What are Birth Injuries? Cause and Effect
Birth injuries can take what is supposed to be a joyous time and turn it into a difficult experience to endure. As an expecting parent, you anticipate that your pregnancy will go smoothly and that you won’t run into any issues along the way.
However, this is not always the case.
Far too often, expecting mothers and unborn or newborn infants can be harmed as a result of some kind of medical malpractice that causes significant injuries. There are various causes of these types of injuries, but it typically relates back to some form of negligence.
A birth injury can be a daunting discovery when your baby is born, so you need to understand more about what to expect and some of the impacts that your child or you may encounter. You should also understand your rights regarding what you can do following a birth injury.
For parents, having the right information means knowing who may be accountable for the injuries sustained and who you may pursue legal action against. Below, we cover some of the main elements of a birth injury case that you should know! If you have additional questions or need legal guidance, reach out to our legal team!
What Are Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries are typically a result of complications during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. They can lead to lifelong disabilities, disfigurement, and developmental issues, particularly if treatment is not administered as quickly as possible.
Here are some of the most common types of birth injuries:
- Cerebral Palsy: This is a condition that commonly occurs as a result of maternal infections, oxygen deprivation, infant infection, or infant stroke. This is a brain-related injury that impacts the way the brain and muscles communicate.
- Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy: Also known as HIE, this is a condition in which the brain is deprived of oxygen for an extended period of time. It can cause long-term cognitive and developmental issues.
- Brachial Plexus: This is a muscle-related injury that impacts the upper part of the arm. It can feel like a burning sensation or electrical-shock down the arm and possibly the inability to use various muscles in the impacted arm.
- Shoulder Dystocia: This injury commonly occurs during the delivery process. It is when the head and shoulders of the baby are stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone. It’s a relatively rare birth injury, occurring in just 1% of all pregnancies.
- Erb’s Palsy: This injury is some form of brachial plexus, but it impacts the lower nerves in the arm. A baby with this may have total paralysis in the lower part of the arm, the wrists, and fingers—often resulting in the hand staying in a claw-like shape.
- Infant Hemorrhage: If the baby suffers serious trauma to the head, it can cause the baby to have a severe brain bleed. Some of the potential causes may include high blood pressure passed from the mother to baby, blood disorders, or even liver disease.
These are all serious conditions that can result in long-term complications for the infant as he or she grows into childhood and longer. It’s imperative that the baby receive treatment—if possible—as quickly as they can to help improve the situation.
The Underlying Issue of Birth Injuries
While we know there are various causes of birth injuries and the physical nature of the injuries, there are some steps that can be taken to prevent these types of injuries. In a number of situations, it falls on the doctor to ensure that the baby and mother are safe.
Constant monitoring is necessary during the pregnancy to detect fetal heart rate and identify any potential problems that may arise. Similarly, during labor and delivery, the utmost care must be taken by all parties involved to protect the mother and baby.
When something goes wrong, it’s important for the medical staff to act quickly. Without swift attention, a problem may persist and become a potential cause of a birth injury. This is commonly the case in medical negligence cases and is the basis for birth injury lawsuits.
Are There Treatments Available?
The simple answer: yes.
The more complicated answer: it depends on the type of injury and the severity of the injury. In many cases, a child may not be able to receive treatment, especially for certain types of injuries. But for others, there may be help through surgery, medications, physical therapy, and more.
Surgery may be required in cases involving brachial plexus, brain hemorrhaging, and a fractured skull. Medication may be necessary for cognitive disabilities or seizures. Physical therapy may be used for muscle injuries such as shoulder dystocia, or even brain injuries like cerebral palsy.
The most important thing is to understand what options are available to you and your child, and taking advantage of the treatment. You may need legal assistance to help cover the expenses associated with the medical bills.
The Long-Term Problems That May Arise
Depending on the type of injury that occurs to the mother or baby, there are a number of complications that may arise in the future. Specifically, baby’s may deal with several cognitive disabilities, developmental and learning problems, and physical deformities.
Because of the injuries sustained, there may be a need for long-term care, physical therapy, special developmental training, and more. There may need for medical equipment at home or in a vehicle to suit the condition.
For many of these infants, making sure that they are most comfortable while dealing with the conditions they have endured is of the utmost importance. If a mother is injured during pregnancy or labor, she must ensure that she is treated properly as well.
Birth injuries should not be taken lightly, especially when someone else’s actions cause harm to the baby or mother, leaving them to deal with the lifelong troubles that come along with it. Moving forward, you should have legal help to guide you through the process.
Legal Options Available to You
While the last thing you want to deal with is a legal battle when you focused on the health of your baby and yourself, you should know how important it is. Taking legal action affords you a number of benefits moving forward after a birth injury.
If your child has been harmed as a result of a birth injury, taking legal action helps with the large medical expenses, the physical therapy, and any other expenses lost as a result of the injury. Furthermore, you bring the negligent act into the public eye, holding the medical facility or doctor accountable for the actions that led to the injury.
Before you move forward, however, one of the most important steps is to speak with a lawyer about your options. Your legal team can help discover medical records and identify the exact cause of the birth injury.
If it’s determined you have a lawsuit, you may be able to file against the negligent party to seek economic and non-economic damages for the injuries sustained. This is where our Chicago birth injury attorneys come in to help.
At Beam Legal Team, we don’t take birth injuries lightly. We have helped clients secure over a billion dollars in verdicts and settlements. You shouldn’t have to suffer at the hands of medical negligence, but if it happens, we’re here for you.
If your child has been injured, know that we are ready to stand by your side and help you through this difficult time. We offer free consultations so you can discuss your potential options with our team before taking the next steps forward.
Call our firm today at (866) 766-3806 to better understand your situation, discuss your rights, and learn how we may be able to help you.