A birth injury is a trauma that can be experienced by an infant before, during, or shortly after it has been born. This condition is prevalent in the American society.
According to Birth Injury Statistics, 6 to 8 out of 1,000 children are born with moderate to severe birth injuries. Twenty percent of fatalities in infants are the result of an injury that has been sustained at birth.
Although medical staff has the knowledge needed to avoid this from happening, there are certain occasions when negligence and medical malpractice happens. An example of which is when there is a wrongful death of the child or the mother during labor and delivery.
To learn more about it, take a look at the most common birth injuries that are listed below:
A medical term which refers to the swelling or edema of an infant’s scalp that occurs shortly after delivery. The pressure exerted on the head of the child as it travels through the birth canal of the mother causes this condition.
As a result, a swelling of the soft tissues of the baby’s scalp develops, and in some instances, a bruising of the area can be seen. This condition by itself is not life-threatening and usually disappears after two weeks to three months. Although there are instances when it may lead to other health concerns such as jaundice.
Bruising or forceps marks
Forceps that was used during childbirth can sometimes cause marks or bruises on the infant’s head, and face. There are some infants, however, who show signs of bruising on the head or face simply by reason of the trauma as it passes through the birth canal and came in contact with the mother’s pelvic bones and tissues.
Infants that have been delivered through vacuum extraction may also show some scalp bruising or scalp lacerations. These bruises and marks eventually heal without the need for further medical treatment.
Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)
This birth injury arises when the pulmonary article that delivers oxygen to the newborn shuts down. As a result, the infant may experience difficulty in breathing that can then lead to accelerated heartbeats, heart murmurs, cyanosis, and more. PPHN is often the consequence of a complicated childbirth.
However, there are instances when it arises by reason of medical negligence. For instance, prescription-based medications like Celexa, Zoloft, and Plaxil have been associated with the increase in blood pressure of the mother during pregnancy that puts stress on the baby. Other causes are the failure to detect and prevent infant asphyxia, failure to treat maternal infections, and conducting unnecessary C-Section.
This is a medical condition when a small blood vessel located beneath the eyes of a baby rupture. It usually occurs when a newborn experiences trauma during a stressful delivery. A bright red band in the white area of one or both of the eyes may be seen but his redness usually disappears after a few days.
A pressure on the face of a baby during labor or delivery may cause facial paralysis as the facial nerves are injured. This also happens through the pressure exerted on the forceps that has been used. The injury is often evident when the baby cries as there is no movement that can be seen on the side of the injured face.
There is also an instance when the eye of the child cannot be closed due to such injury. This injury is in most case only temporary and dissolves after a few months. However, in other cases when the nerve was torn or when the paralysis persists, surgery may be needed.
Brachial palsy or also known as Erb’s palsy occurs when the upper nerves that are responsible for the arms and hand movement are injured. This condition occurs when a difficulty in delivering the baby’s shoulder happen. As a result, the baby may lose the ability to move the shoulder and flex the arms.
The normal movement of the baby should return after a few months although there are cases when permanent nerve damage arises. While the baby is healing there are special exercises that are recommended to help in the baby’s recovery.
The most common fracture that an infant may experience is a fracture that affects the clavicle or the collarbone. This usually happens during labor and childbirth when a difficulty in delivering the baby’s shoulder has been experienced. This type of injury limits a baby’s arm movement.
The injury does not last and heals quickly. A new bone will form and a firm lump on the clavicle will often develop within the first 10 days of the baby’s life. A soft bandage or splint that will limit the movement of the arms and shoulders of the baby may be helpful.
The extent of birth injury may range from mild to severe. Some can be temporary and heal through time while others can cause a lifelong complication that will need consistent medical treatment. Whatever stage it may be, it will always carry emotional distress and high financial costs for parents.
Protect your rights and position
Though a terrible tragedy, you can still attain some measure of justice. If you are one of the victims of birth injuries due to the negligence of your doctor and other hospital staffs, you still have a way to compensate your loss. Seek the help of an experienced birth injury lawyer who will protect your rights and position. Although a lawsuit will not reverse the damage that you and your baby have experienced, any measure of justice can go along way in helping you and your family recover.