will Davidson LLP today for help.
Causes of birth trauma
There are several reasons why a birthing injury may occur, most of them natural or purely accidental. For instance, particularly large babies, especially those weighing more than 4,000 grams (8 pounds, 3 ounces) are susceptible to injury. So, too, are premature babies – those born before 37 weeks of pregnancy – due to their underdeveloped and fragile bodies.
Other factors like awkward fetal positioning or the size and shape of the mother’s pelvis can cause problems.
In some cases, birth trauma is caused or contributed to by the errors or negligence of medical professionals. It is in these instances that malpractice may have occurred and the injured family may have grounds to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Forms of birth trauma
Birthing injuries come in many forms and vary widely in severity. Swelling, bruising, and cuts are all particularly common, especially in births involving vacuum extractors or forceps. These are unlikely to have long-lasting impacts.
Other relatively common injuries include cephalohematoma, where bleeding occurs beneath the child’s cranial bones; subconjunctival hemorrhage, when small blood vessels in the baby’s eyes break; facial paralysis caused by pressure on the face during birth; and fractures, most often to the clavicle or collarbone.
Brachial plexus injuries are perhaps the most common form of serious muscle-related birth trauma. The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that supplies a person’s arms and hands. Injuries to the grouping most often occur when there is difficulty delivering a baby’s shoulders. In cases where the plexus is bruised or swollen, the baby may temporarily lose the ability to flex and rotate its arms; if the nerves are torn, the paralysis can be permanent.
Many of the most serious birth traumas are caused by the deprivation of oxygen to a child’s brain, known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). This injury is believed to cause more than 800,000 neonatal deaths per year, globally, and can stem from a wide range of causes, including brain or skull trauma, infections, prolonged late stages of labor, and umbilical cord accidents or issues. HIE can result in epilepsy, developmental delays, motor impairment, neurodevelopmental delays, cognitive impairments, and in rare cases Cerebral Palsy.
Should I consult a birthing injury lawyer?
If your child has suffered a birthing injury that you believe was caused by the errors or negligence of a medical professional, contacting an experienced birthing injury lawyer should be a top priority. However, not all medical errors are ground for a malpractice case. In Canada, medical malpractice has not occurred unless the error or omission would not have been made by another medical professional in a similar situation.
If medical malpractice has occurred, a birthing injury lawyer at Will Davidson LLP may be able to help you access compensation. Call us today at 1-800-661-7606 to arrange a no-obligation consultation and learn how we can help.