Child birth is one of the most gratifying and joyous experiences on earth. While modern medical technology and child birth delivery methods have come a long way, birth injuries still occur and can change the life of you and your family forever. Unfortunately, birth injuries can sometimes occur as a result of doctor and/or hospital negligence during labour and delivery.
Brain injuries are the most common type of birth injury. In the context of medical malpractice claims, brain injuries often result from a lack of oxygen during labour and delivery, physical trauma to the brain during delivery, or infection in the mother.
Hypoxic-Eschemic Encephalopathy (HIE):
HIE is the result of oxygen deprivation due to birth or perinatal asphyxia. HIE can be caused by constriction or occlusion of the fetal umbilical cord known as “cord compression”, constriction of the neck, pressure on the cranium or skull, poor oxygen exchange in the placenta, or failure to deliver the fetus in a timely or proper manner.
In severe birth injury cases, HIE can result in the following:
- Cerebral palsy
- Epilepsy and seizure disorders
- Developmental or cognitive delays
- Motor disorders
- Behavioural and emotional disorders
- Learning disabilities
- Speech disorders
- Hearing impairments
- Visual impairments
- Respiratory conditions
- Orthopedic issues
During the birthing process, the infant may also suffer physical birth injuries as a result of medical negligence.
Shoulder Dystocia is one of the most common physical birth injuries. Shoulder Dystocia occurs when the infant’s shoulder becomes lodged against the mother’s pelvic bone during the delivery. When this occurs, the infant’s body is unable to properly pass through the birth canal which can result in a brachial plexus injury or HIE as a result of cord compression.
In infants with a smaller head and a larger torso, caesarian section may be the most prudent method of delivery to avoid shoulder dystocia.
Brachial Plexus Palsy:
Brachial plexus palsy is caused by damage to a group of nerves in the arm and hand known as the brachial plexus. This type of birth injury is often caused by shoulder dystocia during delivery. In mild cases, the infant will suffer swelling and bruising around the brachial plexus which can cause temporary impairment.
However, in severe cases of brachial plexus palsy, the infant may suffer a permanent impairment including partial or full loss of the use of an arm or hand. Some sub-categories of a Brachial Palsy injury are:
Avulsion – this is the most severe type of brachial plexus injury. This occurs when the entire nerve root is torn from the spinal cord. As a result, Avulsion injuries are rarely treatable with surgery and almost always result in permanent impairment
Rupture – this occurs when the nerve root is torn beyond the spinal cord. Although ruptures can be as serious as an avulsion injury, they can sometimes be surgically repaired to improve the infant’s outcome
Neuroma – this occurs when scar tissue forms around the injury and results in varied degrees of impairment
Erb’s Palsy – this occurs when the nerves in the upper shoulder are injured causing paralysis of the entire arm
Klumpke’s Palsy – this occurs when the nerves in the lower part of the arm are damaged causing impairments in the wrist, hand, and fingers.
Skull fractures may occur during the birth delivery process when forceps or suction tools are improperly used. If an infant’s skull has been fractured during the birthing process it can cause lasting complications such as cerebral palsy, visual and hearing impairments and cognitive, motor and developmental delays.
Keep in mind that most birth injuries are most often caused by something other than medical malpractice. As birth-related injuries and medical malpractice law can involve complex medical and legal issues, it is essential to get advice from a lawyer.
At Law Fifty One, we care about your well-being and ensure you or your loved one get the best representation possible during these difficult times. We will work closely with doctors, treatment providers, and therapists to ensure you or your loved one receive the best treatment possible while looking after your claim.
Our mission is to ensure you or your loved one can concentrate on recovering without having to deal with the daily stress of a medical malpractice claim. At Law Fifty One we are here to help you every step of the way.