Unfortunately, many medical accidents occur worldwide. But the worst among them are the injuries that occur during childbirth. This article discusses birth injuries, their types, and what legal actions people can take against them.
To avoid cesarean deliveries, doctors usually perform difficult deliveries using forceps or a vacuum pump to pull the baby out with excessive force, leading to a high risk of injuries to the baby. They vary from a mild injury that recovers all by itself over time to severe injuries that lead to permanent mental and physical damage.
In most cases, birth injuries result from medical malpractices. One can file a lawsuit to compensate for any preventable birth injury such as cerebral palsy. For this, they need to hire a lawyer who will first determine whether the case is valid for a lawsuit or not. If it is, the lawyer will proceed with the legal procedure.
Below are some types of birth injuries that occur during labor and delivery:
Cerebral palsy is a brain injury in newborns that occurs in the womb, during labor or some time after delivery. It results from inadequate oxygen flow to a baby’s brain at the time of labor, premature birth, maternal infections during pregnancy, asphyxia, or the mother’s use of harmful medication during pregnancy. It may affect one limb, a part of the body or the whole body.
CP is not a progressive injury. It may lead to movement, muscle tone, and motor skills impairments. It is detected through a physical exam or even via EEG or brain scan if a baby has seizures.
Nevertheless, cerberal palsy lawsuits are commonly filed by parents if their child is suffering from an injury due to medical malpractice. This may include failure to take adequate precautions during delivery
There is no remedy for CP. However, various interventions and treatments can help improve a baby’s long-term prognosis and quality of life if the condition is detected at an early stage.
● Collarbone fracture
During labor, the collarbone or the clavicle may break when it gets difficult to deliver the baby’s shoulder. The baby with a clavicle fracture cannot move its arm,but it heals quickly. With the development of new bones, a firm lump develops on the clavicle in the initial ten days. However, in case of painful fractures, soft bandages with little arm and shoulder movement are helpful.
● Skull fracture
Skull fractures usually result from instrumented vaginal labor. They are diagnosed via plain film radiography of the skull. However, if there is a doubt of neurologic symptoms or an intracranial injury, it is recommended to go for an MRI or CT scan.
While delivering the baby, the facial nerves may get injured due to the pressure on the baby’s face, leading to facial paralysis. It can also occur due to the usage of forceps for delivery. Doctors can observe this when the baby cries and there is no facial movement. The paralysis recovers in a few weeks if the nerve is bruised. However, if the nerve breaks, surgery is necessary.
This is localized subperiosteal bleeding between the skull bone and fibrous covering around it. It is unilateral since the swelling does not spread out of the suture lines. Over time, the blood reabsorbs. Mostly the course takes 2 weeks to 3 months to eradicate cephalohematomas. However, they may transform into skull deformities, calcification, jaundice, or osteomyelitis.
Erb’s palsy (Brachial plexus palsy) is the paralysis of a baby’s shoulder, arm, or hand. It results from the breakage of the brachial plexus nerves during labor. The nerve damage occurs from pulling the baby’s neck or head excessively during delivery. It may also happen when pulling the baby’s feet in breech labor or if its head, shoulders, or neck gets stuck under the pelvic bone during delivery. Babies with Erb’s palsy are mostly recovered completely without treatment. However, a few of them require surgery or various therapies.
● Cerebral hemorrhage
It is stroke-like bleeding that occurs in the brain itself.
● Intraventricular hemorrhage
It is the bleeding in the ventricles in the brain.
● Subarachnoid hemorrhage
It is the bleeding below the innermost of the membranes that enclose the brain.
● Subdural hemorrhage
It is the bleeding between the inner and the outer layers of the brain.
● Subgaleal hemorrhage
The bleeding in the loose areolar tissue space between the skull’s periosteum and the galea aponeurotica is called subgaleal hemorrhage.
● Subconjunctival hemorrhage
It is the bleeding in the small blood vessels in the baby’s eyes. One or both eyes get a red band in the sclera.
Legal actions against birth injuries
If one’s child gets a birth injury due to medical negligence or malpractice, they may get entitled to compensation for the finances of the treatment and other expenses via birth injury lawsuits. They can file these lawsuits against doctors and other healthcare providers responsible for causing the birth injury.
Parents can collaborate with therapists to help children with birth injuries live active and fulfilling lives. Doctors can recommend nutrition plans for children, while therapists can guide them about exercises for children with muscle problems. Adaptive equipment like speech aids or wheelchairs can help children with effective communication and physical activities.