Birth injuries are defined as any injury that results in long term medical complications, developmental problems, permanent disability or death. Injuries during birth are linked to conditions such as cerebral palsy, erbs palsy, injuries to the brachial plexus and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. The following statistics are very telling when it comes to the long term impact of birth injuries and exhibit why more accountability must be demanded of doctors and healthcare workers who cause or fail to treat these injuries. A lifetime of care for an impaired child is extremely expensive and emotionally taxing on the child’s family and it is not unreasonable to expect that compensation be provided to reduce these burdens.
Birth Injury Statistics
- Approximately 28,000 newborns are injured during or shortly following birth every year. This averages to over 530 per week or 3 per hour.
- 7 out of every 1,000 children born in the United States suffer some form of birth injury.
- Males are much more likely to suffer an injury than females.
- 6 out of 1,000 children are born with moderate to severe injuries which can include fractured bones, cerebral palsy and developmental or neurological disorders.
- 20% of infant fatalities are the result of injuries sustained at birth.
- 134 children of every 100,000 born will die due to a birth injury.
- Of the 38 different clinical forms of birth injuries, 27 have seen an increase in frequency, 9 have maintained the same frequency rate and only 2 have shown a decrease since 1989.
- Up to 14% of birth injuries do not surface until the child is of school age.
- 7% of birth injuries surface within the first year of the injured child’s life.
- 10% of birth injuries are the result of alcohol and drug abuse during pregnancy or poor dietary considerations on part of the mother.
- Low birth weight is the leading factor involved in the deaths of children under one year of age.
- Smoking is linked to 10% of infant deaths and 25% of cases involving low birth weight or premature birth.
- Poor prenatal care is linked to 25% of infant deaths and approximately 1.3 million women in the United States lack sufficient prenatal care each year.
Impact of Type of Facility on Birth Injury Cases
- 7.15 injuries per 1,000 births were reported in private non-profit hospitals.
- 4.33 injuries per 1,000 births were reported in private for-profit hospitals.
- 6.11 injuries per 1,000 births were reported in public hospitals.
- Births conducted in hospitals with a higher number of beds have reported a higher rate of birth injuries.
- 5.36 injuries per 1,000 births were reported in facilities with fewer than 100 beds. These facilities record the lowest rate of birth injuries.
- 5.45 injuries per 1,000 births occur in facilities with 100-299 beds.
- 8.57 injuries per 1,000 births occur in facilities with 300-499 beds. These facilities have the highest rate of birth injuries reported.
- Facilities with over 500 beds still report 7.1 birth injuries per 1,000 beds, which is slightly above the national average.
Evidence suggests that the number of patients that a hospital must serve has a greater impact on birth injury rates than whether the facilities is publicly or privately owned and whether it is owned by a for-profit or non-profit organization.
Correlation Between Medical Negligence & Injury To Child
The leading causes of birth injury due to medical negligence are the following.
- Failure to detect or respond promptly to fetal distress
- The use of assisted birthing instruments.
- Failure to order a cesarean section in a timely manner.
- Improper use of forceps or a vacuum.
- Inability to resuscitate a child properly after birth.
- The improper training of medical staff on how to use equipment or perform job functions.
Cerebral Palsy: A Common Result Of Negligent Care During Labor & Delivery
- The CDC has reported that 1 in 323 children have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy in the United States.
- Cerebral palsy occurs in as many as 4 out of 1,000 births, representing over half of the birth injuries reported.
- Males are at a higher risk of developing cerebral palsy than females.
- Cerebral palsy is more common among Blacks than Hispanics or Whites.
- 77.4% of children with cerebral palsy have spastic cerebral palsy.
- Nearly 59% of children with cerebral palsy eventually learn how to walk independently.
- 41% of children with cerebral palsy also suffer from epilepsy.
- CDC reports that the cost of caring for a child with cerebral palsy can easily exceed an average of $16,000 per year.
- The average cost of healthcare for a healthy child is $1674 per year.
- The lifetime cost of caring for a child with cerebral palsy is about $1 million.
Prevalence of Erb’s Palsy
Erb’s palsy is the result of an injury to the brachial plexus, which is a system of nerves that controls motor function in the upper body. Symptoms of Erb’s palsy include weakness in the upper body and the inability or difficulty to move the arm or hand.
- 1-2 of every 1,000 children experience this condition.
- The majority of children who suffer from Erb’s palsy will recover motor function at some point.
- Recovery of motor function can take up to two years.
- Surgery is required on occasion to treat the condition.
- Children with Erb’s palsy will often have one arm that is shorter than the other. This occurs because nerve damage can stunt growth.
If your child has been injured during birth, we want you to know that you are justified in demanding accountability, answers and compensation for the cost of your child’s care. Contact the team at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers today to speak with one of our experienced birth injury lawyers to learn more about your rights and legal options. We would be happy to schedule a free consultation to evaluate the details of your case and begin a thorough investigation into the circumstances involved in your child’s injury. Should we be unable to take on your case or fail to collect on your behalf for any reason, our services and advice will be free of charge.