Personal Injury & Medical Malpractice Blog

Monday, September 11, 2017

What Are The Most Common Birth Injuries and Their Causes?

After nine months of pregnancy, every mother wants to give birth to a healthy baby. Sometimes, however, by the fault of the physician, care giver or drug manufacturer, babies suffer injuries at birth. Some of these birth injuries can have effects that last the lifetime of the child.

It is heartbreaking when an innocent new born is injured by a person who should have acted in accordance with appropriate standards of care. If your bundle of joy suffered a birth injury, the perpetrator should be liable. Talk to a New York personal injury attorney to assess your case.

Common Birth Injuries

Birth injuries are more common than many people realize. They can include things like:

  1. Brachial Palsy injuries
  2. These occur when the brachial plexus, the combination of nerves running from the upper spine to the hands, are injured. These nerves coordinate arm and hand movements. Injury happens when the baby’s upper chest is trapped between the mother’s pelvic bones during delivery and the physician pulls too hard or during the delivery of an improperly positioned baby. Mild damage can be treated but severe damage can cause infant paralysis.

  3. Facial paralysis
  4. Involves damage to facial nerves. The nerves are damaged when a physician improperly uses forceps or a vacuum during delivery. Symptoms include inability to control facial muscles such as when crying. The injury may be temporary or permanent

  5. Bone fractures
  6. The most common is the fracture of the collar bone which happens when the baby is pulled too hard or for a prolonged period while in breech position. The baby may not be able to move the hand where the fracture happened. The injury can heal by itself if not severe.

  7. Caput Succedaneum
  8. This injury is characterized by the intense swelling of the baby’s scalp. It usually occurs when a vacuum is used improperly during delivery. The swelling usually heals on its own.

  9. Cephalohematoma
  10. It is an injury characterized by a collection of blood in the cranium. The lump usually appears hours after birth on the baby’s head. The injury has been linked to improper use of delivery devices. If small the lump clears on its own but if large, the collection of blood can cause jaundice, hypotension or anemia.

  11. Brain injuries
  12. These occur when the baby stays too long in the birth canal, prolapsing the umbilical and depriving the baby of oxygen. A physician who fails to check the umbilical cord immediately after birth can further extend the period of oxygen deprivation. Oxygen deprivation causes brain injuries and even long term intellectual disability.

  13. Subconjunctival hemorrhage
  14. This happens when the small blood vessels in the eyes of the baby burst because of pressure in the birth canal during delivery. Fairly common, the injury is characterized by bright red bands in the white of the baby’s eyes. The injury usually heals on its own.

  15. Bruising
  16. It occurs because of trauma suffered when the baby is making its way down the birth canal. Bruising has also been linked to delivery devices. For example, forceps may leave marks on the head and face while a vacuum may leave bruises and cuts on the scalp. These injuries are temporary and heal on their own.

Other Causes of Birth Injuries

Birth injuries can also occur because of:

  • Premature births. Babies born before their 37th week are more fragile and easily hurt
  • The baby’s size. Large babies over eight pounds, 13 ounces are particularly at risk
  • The position of the baby relative to the birth canal. This occurs when the baby is not positioned head-first
  • The size and shape of the mother’s birth canal or pelvis
  • Prolonged labor
  • Improper use of devices such as forceps and vacuums during delivery
  • Defective prescription medication
  • Failure to monitor pregnant women throughout pregnancy when certain complications are detectable

Your baby deserves the best care and treatment. If your baby suffered a preventable birth injury because someone was negligent, please call New York personal injury lawyer Arthur O. Tisi today for a FREE consultation.


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