Medical Malpractice Can Result In Certain Birth Injuries

Steven Schwartzapfel Aug 14, 2015
Birth Injuries

While some birth injuries are known to heal fully and quickly, other injuries can cause long-term medical conditions that can be financially and emotionally overwhelming for new parents. For example, an obstetrician’s misuse of forceps or vacuums may cause nerve damage, and difficult, prolonged labor may result in oxygen deprivation that can affect a child’s development. An obstetrician’s poor planning may also be cause for medical malpractice, as many birth injuries are preventable. It is important for both expectant parents and parents who have suffered a birth injury to be aware of potential problems.

Brachial Plexus Injury

The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that innervate the shoulders, neck, arms, and hands. It is responsible for movement and sensation. During childbirth, the brachial plexus may be torn, over-stretched, or ruptured by the doctor’s forceful misuse of forceps. This can result in a range of symptoms, from mild pain or numbness to full paralysis of the innervated area. The extended stretching of the nerves, called neuropraxia, is the least severe kind of brachial plexus injury. When the root of the brachial plexus is fully ripped from the spinal cord, paralysis occurs. Risk for all types of brachial plexus injuries increase with breech deliveries and deliveries of exceptionally large infants. Two well-known types include:

  • Erb’s Palsy, which affects the upper and lower arm.
  • Klumpke’s Palsy, which affects the hands and sometimes causes eyelid droop on the other side of the body.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a condition affecting one’s ability to move parts of their body and control posture. Common symptoms include uncontrollable reflexive movements and muscle tightness. Difficulty controlling the mouth and tongue may cause trouble speaking. Seizures and intellectual disabilities may also occur. Potential causes of cerebral palsy include the following:

  • Lack of oxygen due to doctor’s failure to perform a timely C-section
  • Brain injury due to use of forceps or vacuum during difficult delivery

Signs of cerebral palsy in infants are evident in either abnormally stiff or abnormally floppy posture. Some babies have smaller jawbones or heads than average. Their spines may appear misaligned or misshapen. Symptoms of cerebral palsy may not become evident until appropriate developmental milestones are missed.

Additional Birth Injuries

Other injuries that may be a result of a physician’s negligence include:

  • Bone fractures – Often broken during traumatic deliveries, the collar bone is extremely susceptible.
  • Spinal cord injuries – These can occur as a medical professional uses forceful rotation and traction during a difficult delivery.
  • Facial nerve palsy – Paralysis of an infant’s facial muscles occurs if the cranial nerve is damaged during childbirth. Epidural anesthesia or other medications may cause this as well.
  • Intracranial hemorrhages – Vacuum extractors and forceps, vitamin deficiencies, or blood disorders may cause this bleeding in the brain.

Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. – New York’s Birth Injury Lawyer

Birth injuries can be devastating for new parents. A time of expectation and hope can become a life-altering and overwhelming situation. If your child has suffered an injury due to a medical professional’s misjudgement or negligence, it is in your best interest to contact a seasoned birth injury attorney to review your case. At Schwartzapfel Lawyers, we will investigate every aspect of your case to present a detailed account of your unique situation. Our team will walk you through the legal process and discuss any concerns you may have along the way. Contact us at 1-877-737-4806 Schwartzapfel Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your situation.

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