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Causes of Birth Injuries

birth-injury-labor-delivery-causes-lawsuit Were you or your unborn baby the victim of doctor negligence that led to a birth injury? Did the obstetrician make an error that led to brachial plexus birth palsy or hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)? The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers handle medical negligence cases and can serve as your legal advocates.

Call our birth injury lawyers today at (888) 424-5757 toll-free phone number, or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation.

The birth of a child is supposed to be a joyous occasion as the newborn is welcomed into a family. However, parents are devastated when they learn that their child has suffered birth injuries that may impact their development and quality of life throughout childhood and into adulthood.

The Chicago birth injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC understands the emotional, psychological and financial stress that birth injuries can have on parents and their children. In addition to learning how to cope with these types of birth injuries, families often struggle to access the resources required to care for their children.

While we cannot reverse the physical damage, we can help you recover the compensation you need to move forward.

Medical Negligence-Associated Birth Injuries

More common birth injuries of a typical vaginal birth include bruising and swelling in the head, bleeding underneath the cranial bones, small blood vessel breakage around the baby's eyes, and injury to the newborn's facial nerve due to birth canal pressure.

Severe birth injury during the birth process involving difficult labor or delivery might include:

  • Nerve injuries, including spinal nerve damage
  • Acquired brain injury
  • Head injury
  • Skull fracture
  • Intracranial hemorrhage
  • Damaged small blood vessels
  • Brachial plexus injury
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Developmental disabilities due to oxygen deprivation
  • Developmental delay
  • Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH)
  • Nuchal Cord Birth Injuries
  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Abnormal development of the fetus due to a genetic abnormality
  • Cerebral dysgenesis
  • Cerebral Palsy jaundice
  • Erb's palsy
  • Perinatal stroke
  • Post-Impairment Syndrome
  • Placental problems
  • Epidural hematoma
  • Cerebral palsy-associated disorders
  • Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL)
  • Epilepsy and seizures
  • High blood pressure associated with sleep apnea
  • Neurological issues involving challenges with learning, speaking, and moving

The improper use of delivery instruments, like a vacuum extractor or the use of forceps, during a difficult delivery is the most common cause of birth injuries. Using too much force when birthing a baby in an abnormal position could create lifelong disabilities or permanent injury, especially if the baby is born prematurely.

The physician must act quickly to avoid birth trauma or lifelong disability when the baby is in distress to ensure they receive enough oxygen during the vaginal delivery. Depriving fully developed and premature infants of oxygen-rich blood could cause permanent damage to the child's brain cells.

Common Causes of Injuries During the Birthing Process

Our birth injury lawyers handle cases on behalf of those whose children have suffered numerous different forms of birth injuries during pregnancy and delivery. Unfortunately, there are a surprising number of ways that a child can suffer severe and minor injuries through medical malpractice during development and labor.

In some cases, during the birthing process, the newborn could suffer physical injury or birth trauma. These injuries are often the result of a difficult birth due to the baby's position or size during labor and delivery.

The most common birth injuries associated with a difficult birth include:

  • Large newborns– Any newborn with a birth weight greater than 8 lbs. 13 oz., or 4000 grams, could put the child at high risk of birth injuries due to the size of the baby's head and shoulders, leading to brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation,
  • Premature babies– Any newborn babies delivered before 37 weeks could be at higher risk of birth injury and severe complications due to their fragile bodies that might be easily injured,
  • Cephalopelvic disproportion– The shape and size of the mother's pelvis might not be sufficient to ensure normal vaginal labor and delivery. A large baby delivered through a small birth canal makes it challenging to have a normal vaginal birth because the labor is often very long with difficulties,
  • Prolonged labor– The longer it takes to birth the child when the contractions begin, the higher the risk of birth trauma,
  • Abnormal birthing presentation– A breech position delivery (buttocks first) creates many problems, including an increased risk of birth injuries,
  • Maternal obesity– Some studies have shown that 30% of overweight mothers, and 39% of severely overweight mothers, had a higher rate of failed "trials of labor after C-section" (TOLAC) and a heightened risk of uterine rupture.

Medical Negligence-Associated Causes of Birth Injuries

Following is a comprehensive list of common causes of severe birth injuries, but it does not cover all possible severe complications due to medical negligence. If your child suffered a birth injury, we could help you find the answers you are searching for and the justice you deserve.

  • Errors in High-Risk Birth Management— Medical professionals must recognize factors that can place a mother and her child at risk during pregnancy and birth and take appropriate measuresto mitigate the risk and respond in the event of fetal distress.

These risk factors can include multiple children, such as twins or triplets, children born prematurely, a mother who is advanced in age, a large fetus, and vaginal birth after a cesarean section is ordered by medical personnel.

  • Poor blood pressure managementpreeclampsia and eclampsia are conditions that occur when a pregnant woman's blood pressure changes rapidly. Blood flow restrictions could threaten both the mother and child. Mothers who suffer from hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and kidney disease are at a greater risk of developing these conditions. If a woman is at risk, her physicians should keep a close watch over her vitals to ensure that she and the baby are not in danger and that the condition can be treated quickly if detected.
  • Failure to detect or diagnose conditions that place the child at risk— conditions such as a prolapsed umbilical cord, uterine rupture, and fetal distress may place the child's life at risk or result in severe birth injuries such as brain damage due to depleted oxygen or bleeding.
  • Fetal infections— (sepsis), fetal infection can cause significant damage to an unborn child's developing organs. The child's immune system cannot respond to the introduction of bacteria, so the infection will spread unabated through the child's bloodstream and reach their kidneys, lungs, or brain. Some children suffering from fetal sepsis may develop birth injuries, including cerebral palsy or other developmental delays. Therefore, it is crucial to detect infections and treat them quickly with antibiotics to prevent congenital disabilities and permanent brain damage.
  • Shoulder dystocia— During birth, the child's shoulder may become caught behind the mother's pubic bone, preventing the fetus from passing through the birth canal. How obstetricians respond to this problem can determine whether the child suffers severe birth injuries, as the condition often cuts off the flow of oxygen to the child's brain. While physicians can do little to prevent this condition, they are trained to identify and react to it, meaning their failure to treat it properly may qualify as negligence.
  • Placental abruption— the placenta attaches the umbilical cord to the umbilical cord and is the lifeline to the child that delivers everything that the child needs to survive. The premature separation of the placenta from the uterus places the fetus into distress, and the failure to diagnose or take appropriate measures to save the child can result in many common birth injuries.
  • Vacuum extraction techniques— when a mother has endured prolonged labor, the delivering obstetrician may choose to use vacuum extractors to assist in the delivery. This device works by placing suction on the child's head and pulling it from the birth canal. If performed improperly, this procedure can cause a child's birth injury, but even when the newborn is delivered safely, the procedure may result in the swelling of the child's scalp where the device was used. In addition, if the child develops jaundice due to the buildup of bilirubin in response to the inflammation, they may experience brain damage or developmental disorders such as cerebral palsy. These conditions are preventable, as early detection and treatment are often enough to prevent common birth injuries.
  • Forceps delivery techniques— if the child is already in distress and needs to be birthed quickly, the obstetrician may use forceps to move the delivery along. The forceps can also assist if the child is breech (feet first) or the mother has endured a long period of labor. However, if misused, the forceps could cause the baby's face injury. The mother can also suffer common birth injuries due to negligent forceps use like baby facial nerve injury that damages a group of nerves, head trauma, and spinal cord injuries.
  • Failure to order an emergency cesarean section— if the child is in considerable distress, the obstetrician must decide whether to order a C-section or proceed with natural birth. The natural birth should only proceed if the child can be delivered quickly so that medical staff can tend to their immediate needs. If this is not possible, the child should be removed via cesarean section. If the failure to order the procedure results in the child's birth injuries, the doctor and hospital may be held liable.
  • Medications— Obstetricians need to consider which drugs to prescribe to pregnant mothers carefully, as some medications may affect the development or cause harm to the child. Drug manufacturers may also be liable for pushing drugs to pregnant women that have been known to cause congenital birth defects or developmental delay.
  • Epidural errorsUsing anesthesiology to aid in birth can also impact the mother and child's health. The amount of medication administered must be measured carefully and given appropriately, or the mother and child could both suffer complications due to overdose.
  • Failure of family doctors to refer mothers to specialists— While family doctors can assist many mothers throughout their pregnancies, they should refer mothers at greater risk to qualified obstetricians explicitly trained to handle high-risk pregnancies. A baby can suffer complications when the doctor is not equipped to provide treatment. The failure to refer the victim's parents to a specialist can make that doctor liable due to medical malpractice.

Physicians who deliver the baby have a responsibility to manage birthing difficulties effectively to ensure that the child is not deprived of oxygen that could lead to asphyxia. Any obstruction of the umbilical cord blood flow could deprive the fetus of oxygen, leading to brain injuries.

Hiring a Birth Injury Attorney to Handle Your Medical Malpractice Case

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC provides award-winning legal services to thousands of mothers whose children have been injured during pregnancy or birth. We understand your need to find answers, justice, and closure when a birth injury has permanently impacted your household's way of living. In addition to needing to recover the compensation for treating your child, we know that you must also have access to the resources needed to address your emotional distress.

Our team has access to a network of medical professionals and social workers who can help parents cope with their child's birth injuries and an award-winning team of birth injury attorneys with a proven track record of success.

Call our law office today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) to schedule a free initial consultation. If for any reason, we are unable to recover compensation on your behalf, you are assured that our services will come at no cost to you.

All confidential or sensitive information you share remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

Many medical malpractice cases have already been resolved through million-dollar settlements to ensure families have sufficient financial compensation for providing all the treatment and care their child requires.

Common Birth Injuries Resources:

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