You’ve waited nine long months for your baby to arrive, now something’s not right. Birth trauma refers to a collection of injuries that can occur just before, during, or immediately following birth. Birth trauma injuries include cerebral palsy, Erb's palsy, shoulder dystocia, and brain damage (including kernicterus).
Birth trauma can occur when the flow of blood (and as a result, oxygen) is inhibited during birth. When this occurs, the attending physician must act quickly to prevent permanent injury. Special techniques or a caesarean birth may be necessary. When the physician fails to act appropriately during a birth trauma situation, he or she may be guilty of medical negligence. Because the results of birth trauma injuries are often devastating to families both emotionally and financially, the law seeks to protect victims. If your child has been the victim of a birth trauma injury, we can help. Our attorneys have advanced medical, as well as legal training, that may help you in your case. Please contact us today for more information.
A group of disorders that affect movement control, Cerebral Palsy can be caused by injury to the brain before, during, or after birth. Unfortunately, there is not one known cause of Cerebral Palsy. It may be acquired after the birth of a child as a result of damage to the brain in the first months, or years of life. The injury may be a brain infection (bacterial meningitis, viral encephalitis) or head injury following an accident. Oftentimes, it occurs during the birthing process.
An expectant mother’s health care team has the responsibility to ensure adequate care during for mother and child during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and immediately after the delivery of the infant. Failure to do so can result in the doctors and nurses being held accountable for the outcome of the pregnancy.
One cause of Cerebral Palsy is lack of oxygen to the brain or trauma to the head during labor and delivery. This can result in injury or brain damage. A number of factors may suggest the injury occurred as a result of improper medical care during the delivery:
- The infant demonstrates poor sucking after birth.
- Seizures develop within 24 to 48 hours.
- The child is floppy at birth.
- The skin is blue or dusky at birth.
- The infant needs resuscitation at, or shortly after birth because he/she is not breathing.
- A baby who was born full-term, but does not go home at the same time as the mother.
- There was no indication of trauma or infection during the pregnancy.
- There is no history in the family of brain damage.
- The infant has problems maintaining temperature after birth.
- The bag of waters was ruptured for over 24 hours.
- There is meconium (fecal) staining on the baby at the time of delivery.
If you believe a medical mistake caused your child’s cerebral palsy, please contact us for more information. You may be entitled to compensation to assist in the care and treatment necessary to support your baby through his or her life. Please call us today for more information.
Erb’s Palsy and Shoulder Dystocia
Different than Cerebral Palsy, Erb’s Palsy is caused by an injury to the brachial plexus—the nerves surrounding the shoulder. Erb’s Palsy is not caused by brain injury or brain abnormalities. Characterized by weakness or paralysis of the arm, Erb’s Palsy may cause varying amounts of impairment.
Erb’s Palsy is the result of a nerve injury at the time of birth. All the arm’s nerves are connected to a group of nerves near the neck which is called the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus nerves are responsible for feeling and motion in the hand, fingers, and arm. The brachial nerves can be injured if the baby’s neck and head are drawn to the side when the shoulders exit the birth canal. Pulling excessively on the shoulders as the baby comes out head first can also lead to a brachial nerve injury.
Related to Erb’s Palsy, shoulder dystocia occurs when the infant’s head is delivered normally, but one shoulder becomes stuck under part of the mother’s pelvic bones. Shoulder dystocia is dangerous to both the mother and the baby. A delivery in which shoulder dystocia occurs is most likely to cause injury to the brachial plexus, resulting in impaired movement of the injured arm.
Because Erb’s palsy is caused by an injury at birth, it is almost immediately apparent. However, the extent of the injury may not be known for some months after the baby’s birth.
If you believe your baby is suffering from Erb’s Palsy or Shoulder Dystocia, please call Finkelstein & Partners today. Our knowledgeable team, with experience in both medicine and legal representation, will go to work to you to ensure that your child receives the care and treatment required.
Brain Damage at Birth
Complex in its nature and function, the brain is also a very delicate organ that can be very seriously damaged. Damage can occur in many ways and have different levels of severity. One common cause of brain damage at birth results from a lack of oxygen during the birthing process. The damage may range from mild to severe, requiring around the clock care and support.
Brain damage at birth may be a result of malpractice on the part of the physician delivering the baby. If a physician fails to identify a suspected case of brain damage, or fails to do everything possible to ensure the birth of a healthy baby, the physician may be found negligent. Such damage may occur during birth if the delivering physician uses forceps or a vacuum device or unduly delays delivery for some reason. If your child has brain damage resulting from a birth injury, please call us so that you may receive the compensation you require to provide the treatment and support you require to care for your baby.
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