BIRTH INJURY/ BRAIN INJURY
Occasionally during the birth process a baby may suffer a physical injury or deformity that is simply the result of being born. It is estimated that between two and seven babies out of 1,000 will become injured during the birth process. This is sometimes called birth trauma or birth injury.
A birth injury lawyer will first determine if the trauma is natural or a result of medical negligence. A personal injury lawyer brings claims for birth injuries associated with medical error or hospital negligence.
Causes of Birth Injuries
A difficult birth or injury to the baby can occur because of the baby’s size or the position during labor and delivery. Conditions that may be associated with a difficult birth include the following:
• Large babies – babies weighing over 8lb 13oz.
• Premature birth – babies born before 37 weeks have more fragile bodies and may be
more easily injured.
• Cephalopelvic Disproportion – the size and shape of the mothers pelvis is not
adequate for the fetus to be born vaginally.
• Dystocia – difficult labor or child birth prolonged labor.
• Abnormal Birthing Presentation – breech deliveries (buttocks first).
Common Birth Injuries
Forceps marks – some babies may show signs of bruising on the face and head as the result of trauma passing through the birth canal and coming in contact with the mother’s pelvic bone and tissue. Forceps used in delivery can leave temporary marks or bruises on the baby’s face and head. Babies delivered by vacuum extraction may also have some scalp bruising or lacerations.
Fractures – fractures of the collarbone is the most common fraction during labor and delivery. The clavicle or collar bone may break when there is difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder or during a breech delivery. A baby with a broken or fractured collarbone rarely moves his or her arm on the side of the break. There may also be bruising over the broken bone. Simply immobilizing the arm and shoulder is the most recommended treatment and healing begins quickly.
Capute Succedaneum – Capute is a severe swelling of the soft tissue of a baby’s scalp that develops as the baby travels through the birth canal. The swelling usually disappears in a few days without problems. The most common reason for this is vacuum extraction.
Herbs Palsy/Brachial Palsy – Herbs Palsy/Brachial Palsy occurs when the bronchial plexus (which is a group of nerves that supply the arms and hands) is injured. It is most common when there is difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder. The baby loses the ability to flex and rotate his or her arm. This injury causes bruising and swelling around the nerves, but movement should return within a few months. Tearing of the nerve may result in permanent nerve damage. The most common treatment is immobilization of the arm with a brace or splint. Special physical therapy exercises are also used to help return the range of motion to the arm.
Cerebral Palsy – Failure of a doctor to diagnose fetal distress resulting in birth asphyxia and brain damage often diagnosed as cerebral palsy.
Subconjunctival Hemorrhage – This is injury is the breaking of small blood vessels in the baby’s eyes. One or both of the eyes may have a bright red band around the iris. This is very common but does not cause damage to the eyes. The redness is usually absorbed in approximately a week to ten days.
Facial Paralysis – During labor or birth, pressure on a baby’s face may cause the facial nerves to be injured. This also occurs with the use of forceps during delivery. This injury is often seen when the baby cries. There is no movement on the side of the face where the injury has occurred and the eye can not be closed. If the nerve was only bruised the paralysis usually improves in a few weeks. If the nerve was torn though surgery may be needed.