The birth of a child is the most joyous event most parents will ever experience. While this is traditionally a very auspicious occasion, for some happy parents, their joy is marred by physical injury or deformity directly related to the birthing process. More than four million children are born each year in the U.S. For some, serious developmental issues or even death may result. A birth injury is defined as any damage or injury to the infant’s body occurring before, during, or slightly after the child’s birth. Birth injuries vary from minor, easily resolved issues to issues so severe the infant does not survive. Complications of pregnancy or labor such as prolonged labor, where the baby is unusually small or large or when the baby is in a difficult position during labor and delivery, can bring about difficulties for a newborn.
A birth injury is a devastating event that can leave parents with anguish, financial hardship and vexing questions. How did this happen? Could it have been prevented. While some birth injuries are the result of unforeseeable complications beyond anyone’s control, many are the direct result of negligence on the part of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals charged with caring for mother and child prior to during and after childbirth. Some of the most common types of birth injuries include:
- Asphyxia: Cerebral palsy and other birth defects are caused by lack of oxygen to the brain, also known as asphyxia.
- Broken bones: A broken bone during childbirth can leave the child with permanent disabilities, requiring ongoing and expensive medical treatment.
- Brachial plexus injuries: Erb’s palsy and other serious conditions are caused by damage to brachial plexus, the network of nerves between the neck and the shoulder.
- Spinal cord injuries: An injury to the spinal cord can leave the child with a lifetime of disability and may require physical therapy, rehabilitation and adaptive equipment. Infant back and neck injuries are sometimes caused by misuse of forceps and other medical errors.
Despite all of the necessary care being taken to ensure that all births go on without a hitch, there are instances for one reason or another that does not make this so. It is the desire of every parent to have a healthy baby, however, accidents and malpractice does happen. If you or someone you know has been the victim of circumstances similar to the ones previously mentioned, please contact an attorney, like a personal injury lawyer Atlanta GA can trust, to better understand your rights and the rights of your child.
Thanks to contributor Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into birth related injury cases.