Birth is a complex process fraught with risk, and those medical malpractice risks multiply in the hands of a negligent or incompetent doctor.
Common Birth Injuries
An estimated one in every 9,712 people are born with a birth injury in the U.S. The most common injury at birth is a collarbone fracture, which usually heals when the baby is immobilized. Another common injury is damage to the brachial plexus, which affects the bundle of nerves that start at the upper spine and travel to the neck, shoulder, arm and hand.
Other common injuries at birth include bone fractures, caput succedaneum, intracranial hemorrhage, subconjunctival hemorrhage, cerebral palsy, brachial plexus palsy or Erb’s Palsy, cephalohematoma, perinatal asphyxia, spinal cord injuries and facial paralysis.
What Causes Birth Injuries?
The tools that doctors use and how they decide to use them can have a major impact on birth injuries. Facial paralysis, for instance, can be caused by pressure on the baby’s face, either during birth or through the use of forceps. The infant may require surgery to repair the nerve damage.
Mothers from the ages of 25-34 who give birth with the assistance of tools are at the highest risk for birth injuries, while mothers ages 40-54 run the lowest risk. Nearly 50% of all birth injuries can be prevented by assessing, identifying and planning for potential obstetrical risk factors. For example, one childbirth and medical malpractice study discovered that lack of oxygen was a factor in 59.8% of cases.
Dangers of Birth Injuries
Severe birth trauma accounts for about 2% of neonatal deaths in the U.S., and there are an estimated six to eight injuries for every 1,000 live births, the effects of which may last into adulthood.
If you believe you’ve been a victim of birth-related medical malpractice, contact a medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your options.