Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers understands that nothing seems nearly as devastating as watching a child suffer throughout his or her lifetime. Because many birth injuries impact children’s development and cognitive abilities, they can impact their quality of living through childhood and into adulthood. Whether your child’s injury occurred during pregnancy or while in labor, it is important to determine what role your doctor and attending staff may have played in causing or failing to treat the injury in a timely manner. If your doctor is liable for your child’s injuries, our Chicago birth injury attorneys may be able to help you recover the compensation needed to care for his or her conditions.
The Most Common Types of Birth Injuries
It is impossible for our Chicago birth injury lawyers to provide a list of every single form of birth injury, but you will find the most common injuries below. The majority of these injuries are preventable or easily treated if detected in a timely manner. It is when doctors and attending staff fail to remain attentive that many children’s injuries result in permanent impairment or complications. Birth injuries can include the following.
- Cephalohematoma— this injury occurs when blood collects beneath part of the skull and is common following vacuum or forceps-assisted deliveries. The injury itself is not life threatening and will easily heal in time. The inflammation it causes may result in jaundice, however, and this can lead to more serious complications.
- Caput Succedaneum— very similar to a cephalohematoma, a caput succedaneum occurs when a newborn’s scalp swells following birth. It may be the result of a forceful delivery or vacuum or forceps assisted delivery and presents the same potential problems as a cephalohematoma. Early detection of jaundice or other complications is critical to ensuring that this minor injury does not result in serious complications.
- Perinatal Asphyxia— this condition occurs when the child does not receive enough oxygen and goes into distress. There are numerous causes for this condition, but it can be detected and diagnosed through the monitoring of fetal vital signs. If the unborn child suffers from a diminished oxygen supply, his or her brain may be damaged if oxygen flow is not restored quickly. Doctors may order an emergency cesarean section to rescue the child.
- Brachial Plexus Injuries— the brachial plexus is an important grouping of nerves that run from the neck and upper spine through the shoulder, arms and upper extremities. Injuries to these nerves may cause minor discomfort and pain in the best case scenario while the worst case is the permanent inability to feel or move the affected limbs. About one out of every child that suffers this form of injury suffers permanent impairment.
- Broken bones during delivery— there are numerous ways that a child can suffer a fracture during birth, including a prolonged delivery, the use of forceps to extract the child or shoulder dystocia. A fracture can cause the child a great amount of suffering and may require immobilization depending on the severity of the break.
- Subconjunctival Hemorrhage— this minor injury is the result of broken blood vessels in the eye. Since it can result in inflammation, the child may be at an elevated risk of developing jaundice.
- Intracranial Hemorrhage— if the child has suffered a significant injury during birth, there may be bleeding in the brain, which is a serious condition that could cause permanent brain damage. This can be the result of any number of injuries, but is possible due to a forceps or vacuum assisted delivery that is not performed properly.
- Facial Paralysis— during a difficult delivery or device assisted birth, the child may suffer an injury to the face that damages the facial nerve. This may result in the temporary or permanent inability to control his or her facial muscles and can be detected when the child cries. If the injury is permanent, it can have a drastic impact on the child’s emotional and social health throughout his or her lifetime.
- Spinal Injuries— injuries to a newborn child’s spine can be devastating, as his or her parents may never have the pleasure of watching their child take his or her first steps. The cost of caring for a paralyzed family member is also very high and children paralyzed at birth have extremely low life expectancies.
- Congenital Birth Defects— children who suffer from congenital birth defects may be born with a hole in a vital organ such as the lungs or heart, be missing a kidney or suffer from an underdeveloped brain. Medications and other factors can increase the risk of a child developing a birth defect and children may be forced to undergo multiple surgeries and take medication for their entire lives in order to treat the defect.
- Miscarriage or Stillbirth— the loss of a child at birth is emotionally devastating to the entire family and parents have the right to question why their child died prematurely. If the miscarriage could have been prevented, the parents may be able to file a lawsuit for medical negligence and the wrongful death of their child.
Preventable Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy (CP) is often the result of an underdeveloped brain prior to birth, but other injuries sustained at birth can cause the condition following birth. Children suffering from cerebral palsy experience involuntary muscle contractions and have difficulty performing motor functions due to rigid and elastic muscles. Their motor impairment may be accompanied by slow development, learning disability and speech disorders.
Untreated jaundice is one of the most easily prevented causes of cerebral palsy and occurs in newborns who have endured some other injury that results in inflammation or swelling, such as a caput succedaneum. The inflammation causes the release of bilirubin into the system and the child’s liver is unable to filter bilirubin from the blood at such a young age. An excess of this substance can cause serious damage to the brain, resulting in cerebral palsy.
Doctors are required to meet a duty of care when treating mothers and their unborn children. If a child is injured during pregnancy or birth and it is determined that the doctor failed to act in a similar manner to the manner in which his or her peers would, the doctor can be held liable for the cost of treating or caring for any of the injuries and complications that result. In addition, the hospital and attending staff may also be held liable.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers offers award winning legal services to thousands of families whose children were injured during birth and we can help you determine how and why your child was injured and recover the compensation on your behalf that you will require to help your child live a dignified life well into adulthood. We understand the impact that these injuries have on the entire family and can help connect you with the resources you will need to cope with your child’s injury and move forward as a family.
Contact us today to arrange a free consultation with one of our qualified Chicago birth injury attorneys so that we can collect all of the information that we need to investigate the cause of your child’s injuries. We can then review your legal options with you and answer your questions about the process of litigation so that you can know exactly what to expect from your case. Should we fail to secure damages on your behalf, you are assured that our services will cost you nothing.