Birth Injuries During Delivery: Common Causes

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A birth injury is an injury an infant receives during the process of being born. Some of these types of injuries occur through no one's fault. However, some birth injuries are the direct result of medical malpractice and could have been prevented.

Common Birth Injuries

While there are many different types of birth injuries that can be sustained during delivery, the most common include:

  • Forcep Injuries – If forceps are used during a difficult delivery, infants can receive bruising or marks as a result. In serious cases, forceps can cause depressed skull fractures which often must be addressed with surgical evaluation. If the forceps depress or injure a facial nerve, the baby could experience facial paralysis.
  • Vacuum Extraction Injuries – A vacuum extraction is often used when a mother is experiencing a particularly difficult birth. Vacuum extraction can cause severe bruising to the head, and in some cases, can cause scalp lacerations. Caput Succedaneum is a particular type of swelling in the infant's head, which is most commonly caused by vacuum extraction. This condition typically goes away in a few weeks, but may cause trouble if it is extremely severe.
  • Broken Bones – Broken bones may occur in fetuses that are very large in comparison to the mother's birth canal. Most often, the broken bone is the collar bone, as a result of twisting in order to clear the birth canal.
  • Cephalohematoma – This is a condition in which the baby experiences bleeding between the bone and the fibrous covering. It typically appears as a lump seen on the infant's head and is typically the result of either vacuum extraction or the use of forceps. As the body reabsorbs the blood, the lump will disappear. This typically takes a week or ten days to go away.

Doctors Malpractice as the Cause of Birth Injury

While some of these injuries may happen as a result of the birthing process alone, there are some situations in which the overseeing doctor or medical practitioner is responsible. This occurs when the doctor fails to anticipate common problems that may happen during birth. This might include the baby being breech, being too large for the mother's birth canal to accommodate, experiencing heartbeat irregularities, and more.

Getting Help for a Birth Injury Case

If an individual feels that their baby has been injured due to medical malpractice, there are a few important choices to be made. First and foremost, an individual should consult with a medical malpractice attorney who specializes in birth injuries. An attorney who works continuously in this field will be able to recognize whether the birth injury was a result of medical malpractice. The attorney can then advise the individual as to whether or not they would have a valid case in a court of law and how to proceed.

In most cases when infants experience injury, they must have additional medical care. Seeking legal recourse for medical malpractice can allow parents to demand compensation for this extra medical care and for the pain and suffering the birth injuries have caused.

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